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Old 01-28-2017, 09:13 AM
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UMRS UMRS is offline
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Default Red Arrow gone?

Can anyone verify this? I know Dave has had issues but this would be terrible news if true.
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Old 01-28-2017, 11:44 AM
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I tried to pop into Red Arrow last fall. The store on Pipestone Road in Stevensville was closed and there was a note on the door giving the new location over in Three Oaks, MI. I drove over there and finally found it. There was a small sign indicating it was Red Arrow Hobbies and a note saying (something like) "Gone. Be back Later".

That was several months ago. And that's all I know. I don't know if Dave is still in the homebrew supplies business, model rocket business, or what.
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Old 01-28-2017, 01:27 PM
Rob Campbell Rob Campbell is offline
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I can't get the website to come up and their facebook page is full or irate complaints of orders not being filled.
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:30 AM
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luke strawwalker luke strawwalker is offline
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Location: Needville and Shiner, TX
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Red Arrow has had a VERY shady reputation for online sales for a LONG time now. Personally I wouldn't buy from him online because of his practices, which seem to be, that you order A, B, and C, but he only has C in stock. He won't ship ANYTHING until A and B arrive from the supplier. If B gets there in a week, he will sit on the order until A arrives, and if it doesn't show up for a month or two, so be it. If you call and get ahold of him and raise sand, he *might* send B and C out to you with a promise to send A later, which you might see in a few weeks or month's time. I know some folks do business that way; Spacecraft Films is another vendor that operates that way and it's maddening, and IMHO EXTREMELY POOR business practice. If you can't fulfill the order in a timely fashion, you should AT LEAST communicate with the buyer and give them the option for a refund, partial shipment, etc. Dave doesn't do that.

From the facebook link, apparently Dave has a lot of legal problems and problems in general. Thing is, folks spending money with him aren't buying into his problems-- they're buying PRODUCT. If he cannot or will not ship product, then how is RAH shutting down a BAD thing?? How many people have to get ripped off by someone before it's a bad thing?? I can sympathize with his problems, apparently he's in tons of legal problems over supposedly legal marijuana, and had his trailer stolen loaded with product, yet at the same time there were posts on the facebook page talking about the new store location and in the other posts about storage for excess inventory... So what gives??

Sounds to me like typical stoner behavior... got the inventory and put forth enough effort to keep the money rolling in (keeping the website and paypal going) and happy enough to take the money, but could give a rip less whether or not anybody ever receives anything, let alone when or if... It's sad, but it happens. Look at Sheri's Hot Rockets (which Dave spent a lot of money buying out her remaining stock and what remained of her "business" at the time, after Sheri stiffed a lot of people for a long time, taking orders she never fulfilled and never gave refunds for.... seems to be a pattern developing don't it??)

I posted a thread here one time about my last visit years ago to Red Arrow's store... I drove up into Michigan one day on a lark from my MIL's home in northern Indiana to see his store and get some black cherries... I finally found his store, and it looked like an old appliance store. When I went in the front door, which was propped open with a concrete block or chunk of concrete, the entryway to the store was filled with tons of boxes going out. In a tiny office at one end of the entryway opposite the door, was a small office bulging with paperwork at which a harried-looking woman was sitting at the desk working on paperwork, with kids running around. I turned right into the store's sales floor and found that despite it being a nearly 100 degree day, there was NO air conditioning in the building, and VERY few lights on-- just one over the center of each aisle and over his computer area at one end of the counter in the SW corner of the store about 20 feet from where I entered. Despite it being stiflingly hot in there, I looked around and actually bought a few kits, looked over the selection of parts and stuff and the aisle of homebrewing supplies for giggles, looked at the tools and supplies, and inspected the motor casings and loads in an old-timey glass top showcase across the south side of the showroom, taking in a bit of hot air wafting in from outside through an open door at the end of the glass case. I talked with Dave for a bit; he was very personable and actually showed me some of the Sheri's Hot Rockets stuff he bought-- at the time (this was at least 6-7 years ago) he was telling me how he was having to have the SHR tooling all reworked-- he showed me a master that he had a friend making to make molds to cast Gemini capsules for the Gemini Titan kit, the first of the SHR kits he planned to revive. He also told me why Sheri didn't fulfill the orders on the GT and finally all her other kits... the beautiful turned aluminum rocket nozzle motor retainers in the SHR kits were made "at cost" by a buddy of her former husband. They went through a messy divorce, and the buddy told her to pound sand, and quit making them for her. So, when she ran out, she quit delivering kits (but she didn't quit accepting money for them online and then stringing people along). Her suppliers dried up and her quality went to crap, as he showed me one of her molds she was STILL USING to make Gemini capsules-- it had all the detail COMPLETELY rubbed off on one side from extracting the nosecones from the mold! He told me he had to have them all completely reworked, as they weren't the proper scale anyway, and the new masters would have tons more detail in the proper scale than hers had anyway. He also told me he was searching high and low for someone to turn the aluminum nozzles for the kits, but everybody he talked to that had metal lathes and did turning, even as a hobby, simply wanted too much on per-piece basis to ever be able to afford them for the kit-- like $40-80 dollars for the aluminum nozzles alone in a Gemini-Titan kit. Until he could find someone to make them for like $20 a piece, he couldn't sell the kits and make any money off them... he'd be losing money at the higher price and didn't think raising the price of the kit to cover the difference would fly either. Anyway, after a nice chat, and me asking if he ever participated on the forums (to which he quickly said no he didn't) I paid for my purchases, looked around a bit more, and left.

Nice guy, very friendly, but that doesn't necessarily make one a good businessman. There were rows of boxes behind the counter open, being filled, with printouts taped to them showing what was already in the box checked off and what still needed to go in the box before it shipped. He was working on the computer with orders when I was there.

Anyway, it's been a number of years ago and there were plenty of complaints then. Sounds like things have ONLY GOTTEN WORSE in the intervening years, and from the sound of the thread on the other forum, it appears that little/nothing is being shipped, yet money is still in his possession for product not delivered... and it's not an isolated occurrence, either... sounds like virtually everybody is getting stiffed now, just like what happened with Sheri's Hot Rockets about the time she FINALLY folded up shop (and subsequently sold out to Dave at Red Arrow a few months later).

It's a shame, but honestly, when you don't take care of business, what do you expect to happen??

Later! OL J R : )
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:06 PM
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Gus Gus is offline
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Location: North of Detroit
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I've known Dave a long time. He is a very nice guy who always did his best but, unfortunately, that often wasn't good enough. He supported our local launches and his entire living was earned out of his store. He was REALLY not very tech savvy and transitioning from his store in the middle of nowhere which was basically just a repository for the stuff he took to launches to an online business was rough for him and his customers, to say the least.

There is no excuse for the bad customer service that escalated in the last year or two. I think Dave was just overwhelmed by his personal problems and disorganized approach to business. But I will really miss stopping off at Red Arrow any time I head to Chicago from Detroit. The place was a total dump, but it was FILLED to the brim with rockets, parts, and motors, and Dave was always really fun to chat rocketry with.

Again, I mean in no way to discount the bad experiences some of you had with Dave. But as one rocketeer to another, I simply hope things get better for him.

Commonwealth Displays is gone. Red Arrow is gone. Michigan is the worse for it.

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Old 01-31-2017, 12:40 PM
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ghrocketman ghrocketman is offline
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Location: Michigan
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I really miss Commonwealth.
They had great fast service and always had the motors in stock I wanted no matter what.
Fast, hassle-free service everytime.
NEVER "let me see your Lx Cert for that engine" BS either.

I never dealt with Red Arrow. I saw wayyyyyyy too much negative feedback describing bad customer service for YEARS.
Good riddance to another bad business, just like SHR.
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Old 01-31-2017, 06:03 PM
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DeanHFox DeanHFox is offline
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Default Visited both...

I used to live in northwest Ohio, and I remember clearly the first time I made the drive up to Southgate to visit Commonwealth Displays...I drove right past it! What a hole in the wall from the outside, but what a rocketeer's heaven once I got inside! I bought a ton of OOP kits there in the late 80's and early 90's, until they closed up shop (or I moved away from OH to WI, can't remember which event happened first). Didn't someone try a few years ago to resurrect Commonwealth?

So far as Red Arrow was concerned, my experience was much like O L JR's...stopped there on my way from Milwaukee to Muskegon for an NAR (just a slight detour off I-94). The place was pretty much a dump (but some of the best rocket places are, so what?), and Dave was very conversational. He showed me a cast of the SHR Gemini capsule that was sitting on a countertop (but I sadly don't remember if it was the "bad" one or the planned "recast").

I remember buying a kit or two and a couple motors --- always want to support any rocket vendor I can --- and left. Never had the chance to visit again, and now, never will.
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Old 01-31-2017, 06:31 PM
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luke strawwalker luke strawwalker is offline
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Location: Needville and Shiner, TX
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Yeah, it's a shame. I wouldn't buy from him online-- too many horror stories, but since I go to the inlaws in northern Indiana 4 times a year, I would have liked to slip off up there again maybe this spring or summer and get some stuff. He was great to deal with in person in a cash-n-carry arrangement, but sadly his internet sales, which of course would have been the lion's share of the business I imagine, left a LOT to be desired.

Oh well... it won't happen now. Sad...

Later! OL J R

PS. I visited Commonwealth Displays in Detroit about a couple years before they closed up shop or switched to fireworks only or whatever... I drove right past it too; first and only time I've ever been to Detroit (and probably the last time as I have ZERO desire to return) and I have to say that was about the strangest place I have ever been... the entire area looked like a shoddy shopping center row transplanted from our county seat here from about 1975-79... except more weathered with time and run down. Place was a TOTAL hole in the wall, but at least it was lit and air conditioned, and stuff packed in there so tight a fatboy like me had to go sideways down the aisles to look at stuff... it's a shame they're gone, as I wouldn't have minded visiting them again.
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Old 01-31-2017, 08:39 PM
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A Fish Named Wallyum A Fish Named Wallyum is offline
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I bought several kits and quite a few tube assortments from Red Arrow over the years. Always great service and never an issue with shipping. Sorry to see them go this way, but something about the Sheri's purchase gave me a bad feeling when it happened. Seemed like that toilet was going to stay clogged, not matter how much you plunged it.
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:03 AM
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luke strawwalker luke strawwalker is offline
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Originally Posted by A Fish Named Wallyum
I bought several kits and quite a few tube assortments from Red Arrow over the years. Always great service and never an issue with shipping. Sorry to see them go this way, but something about the Sheri's purchase gave me a bad feeling when it happened. Seemed like that toilet was going to stay clogged, not matter how much you plunged it.

That's been a LONG time ago... He was showing me the new molds when I was up at his store... and that must've been at least 6-7 years ago, because my MIL was still alive at the time and she's been gone now for five years. Maybe further back than that. I know it was maybe about a year after the Sheri-gate thing on the Terribly Run Forum... (which spilled over here and elsewhere).

Like I said, nice enough guy to deal with in person, but his chosen method of doing mail orders was IMHO a lousy way of doing business. I'm sure it made sense to him, and for a portion of the rocketry community for whom it wasn't a problem that were willing to deal with it to get cheaper prices, well, it wasn't a problem for them either. For folks ordering common stuff he had tons of in stock and never ended up on backorder, it wasn't a problem. For the other 90% of the rocketry community who ordered from him expecting everything to arrive in two weeks or so and if not, communication to be forthcoming or a refund issued, it was VERY MUCH OF A PROBLEM!

Anyway, I don't think the Sheri thing really had anything to do with it... that's been SO long ago that if it were, it should have caused a lot more problems a long time ago already, and his shipping issues CERTAINLY predate his buying of the Sheri's Hot Rockets lineup. I'm not into high power and I wouldn't order from him online (I'd rather just make the trip up to his store from northern Indiana when I was up there if there was something he had I wanted to buy) so I don't know if or to what extent he ever offered the SHR line of rocket kits again. He was just starting up with the GT when I was at his store, and he was quick to point out the flaws in Sheri's design (not to scale) and the substandard crap she was sending out in kits (cones pulled from worn-out molds and such) and his problems finding a source for the turned aluminum motor retainers-- a problem that basically sunk Sheri after her divorce and move to Hawaii...

Anyway, hope things work out better for him. Sorry for the folks who got stiffed in the process... both by Sheri and now by Dave...

Later! OL J R
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