View Full Version : Is Wisner out of business?

Caroline Matthews
21-Jul-2005, 23:11
It is apparently impossible to get Wisner on the phone and there is a strange announcement on his website:

Notice: No new orders will be accepted until Sept.1st, 05. This decision has resulted in some speculation about the company, so we have decided to explain here. We elected not to accept new orders starting in May pending the fulfillment of all old orders. This decision has resulted in some disappointed customers who did not mind the long waiting lists. Nevertheless, our decision is to clear the orders and start fresh.

This will not effect warranty support, and we will continue to supply basic accessories like lens boards, but no other orders will be accepted.

We have also decided to move the company to a new site across town. The new building will provide efficiency for a smaller scale operation based around custom orders and a simplified product line. In the mean time, we have moved to temporary space in Marion, so call before you ship any warranty repairs.

Workshops will continue and have been expanded

Finally, all posted prices on this website are subject to change without notice. Most of them will go up before we accept new orders. Please take that into account in your planning.

As a business professional, this sounds like a business in trouble. Perhaps he should have maintained his relationship with Fred Picker who obviously cashed out at the right time.

Will Strain
21-Jul-2005, 23:31
In trouble - maybe, maybe not. I'm hoping this is an actual attempt to retrench, get caught up, and refocus the biz.

I think he may have over stretched himself and over promised on his companies capabilities somewhat. Scaling back, taking fewer orders at higher prices and making a better product overall is a win win.


Picker had his own issues... not the least of which was his death in 2002.

Graeme Hird
22-Jul-2005, 00:13
" .... Picker had his own issues... not the least of which was his death in 2002."

If there was an issue which was greater, I'd hate to run into it myself! :)

David A. Goldfarb
22-Jul-2005, 06:31
Sounds like a good move to me. The reputation of the company has been damaged as the result of overextension and having too much of a backlog. Other LF manufacturers have put a stop on new orders for this reason, and have not had Wisner's problems as a result. It looks like he's making an effort to solve some longstanding issues.

He'd probably have fewer irritated customers, if he didn't ask for payment in full up front. There are musical instrument makers who have waiting lists of 5 to 20 years, but the best of them only ask for a small deposit to hold a place in line, and are usually happy to return the deposit at any time, even if the instrument is in production, because they sell every instrument they make.

Donald Brewster
22-Jul-2005, 07:40
Sounds like Ron's taking at least one page from the Phillips play book. I think a good move. Give the guy some room. He's making an effort here.

25-Jul-2005, 13:04
I think it WILL be a good move but Wisner also needs a competent business manager/CPA as a partner in order to be fiscally prudent in the future. He needs someone who will make him "see the realities of the day" with respects not only to scheduling but also to realistic expenditures. It's impossible to keep a client happy if you promise delivery on a product and it keeps getting delayed on and on and on. And, if he promises to refund monies... he has to follow through on that promise! No compromise!

Realistic production targets must be set with a minimum of defects. He'll also need to revisit his QC so that the product he ships will be 100% perfect (an admirable goal to reach for in ANY business venture!)

If he follows this advice... it'll free him up to do the things he does best (design and build cameras!)

I'd also concur strongly with David's comment regarding the "payment in full up front." Personally speaking... I'd NEVER do that anyway since it's too strongly one-sided and there's no guarantee that a company doesn't go bankrupt, for whatever reason, between the deposit and delivery time. If he set up a trust account (much like lawyers are required to do with retainers, etc)... that's a different story. Atleast, the money couldn't be used for anything else and is relatively "safe."

Lastly, in order for him to succeed going forward... he'll also need to "win" back some of his former clients. AND, not let down any new clients as he has in the past!

With the above said...he DOES produce beautiful cameras (when he's on-track) and I can only wish him the best of luck going forward!