June 02, 2020, 04:09:25 pm

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Messages - Mojo

1
Pretty amazing how this pandemic is killing our economy. I have my own thoughts on this virus but wont get into them here.
Instead I am more concerned about how this will impact our 3 companies as well as our employees.

We can Poo-Poo this virus till the cows come home but we only need to look at what is happening in our economy to know that if this virus spreads even a little more business owners could be in for some rough times. One only has to look to Europe ( namely Italy ) to see just how bad things could get for us. It doesn't matter if this is all hype brought on by the media or not. When they start closing the doors to events, schools, sports events, theaters, concert halls, shops, stores, restaurants and such and people avoid walking the streets like they are doing in Italy then you know things can get real bad for our economy. The trickle down effect can be a killer for many small businesses.

I have never been one to buy into hysteria and hype. But I am also not a fool. We have a lot of staff now and I am responsible to them and their families. I also have a huge responsibility to make sure our companies survive a big economic downturn. I held a staff meeting last week and talked with our employees. I told them we need to be prepared for a severe slow down in business and because of that I have instituted new policies which include no new expenditures. The only purchases I will approve are for essential items such as needed supplies. We are also going to reduce our product and parts inventories by not replacing sold items.

So why would I do this ? Because in a big downturn in our economy, cash is king. My biggest concern is paying our monthly bills but also ensuring we have payroll in the bank for several months. Our employees are highly trained and each one performs functions that are critical to our survival. I also have a boat load of money and time tied up in getting them trained to fulfill their duties. The last thing I want to do is lay them off and then 6 months from now start all over with new employees pouring hoardes of money and a years time in training.

My suggestion is to bank your money and let your cash reserves start building so you are in a position to keep going if the economy tanks from society being essentially shut down over this pandemic. While I may sound like I am crying wolf and over reacting, my personal feeling is we have only seen the start of how bad things will get.

I have seen all the comments about the ordinary flu and how it infects or kills more people but this virus is completely different. It is respiratory based and unlike the flu which requires IV fluids and an overnight stay for real sick patients, this virus requires patients being on ventilators and a few weeks stay in ICU. In other words our health system wont be able to keep up. The other problem we are facing is the craziness of society. The run on toilet paper and hand sanitizer is a perfect example. When fear and panic hit society they quit spending money on non-essentials and start hoarding cash. All of us here perform work that is non essential.

My advice, be prepared for even more craziness and hoard your cash. This entire fiasco is going to get much worse before it gets better and as business owners we need to be prepared to react to society and their purchase habits and ensure our businesses survive into the future. In situations like this, it really does not matter if we think this pandemic is a crock of shit. What matters is how we react to it and I have always been one to stay ahead of the curve and be proactive versus getting my ass kicked when panic sets in. Just something to think of.

Off my soap box,

Mojo
2
General Discussion / Re: Business is picking up.
March 15, 2020, 10:39:33 am
Business has been nuts for January and February for both companies. Our overall revenue is up 45 % for those 2 months. We have had several days where we shattered single day sales records by huge margins. We have been back logged since Jan 1 and our staff a few times had to work 6 days a week to get us caught up. On top of that I have been slammed with a crazy event schedule. I did 5 in just 7 weeks time. I hit the road, do a show, back home for a week, reload products and hit the road again.

Then Covid 19 hit, the stock market tanked and things slowed on the awning side. Our RV service company has gone nuts and we ended up having to add another technician. We are booked out till June on service work. Scheduling has gotten dicey as we have coaches coming in and out constantly. Making things worse is we have gotten some real big and complicated jobs in which tends to throw a wrench into our schedule.

Overall I am happy. We plowed all the extra cash into retiring debt from the purchase of our new facility and we are going into this pandemic and slow down with a decent cash position. I do look for things to get ugly in another 30 - 60 days. I just loaded our show trailer, had our bus all set and was pulling out today for Tucson to do a big RV event. They just cancelled and it looks like all our other events this spring and summer may also get cancelled. I don't mind as the cost to do one show out of State is very expensive. We may not being doing shows but neither are our competitors.

We brought on an executive director last year and he has done an amazing job cultivating and expanding our dealer network with the awning company. Just as things starting slowing on direct orders our dealer orders picked up. Strange.

All 3 companies are in the black and I am just getting ready to start a 4th company. For the time being we are in good shape but I am watching this pandemic real close as well as the stock market. 90 % of our client base have 401K's and when the market tanks they tighten their belts.  That is the headache for us business owners......... Riding the rollercoaster. Feast or famine.

Mojo
3
The Business Of Upholstery / Big Changes for 2020
December 26, 2019, 12:28:36 pm
It has been a while since I have given an update on all of our companies. Now would be appropriate as 2020 is ushering in some big changes
for me as well as the companies.

To bring you all up to date we formed another company - Throgmartin Holdings, last summer. This company was formed to own the new building, own all of our various trademarks and intellectual property and will be used for future real estate deals and developments. Stone Vos is still going strong and we formed a division under that to handle sales and installation on our residential and commercial awning systems. Talin Manufacturing just had a banner year with sales up 150 %. We formed 2 divisions under Talin Manufacturing - 1.) Parts sales 2.) RV service.

We have added more staff and now have an executive director who helps my wife oversee all companies. We also have a shop manager for Stone Vos and a service manager as well. I have got the Talin operations manager trained and up to speed and just promoted her to Director. She will be in charge of manufacturing, the parts division and the service division. In other words she will be the big boss and take my place.

But the big change is I have announced my retirement effective Jan 1. I will spend 1 hour a day at the office but will no longer have any hand in the day to day operations. I will continue to do shows and events, handle marketing and PR but will spend my days looking for new adventures outside the RV industry, mainly commercial and business development. We have assembled an awesome team of managers and employees which is making this all possible. I will always be around to consult to them or if problems arise but I am handing the companies operations off to them to run and grow.

I plan on getting back to my hobbies - woodworking and horses. A few of you know I am also a junkie pilot. I have several exotic aircraft I want to fly in 2020 so will spend a little more time in the cockpit. I have simulator time set for the 737-800 and the Airbus 320 and flight time scheduled for the T-6 Texan and Curtiss P-40 warhawk fighter. So there you have it. Come January 1 this old fart is packing up and heading in a new direction.
It is time as I am I am burnt out, need to slow down, stop and smell the roses and pursue some hobbies while I still can.

Press Release: https://rv-pro.com/news/throgmartin-holdings-president-retire-jan-1?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20191223%20RVP%20ENEWS%20(1)&utm_content=&spMailingID=22624233&spUserID=NjE3MjYxMTUxOTYzS0&spJobID=1641601232&spReportId=MTY0MTYwMTIzMgS2

Here's hoping all of you have an awesome 2020.

Mojo
4
General Discussion / Re: Merry Christmas
December 26, 2019, 11:55:26 am
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I have been sick in bed for two weeks with bronchitis. I lovingly gave the bug to the wife so she has been in bed sick.
She felt well enough to cook Christmas dinner but then we were both too sick afterwards to sit and eat so we both went back to bed.
This bug that is going around is horrible. Hopefully we will be back to normal in another week.

God Bless you all and I am hoping everyone has an amazing 2020.

Mojo
5
We bought a sofa 22 years ago that cost $ 2,500 back then. It was done in heavy leather and the frame was solid hardwood.
That sofa is still in excellent shape. It pays to buy quality furniture.

Mojo
6
We use 90 lbs for everything except our rivet gun. We bump up to 110 #'s on that. When you are using 304 stainless rivets you need more pressure. The staple guns like 90 lbs.

Mojo
7
General Discussion / Re: What Ya Been Up To
December 05, 2019, 09:44:06 pm
It has been a busy year. This last month has been horrific busy with our RV parts and service company and our awning company.
Just picked up another commercial awning job at Orlando International Airport. Trying to finish up 2020 marketing programs, rally schedule and a host of other things.

I am getting too old for all this happy horsecrap.

Mojo
8
Check all the linkage from the pedal up to the motor. I always adjust the pedal with the motor arm in the full stop position.
Also make sure the actuating rod coming off the pedal is straight and vertical and not at an angle.
If you are still having problems give Bobby a call.

I have 4 servo motors on 4 separate machines and all 4 seem to have to have the speed dials adjusted at different positions.
None of them operate in an identical fashion.

Mojo
9
General Discussion / Re: French Seams
October 25, 2019, 01:06:48 am
I did several large motorcycle seats using french seams. When you start doing curved contours using french seams it helps to take a valium
to keep from throwing the work through a window. I would also make sure no priests or nun's are in your shop. The language can get pretty colorful. I did one seat and by the time I was done I invented over a dozen brand new curse words.

Mojo
10
General Discussion / Re: French Seams
October 24, 2019, 02:10:52 pm
Yup. Mucho dollars for a good setup. About $ 5,000. We are going to do an analysis on this including costs as well as the strength.
We just went to a 10 year warranty on our vinyl and we would end up bankrupt if the strength of those seams are not as good as
a stitched seam.

We have 2 fabric/textile consultants we work with who have been inside shops and plants all over the world. They have seen it all and know what works and what doesn't. We will call them in and go over the welded seam venture before we go any further. It has to be a sure thing otherwise I wont roll the dice and risk our company. My biggest concern is wind and rain loads. RV awning applications are completely different then standard commercial and residential awning installations simply because the RV awnings are all mechanized and go down the road at 65 mph.

Mojo

11
General Discussion / Re: French Seams
October 23, 2019, 12:50:07 pm
Gene:

I am not sure about using basting tape in other applications. I never used it before when doing other work but when I started doing awnings I started using it. I should clarify that we only use the tape on center seams. We do not use the tape on outside edge seams.

In regards to seams we use a fell seam on center seams for most awnings that require 2 panels. On some assemblies we use a simple overlap seam that is double stitched simply because the assemblies themselves wont tolerate a fell seam because of internal clearances inside the assembly. The assemblies seem to get less tolerant every year in regards to fabric replacements. The casement assemblies for example require a near perfect square in order for the lead rail to close tight. In other words the depth of the fabric has to be near perfect otherwise one end of the assembly will remain slightly ajar when the assembly is retracted. Not a good thing when that assembly is subject to 65 mph winds going down the road.

Depending on the assembly type we use either a perpendicular overlap seam or a parallel fell seam. 

Mojo

12
General Discussion / Re: French Seams
October 22, 2019, 02:11:59 pm
We use it on all awnings to seal the stitch holes. It also is quicker then pins and needles or staples when sewing a 20 ft long piece of canvas.

We go through a boat load of basting tape.

Mojo
13
General Discussion / Re: French Seams
October 20, 2019, 02:16:38 pm
Paul:

I used to sew french seams on certain jobs ( motorcycle seats, marine seats, etc. ). The procedure I used for french seam is the same as this video. The only difference is that I did not use tape but instead cut strips of the same fabric I was using for the cover material and then used that as my backing tape. Using the backing tape method provides much more strength to the seam itself. Here is the method I used:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFSn-EIgQoc

I have seen some get a french seam confused with a fell seam. This seam is sewing two ends together, opening it up and laying it flat and then sewing a top stitch on one side. We use this seam everyday in making awnings. We also call it a locked seam. This seam provides 90 % of the strength of the fabric itself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jbtZgwAQpo

The problem with seams is the terminology and subsequent confusion. One of the biggest headaches I had when I first started in this trade was learning the terminology. I still get a curve ball thrown at me on this forum by someone using a term to describe something I have never heard of before. :)

Mojo


14
Just curious. For you furniture guys..... Have any of you ever been possessed after working on an antique piece of furniture ?
If so let me know. I can contact my local priest to see if he can do an exorcism of you. :)

There are some weird people out there with some very strange beliefs so this guy is not alone. I have heard of homes that had horrific murders committed inside that resulted in the home being torn down because no one would buy it due to the publicity of the murder.

I have also heard of chairs/sofas that had to be taken to a landfill because someone died on it from natural causes but was not found for a day or two. I have a buddy who thought he really scored big when he bought a pristine IROC Z 28 dirt cheap. The inside smelled horrible but he never gave it a thought when he bought it. Turns out after talking with a relative a guy committed suicide in it ( Carbon Monoxide ) and wasn't found for several days ( in the summer ). My buddy completely gutted the interior and took it down to the metal. He used every cleaning solution he could think of and was never able to get all of the smell out. It still had a slight odor to it.

In my early years of adulthood I served my apprenticeship as a Mortician. My former father in law owned a funeral home and I later worked part time for him for 14 years. I embalmed close to 350 bodies during that time and several of those were people who were not found for several days. The smell is horrific. A few we had to take outside and into the garage to embalm to keep the smell out of the chapels.

Anyone ever run across a piece of furniture that someone may have died on ?

Mojo
15
The Lone Ranger and Tonto went camping in the desert. After they got their tent all set up, both men fell sound asleep.

Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says, 'Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see?

'The Lone Ranger replies, 'I see millions of stars.'

What that tell you?' asked Tonto.

The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute then says, 'Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter Past three in the morning. Theologically, the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What's it tell you, Tonto?'

"You dumber than buffalo shit. It means someone stole the tent."