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I too have left phone messages and email messages to my contact and the owner with no reply. Over the last year there were many changes made due to the building they were located in being sold. The new building owner wanted a large increase in sq. footage rental. LB moved the office operations across the street and the physical operations to a much smaller adjoining building. The business was split from the classic car/restoration interiors and the EZ-Boy, not original, more modern type interiors with the EZ-Boy segment moving to ME and the original replacement interiors staying in Amesbury. I looked up bankruptcy filings in MA and it shows that they filed for chapter 7 so it looks like it's true. Not sure if there's any other companies making GM restoration interiors out there but there is now an opportunity for immediate business one would think. 

 

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It’s the way of a lot of industries. I owned the 2nd largest circulation fulfillment service bureau in the Chicago metro area. We did the data management of the magazine databases for over 120 magazines and 4 million labels a month. With all the tech guys around you would think it would be easy to get programmers and tech guys/gals. No way. They didn’t want to be locked in to a special nitch industry. Plus the fact magazines were hiring tech people and tried to run things under windows or some other generic program. Out of those 120 magazines there are less than 20 still in business. Look at restoration houses they all have in-house upholstery departments and the internet takes another big part of the business off shore.  How many cars have cheap interiors because they are just daily drivers. I know I could not justify the $8000+ estimate to redo the interior of my 38 Studebaker as it is not a show car. It’s just a sign of the times that are always changing. 

Dave S 

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They could also be closing because of poor management. I know a mid size manufacturer up here where the younger took over the business and closed the doors after a few year. They held an auction before going into receivership. Spent the money on themselves leaving nothing for updating until it was too late. 

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Joe raises the main reason companies go out of business.  I worked in a GM dealership and believed that GM must know what they were doing look at the market share they HAD.   Parts department had 12 staff, 125,000 inventory that was turned over twice a year.  Average that out and gross was 20,333 per employee.  I was lent to the service manager to work, one summer, in his small  rural bearing supply company.  He had 3 staff, 50,000 stock that was turned over every month.  That averages out to 200,000 per staff member.  His sales were not the value of his stock every month, they were a complete renewal of the stock.  If it did not sell in 30 days and he could not return it he threw it out or gave it away as he said he needed the space for something that would sell.  His inventory was almost entirely different every season of the year.  When he retired the local Bank Manager bought the lucrative business and was bankrupt in two years.  It is all about managing overhead and having more income than outgo.

 

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I have read that many small Family businesses fail in the third generation. The first builds the business, the second see's how hard the first worked to build the business and works hard to keep it going. The third never having seen the work needed to make a business a success and usually having the golden spoon due to the parents not wanting their young to lack anything let it fail because they are unwilling to put in the work need to keep it going.

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8 hours ago, plymouthcranbrook said:

I have read that many small Family businesses fail in the third generation.

 

You may have heard the old proverb, “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” In Japan, the expression goes, “Rice paddies to rice paddies in three generations.” The Scottish say “The father buys, the son builds, the grandchild sells, and his son begs.” In China, “Wealth never survives three generations.”

 

https://familylinevideo.com/three-generations-family-legacy-videos/

 

My observation of the same phenomenon in the U.S.A is pretty close.   The second generation sees the original guy working his a** off and gets it to a certain extent.   But the grand kids almost never do and the whole thing goes down the drain.  Also,  the hand offs may not be ideal.  For example,  I have a wealthy friend who sent his kid off to work in the same industry but nothing to do with him.  Eventually the son will come back and run the family business,  but the training happened elsewhere.    If you appoint your kid VP right out of College,  chances of failure are pretty high.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, plymouthcranbrook said:

I have read that many small Family businesses fail in the third generation.

 

An interesting hypothesis;  but isn't Lebaron Bonney

a company that was SOLD to new owners, someone said?

If so, the family third-generational topic would not apply.

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

Correct.  I understand the company has actually changed owners a couple of times since i'ts founding.  I know more about LB history now than about the history of some of my relatives, but that won't get my order filled properly or get me my money back. 

The good news for early Ford folk is another vendor has quickly earned a reputation for quality and service.  He was well on his way before this.  My mistake was buying a name and not being open minded enough to listen to the collective experience of other A people.  Another lesson learned!!

 

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)

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In  2010 the  Hupp club  had  a  week  tour in  N.H.  We  went to  Le baron  Bonney  and  had  a  great  time  on  a plant  tour.  I  am amateur upholsterer doing my  own  cars and  some  close  friends I  was  really pleased to see  how  the  pro's  did it. We  had  about  20  Hupps in the  parking  lot  and  the  employee's and  customers enjoyed seeing so  many  Hupmobiles in one spot.  I  restored a 1929 Hupp model  A and  installed 1931 Hupp Model  S  window risers and  bought the  inside hardware at  Lebaron Bonney. Really going  to  miss them.

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I purchased the interior for my Buick Super convert from Autocrafters which I believe was taker over by LB.

They did a great job but are gone. I think age of a skilled work force is an issue.

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Posted (edited)

This was just posted on the VCCA Forums:

 

https://vccachat.org/ubbthreads.php/topics/422850/hampton-coach-lebaron-bonney-is-gone.html#Post422850

 

 
Hi Guys. I am David, who many of you have spoken to at LBB over the past several years. The rumor mill is true, they are done, Gone, kaput. First, I left the Company in September 2018, because they weren’t getting the work out. They also were not ordering what they needed to produce things. Long story short, Friday the 15th they closed for good. They owe a lot of people. I don’t know how many Chevy Guys they owe, but it’s a lot. I will tell all that I know, so if you contact me with a number, I’ll call you. It’s a sad, sad deal, because the people who made this stuff were Special.
For a company to buy them, at auction, means not much without the expertise to make all the patterns work.
I’m bummed for the Industry, and for all who are caught in the middle.
In my opinion, they were acting fraudulently for a long time. Taking deposits, in many cases 100%, and then not purchasing the Good to make. They were making purchase orders, so when I looked it appeared things were ordered. Then I found out that the PO’s were printed, but not Executed. No orders placed. Lying to both, Cam, and I everyday.
Customers would inquire, I would ask on their behalf and be told “ O about 3 weeks”, or something like that.
September 15, 2018 I demanded Scott Holbrook prove to me he ordered Leather for important orders. We argued, and he finally said “David, do you want to get paid? I said (not at the risk of the company being fraudulent!” That didn’t go over so well. He told me to go home and come back tomorrow. Well, this led to Scott Holbrook having to fire me, or show me the proof. I got fired.
As I said I would be happy to help anyone I can especially the Chevy guys, good luck to you all stuck in the middle!

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Thd atty representing LB is posted on Fordbarn today.  I am going to take a crack at putting in a claim but not expecting much.

 

Agree with all others who place no blame on original owners or craftspeople involved.  But I sure woulx like to see the fellow who took my order at Hershey again..

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As I remember things LeBaron Bonney started with Model A Fords, then expanded to Ford V8 upholstery and tops. At some time they bought out Hampton Coach a Chevrolet upholstery business. I'll never totally understand the expand or die business operation theory, but trying to be a one stop upholstery depot for all automobiles looks like it didn't work out. Sorry for all the craftspeople effected and customers left high and dry. Bob 

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4 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

An interesting hypothesis;  but isn't Lebaron Bonney

a company that was SOLD to new owners, someone said?

If so, the family third-generational topic would not apply.

 

I suppose i meant more of a generalization as opposed to being specific to this thread.. My fault  Sorry

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On 3/18/2019 at 5:00 PM, Steve Moskowitz said:

I do not like rumors but I had an email from a former employee of this company that they filed for bankruptcy on Friday.  He stated there would be an auction of their equipment and materials.  I do not know if this is completely true as there are several forms of bankruptcy. This could be a Chapter 11 reorganization BUT checking out their website is ominous as much of it is down.  If it is true, it is a sad day as they have been an important part of the hobby for a long, long time and many of you probably used them. I feel for the owners and staff and the hobby.

 

https://www.inforuptcy.com/filings/m...bonney-company

 

Originally Posted by Cool Hand Lurker View Post
Debtor
LeBaron Bonney Company
6 Chestnut Street
Amesbury, MA 01913
Tax ID / EIN: 23-2973513

represented by Joshua A. Burnett
Kitaeff & Associates, P.C.
65A Flagship Drive
North Andover, MA 01845
978-687-1818
Fax : 978-258-1967
Email: attorneykitaeff@aol.com


The Federal Court filing ID is 19-10586

...just off the phone with Kitaeff office and BR Chap 7 total liquidation was filed this morning.frown.giffrown.giffrown.gif.There is a creditor's list ...I expect that I will get my material, patterns and other things returned by the end of 2020...In the meantime we have lost a venerable institution...the knowledge is irreplaceable and many employees who over the years have become good and close friends...I understand they were caught flatfooted...
If you had things there...you will get a notice from the Federal BR Trustee who is Joe Butler another attorney in Amesbury...if you do not hear anything in by early next week...call the attorney's office above and ask Susan if you are on the list.

Through a round about way, I understand that the staff were packing things to return to the Owners when Scott Holbrook, the owner of LB came in and told them to stop and go home.
My suspicion is that the Holbrook's were in way over their means...
Perhaps someone will buy the business in tact?
The distribution of materials was one of their main business parts and I don't know who will pick that up.

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Glad what I did receive got out the door, it arrived Saturday and while not the full order I guess better than nothing.  Talk about skin of the teeth...

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I was one of their listed installers specializing in early chevy. I was just at the facility about a month ago picking up my 32’ Olds Convertible roof that I had paid for over a year ago. I kept getting told they were out of T39 material which is one of the most common roofing materials used for our cars. It’s a Haartz product which is just a town over so I called Haartz about getting some and was told no problem so I offered to purchase theT39 myself so they could finish my roof. They got it done without me having to do that but owed me two roof boots in the same material. I kept calling and sending emails and they arrived a few weeks ago. I knew something was wrong over a year ago and didn’t feel I was being told the truth. I even mentioned I had a customer needing a 29 coupe interior and Scott took me over to the material area and showed me bolts of the correct material saying no problem, they could get it quickly to me. The whole time he had to know he wasn’t planning on doing that and that bothers me to say the least. Not sure if the Ez-Boy division thatwas moved to Maine is still operating or not.

     The sale is of assets to pay off the creditors so if someone is to buy just the assets and not the business, they won’t assume the debt which would be the only way for someone to purchase it. Possibly another interior company will purchase them as there’s not many GM interior companies. They had plenty of business but either the debt was too high to overcome the income or the business was just not run correctly. People like Cam, Donna, and Angel were always great with me and tried their best to satisfy their customers. 

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Anyone care to venture some insights on them? How many employees, principles, ball park annual gross, etc etc........bob

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Bit of more info on the Buick section of the forum...............Bob

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On 3/19/2019 at 6:00 PM, Joe in Canada said:

They could also be closing because of poor management. I know a mid size manufacturer up here where the younger took over the business and closed the doors after a few year. They held an auction before going into receivership. Spent the money on themselves leaving nothing for updating until it was too late. 

I see this more often than not !

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On 3/19/2019 at 11:11 AM, Bhigdog said:

The supply of interesting cars will slowly shrink through attrition and there really are no replacements. It's hard to see a market for a collectable Prius or almost any of todays production cars.

 

I was 30 years old when I bought my '64 Riviera. It was 15 years old. The 10 years ahead seemed like a lot time before the car was classified "antique" and I would be 40. But that modern car did get old. And in some groups it replaced formerly desirable other Buicks.

I was on the phone with J C Taylor yesterday. They have been insuring my 1994 Chevy Impala SS since it was 19 years old. And I bought that when it was 15 years old, as well. When the new policy comes next month it will join the other antiques. Maybe Hershey HPOF this fall.

 

My appreciation for the 15 year old BMW I bought last year is on a par with the 15 year old Riviera I bought 41 yeas ago. I am treating it to collector ownership status even if I am the only collector. I have the connection cables, a dedicated laptop and two sets of interface software to communicate on the two buses and 140 microprocessors. I guess interest is in the eye of the beholder.

At 15 years old a $10,000 Duesenberg was about as technically challenging as a 15 year old $100,000 BMW today. A hammer mechanic ain't getting far with either one.

 

For me there will always be a well maintained 15 year old car that will catch my interest, one I can keep for one or more decades. I guess the only part of the hobby I will not be participating in is restoration. But that was too much work anyway.

 

Will I have an antique car in 2028? Maybe a couple. Unless they change the rules because cars aren't interesting any more. That will be true for some.

Bernie

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With the closure of Lebaron Bonney I noted several folks needing wire on for their restoration.  I too found myself with the same problem.  A young fellow in Wi. has bought the machine that makes the wire on with your fabric.  I just had 50 feet make for my Hupp Skylark....nice product...his name is Cory Cook 715 520-3776, made and sent in two days..his email CMC14900@gmail.com

 

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