Herman School of Business
SAVING JUST ONE COMPANY
30 years ago a man and woman started a simple business in California…they would repair and refurbish billiard tables. Who can’t remember playing pool for hours in the basement of a friend’s house? Who can’t remember Paul Newman in the movie HUSTLER…with Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats? And that Tom Cruise reprised a similar role with Paul Newman as his mentor in THE COLOR OF MONEY.
Shooting pool is as American as apple pie.
Those two people…eventually man and wife…became quite well known for the quality of work they did…and the woman of this story, Andee Atkisson, turned out to have a gift for creating tables of beauty. You see…she was a Master Carver and could design incredible works of art, not just pool tables.
Paul Newman had three of them. Robert Dinero, Ross Perot, Jack Nicholas, countless Nascar Drivers, dozens of Major League Baseball Players, and celebrities from the music world all own tables manufactured by Vitalie Manufacturing and designed by Andee. She is a legend over the last three decades in and around the world of billiards and the beautiful tables she has created. Master P is proud of the custom made, $100,000.00 table in his possession. You have seen these tables in the movies, on TV shows, and even in commercials…they are simply gorgeous.
Gil Atkisson is no slouch either. It turns out he had the ability to build a plant and train a staff to produce the finest crafted tables sold in the country. The designs of Andee have been duplicated at their facility which contains a unique array of special equipment and dealers across America attest to the quality of the product.
Billiards tables roll out of the factory in Rosman, North Carolina at a steady rate…supplying jobs for 25 proud, skilled hand craftsman and women. They also make the accessories that adorn the typical room where a table is used, including the cue racks, and game tables for poker that we all enjoy.
This is a story of America and how two people with a skill set and a passion worked together for 30 years employing hundreds of workers, supporting dozens of dealers while manufacturing works of art. Taxes were paid by the tens of thousands…families were raised because of the employment opportunities…and Andee and Gil plowed their earnings back into their venture to make it grow. To be sure, they borrowed money along the way. There is the mortgage on their 55,000 square foot factory. Inventory is required. There was about two million dollars of equipment purchased from around the world to keep this tradition of beautiful design and handmade quality available.
As you all know, when housing collapsed almost three years ago…new homes sat empty. Those who did buy couldn’t afford that beautiful pool table. And those with money to spend are reluctant to do so. Sales of home recreational items plummeted. Dealers were hard pressed to sell tables of this quality and price range…mostly between 5 and 10 thousand dollars.
Like all manufacturing operations there is a minimum number of units that have to be produced, and therefore sold…to maintain at least a break-even point. This company is not overly debt ridden. To owe $1.2 million on the facility is not out of line. To have a $600K loan against the two million in equipment is not extraordinary. To have $200K of accounts payable under the level of sales they have experienced is normal. But the threat of continued low sales leaves Vitalie with its nose just under water.
Just like many companies in America.
$30 billion went to save Bank of America. Nothing has gone to tens of thousands of companies like Vitalie. American companies like this can not be allowed to slip under water. Why do we put ten thousand dollars in a CD paying .005% interest when we could be putting that ten thousand dollars to work in a company like Vitalie, Saving an American icon in the world of billiards, giving the next generation of pool players the designs of Andee under the production guidance of Gil and keeping 25 people employed and paying taxes seems to me to be a better place to invest your money.
How about this…let’s put $250K in the pot, charge 5% interest, and Andee and Gill will throw in a beautiful poker table for your generosity…and Andee and Gil will execute a 3 year balloon payment back which may have the option to be converted to equity at a pre-assigned rate. And if the company is sold prior to the payback your investment will be treated as both debt and equity.
A gamble? Yes. A high risk investment? Yes. But this company means jobs for 25 Americans, it means a continuation of the production of beautiful works of art…and you just might beat the stock market on your bet here.
25 spots at $10K each are now available for your consideration. I would join the company as a Board of Directors member and oversee the investment this group makes. We could lose every dime we put in here. So what…own part of a great American company. Remember when Harley-Davidson was on its back and faltering and then the country embraced the motorcycles to blast the value of the business…creating an impressive rise in value? It can be done here on a smaller scale.
You can perform due diligence for yourself with the material we can provide, even come with me to the plant to witness the marvelous way these tables are made, and you can rest assured that Andee and Gill will continue to work as hard as ever to revitalize this company until the recession is over and sales improve.
Come on people…let’s invest our money differently…and save America.
Check out Vitalie at: www.vitalie-manufacturing.com
- Posted: 7 February 2010
- Comments: 1
- Category: Selling a business
Saving this one company does more than save the company, the 25 employees & their families, but also the companies/vendors it deals with. Our company has handled the Regulated Waste Disposal for Vitalie for several years, and we will miss their business just as consumers will miss their services.
I salute your concept of investing back into companies such as this, instead of sinking millions/billions into banks & other corporations that are just going to restructure & get out of paying it back anyway…
Written by Jimmy Wright on 10 August 2010