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Featured Hot Rods The State of The Rodder's Journal - a note from Steve Coonan

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by TRJ, Mar 27, 2021.

  1. TRJ
    Joined: Oct 4, 2003
    Posts: 337

    Alliance Vendor

    It’s been far too long since we’ve communicated with our readers and with customers who are waiting for orders. We are sincerely sorry for the delays and for the lapse in communication. The last year has presented us with some unprecedented challenges, and I’d like to explain what has been going on and what we’re doing to overcome these hurdles and get TRJ back on track.

    Although we’ve explained bits and pieces of how we got where we are in past emails and social media posts, our lack of clear communication has allowed rumors and conjecture to take hold, so I wanted to first apologize for that lack of communication and to explain our situation here. We had a five year plan in place that involved bringing the printing of TRJ back to the United States, bringing our pre-production in house, and relocating the company to a more cost-effective location. In 2019 we completed those goals. It was the right move for us in many ways, but it took longer, cost more, and created more of a disruption to our business than we anticipated. The resulting slow down in magazine production impacted subscribers, because each issue took longer to produce, and it impacted our revenue in every way. The silver lining, we thought, was that we would be able to hit the ground running in 2020, getting back to our quarterly magazine production and also working on some new book projects. And then the pandemic hit.

    The first issue of 2020, TRJ #83, was a disaster from a distribution standpoint. Thousands of domestic copies were lost or damaged as the post office struggled with their own COVID-related problems. Our distributor shredded countless thousands of copies when they were unable to deliver them to bookstores that were closed due to local lockdowns. And pallets of magazines destined for Australia and New Zealand were lost by the post office, so not a single subscriber in those countries received #83. Add to that a year without any events and a war chest that was already depleted from our relocation, and we found ourselves with our resources taxed to the limit and under significant strain.

    But we also own up to the fact that we made mistakes, too. There’s no handbook for navigating a pandemic, but there are certainly aspects that we could have handled much better. When we began experiencing postal delivery problems, we decided to delay international product shipments and international delivery of the subsequent issue, TRJ #84, until the postal service could ensure more reliable delivery. We didn’t communicate that decision at the time because we thought the delivery problems would be resolved much quicker. That was a mistake—we should have communicated that decision right away, and we regret that we didn’t. We truly are sorry.

    We resumed international shipping in November. But between the backlog of shipments, the number of orders we had to re-ship because the originals were lost in transit, the influx of holiday orders, and the mounting financial strain, we were not able to get caught up on merchandise shipping, and we weren’t able to ship the international copies of #84 to subscribers. We were simply overwhelmed, and we failed to communicate with our customers. This lapse in communication, along with our holiday catalog not reaching most customers until well into the New Year (despite being mailed in November), left us struggling through a dismal holiday season and left some customers wondering about their orders and their magazines. Shortly after the holidays we lost most of our office staff, and we have been trying to find a way to recover ever since.

    So where does The Rodder's Journal stand today? We are struggling, but we’re not out of this fight yet.

    I want to be clear that our absolute priority at this point is to fulfill all of the existing merchandise orders that have been placed. We know we have frustrated those of you who are still waiting to receive merchandise and who have not heard from us. We are committed to getting all open orders and lost shipments resolved in short order. We expect to begin shipping again in April, and will provide an update (here and via our email list) when packages start leaving our warehouse. We hope to ship international subscriber copies of issue #84 at that time as well (just this week we began discussing those logistics with our mailing house). Again, we will make further announcements when those ship.

    Regarding the future of the magazine, issue #85 is very close to being finished and ready to send to the printer. We’re fortunate to have an incredibly loyal customer base and a roster of advertising partners who have been understanding and supportive through the past year’s production delays. But we still have some challenges ahead of us before we can send the issue to the printer and resume a more regular publishing schedule. I will provide more information on our progress as soon as I can—hopefully within the first few weeks of April.

    We know there are aspects of this situation that we have not handled well. The challenges presented by the pandemic and all of the ripple effects that has had are very real, but we dropped the ball in communicating just how we were being impacted and what we were doing to resolve the issues we were experiencing. I am very sorry that we didn’t do a better job. Moving forward, we will.

    For the next two weeks the office will be closed while we prepare to begin shipping again. I plan to issue regular updates via email blast regarding our progress, and will announce when our staff is able to field phone calls and emails.

    The Rodder's Journal has always been fueled by our love for these cars, the history of this hobby, and by the support you’ve given us over the last 26 years. We sincerely appreciate that support, and I can assure you that we are doing all we can to restore the level of customer service you deserve, and to getting TRJ back on track.

    —Steve Coonan

    (We will also be posting a version of this message through our email list early next week for those customers who aren't active on the HAMB, but at the moment we're trying to work out a technical issue with our mail server.)
  2. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,964

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    Finally. Good luck with the challenges.
    oldsjoe, Lil32, Butler 32 and 3 others like this.
  3. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,972


    Thanks,Steve, for the explanation. And the apology. Everyone is pulling for your success.
    oldsjoe, Lil32, HotRod33 and 9 others like this.
  4. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,135


    Way to man up Steve! I will be demi-patently waiting for my next issue. TRY is head and shoulders above the rest of the field and is worth the wait.
    oldsjoe, Lil32, Butler 32 and 4 others like this.

  5. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,482

    phat rat

    Lots of apologies and explanations, thanks. But, all the staff left because???
    clem, Lil32, swade41 and 3 others like this.
  6. I'd like to say this makes me feel better, but it doesn't....

    The last issue I received was #82, and I'm a domestic subscriber. And the poor communications appear to be not just with your customers but also with your support vendors. I see nothing about just what those problems were or solutions to them. I understand that things are tough all over right now, but sprinkling happy dust around isn't a solution...
  7. great news ,..I know you guys can pull this back together,..good luck with all the issues you are working out.
    ..a subscriber since issue no.1...hopin everyone has a better 2021.
  8. Chicster
    Joined: Aug 5, 2018
    Posts: 234

    1. Missouri H.A.M.B.ers

    Thanks for the heads up and I hope everything works out.
  9. jim snow
    Joined: Feb 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,208

    jim snow

    Hoping all the best for you guys. I’m a long time subscriber and gonna stick with ya. Snowman
    oldsjoe, Lil32, Hamtown Al and 3 others like this.
  10. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 18,896


    Thanks @TRJ and all the best in climbing out of the Shithole of anomalies...I can understand as it still isn't remotely safe yet out there...a wish for good health to you all in these difficult times...
    oldsjoe, Lil32, 1940Willys and 6 others like this.
  11. Thanks for the update....Good Luck....
  12. thank you Steve, for posting what was happening with TRJ right now... It can only hopefully get better from here on.. All the best to you and the staff.. keep the updates coming... Thank you for owning up to mistakes.. Been loyal subscriber for years ...
    oldsjoe, Lil32, Hamtown Al and 4 others like this.
  13. I'm one of the lucky ones that have received all the issues and my merch order last fall. I hope he is able to find a way to get finances to recover. When you're in the bottom of the hole, it's hard to climb out.
    oldsjoe, Lil32, Joe Travers and 4 others like this.
  14. 24 Dodge
    Joined: May 2, 2010
    Posts: 709

    24 Dodge

    Thanks Steve, looking forward to #84. The best mag on the news stand.
    Lil32 and Stogy like this.
  15. Buz
    Joined: May 18, 2007
    Posts: 134


    Best of luck. I love the Mag and have every issue. I can't wait for the next one.
    oldsjoe, Lil32, Stogy and 1 other person like this.
    Joined: Jan 24, 2010
    Posts: 2,010

    from IDAHO

    Thank You Steve And You Have My Support 100%....As Always... TRJ_1B-510x623.jpg
    504640, Scooterville, oldsjoe and 8 others like this.
  17. 26hotrod
    Joined: Nov 28, 2009
    Posts: 937

    from landis n c

    Thanks for the info and God speed to you and your business........
    oldsjoe, Lil32, Joe Travers and 2 others like this.
  18. Graybeard
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 37

    from BC

    I wish that made me feel better......
  19. Bird man
    Joined: Dec 28, 2009
    Posts: 636

    Bird man
    from Milwaukee

    Well...The deal that I have with my employer is pretty much- I get paid & I keep showing up.
    I just perused their Merch section & might need to buy something when they start shipping again .
    Hope they make it.
  20. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,703

    from Nebraska

    Thank you for the update / communication, Steve.
    I don't envy the position you're in and wish you the best of luck getting back on top of things and moving forward successfully.
    oldsjoe, Lil32, LOU WELLS and 6 others like this.
  21. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,895

    stuart in mn

    Good luck, and I look forward to issue #85.
  22. borderboy1971
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 744

    from Canada

    The selfish side of me wants you to spring back so I can get my magazines (And likely future merch), but the humanity side of me also wishes you and all a good recovery for your own and community benefit, plus to continue with a great work of art that the magazine truly is. Good luck.
  23. Thanks for the update, I'm still hopeful you guy's can regain all your lifetime members confidence and continue to publish the best automotive magazine ever. HRP
  24. Rice n Beans Garage
    Joined: Dec 17, 2006
    Posts: 1,532

    Rice n Beans Garage

    Worth the wait, good luck
  25. proartguy
    Joined: Apr 13, 2009
    Posts: 479

    from Sparks, NV

    Thanks for the clarification about TRJ. Certainly it is a lot more than I ever got from other publications who went under without warning. I look forward to more great issues.
    oldsjoe, Lil32, LOU WELLS and 2 others like this.
  26. stlouisgasser
    Joined: Sep 4, 2005
    Posts: 670


    As much as I love TRJ, the magazine industry tanked in Nov. 2019 but thankfully TRJ survived. I never actually subscribed to it strictly because I wanted to support my local Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million retail stores and I’ve always dreaded the day when those stores are gone forever because of subscriptions or mail-order. Shortly thereafter, I was stricken with a severe case of C-19 which I’ve never fully recovered from and it broke my heart to see entire magazine shelves empty when I was finally able to enter a B&N store during the Summer of 2020. My current & personal perspective to anyone that’s upset about missing a damn magazine issue (of any sort) because of the way the world changed forever in 2020, you need to just get over it and reevaluate your priorities towards friends, family & the world in general. Like I said . . . the world has changed forever so adjust your expectations of everything that used to be normal and maybe with a little bit of luck & hope we can get back to how things used to be.
  27. Funny, tell you the God’s honest truth, I didn’t even realize it had been a while since the last issue came....I’m still reading it. I have enjoyed each and every word in each issue since the beginning. I appreciated the love you guys have for this hobby and each issue was worth the wait and never felt you owed anyone an apology when 4 issues a year didn’t get out out. I always figured I had a sub for 4 issues and eventually 4 issues would arrive. Getting a new issue has always been a treat and I savor each one. Can not imagine the pressure you all have been under and praying for peace each night when you lay your head down that you tried your hardest that day and will try your hardest again tomorrow. That’s all you owe anyone...especially yourself. I’m patient, I’ll wait. Thank you for giving everything you’ve got to this endeavor since the day you started it and for giving us the best niche magazine all other aspects of our hobby could only wish for. God bless ya!!
  28. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 2,888


    Thanks for the update but not to worry, I will be hanging in there with you until the bitter end and I'm sure most of us here will also. You have one of the few remaining magazines and most certainly the best. As someone said, in this post Covid world there are many changes that we all have to deal with, a late or missing magazine is pretty far down on the Things That Are Pissin' Me Off List.
    Keep on doing what you're doing but do keep the lines of communication open. Everyone feels better when they know someone is at the wheel and headed in the right direction. Thanks again.....
  29. Best of luck, I know it's a tough go. Looking forward to receiving issue #84, and all the rest to come. I'm in the Canadian/International bunch. But, as the saying goes, better late, than never.
  30. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 3,842


    I buy off the new stands and haven't missed an issue since I starting getting your mag. Any thoughts on doing some actual "how to" articles like the mags of yore?

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