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pinchvalve
pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/5/17 3:46 p.m.

What I know is that buying a company (that isn't under bankruptcy protection) doesn't absolve you of all of their responsibilities and commitments. The primary value in Craftsman is the brand cache, so they have to be careful not to hurt it more than Sears already has. But they can't afford to replace crappy tools with more expensive ones for free either. It's an interesting position.

If history is any guide, the beancounters will decide what to do and the lawyers will work out the details and the consumer will get screwed.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter PowerDork
1/5/17 3:52 p.m.

I would suggest that Stanley would have every intention of positioning Craftsman as top-of-the-line, or at least upper-middle, and that they would keep the lifetime warranty, which is by far the best-known attribute and selling feature of Craftsman. Without the warranty, it's just another tool and that 900m will evaporate overnight.

The0retical
The0retical Dork
1/5/17 3:54 p.m.

In reply to lnlogauge:

Wow, I didn't realize they owned DeWalt, Porter Cable, Bostitch, and Proto.

MAC and Black and Decker were the only ones I knew of offhand because Stanley was always written on the MAC Tools truck.

fasted58
fasted58 UltimaDork
1/5/17 4:00 p.m.

Most of my Craftsman hand tools are 30-40 years old, started buying when I was a kid. Still have the good quick release ratchets w/ center release button before they were forced to stop making them over the patent, bought 'em at auction too. The new 1/4" ratchets are just junk. Craftsman ratcheting wrenches hang on the wall in preference for the GearWrenches. Rarely have I broken any tool but they always replaced it but that was many years ago now.

Seems we always had Craftsman push mowers long as I can remember, I'd get the hand me downs from dad and keep 'em runnin'. Wonder what will happen w/ that line now? Didn't care for their newer tractors as much as the older ones.

K-Mart closed here last fall and Sears will close in the spring after 45 or so years. Only a few minutes away from that store, was a nice short trip. I'll kinda miss that store as you could pick up a decent shirt and tie, slacks, jeans, shoes or a 10 mm socket just in n out.

Bought appliances, lawn equipment and power tools there too. Kenmore appliance line actually wasn't bad. Seems there was always some kind of sale, bought the Milwaukee 3/8" hammer drill, 1/2" Magnum drill and 4-1/2" grinder there on sale. The Craftsman Industrial sawzall is still kickin' ass, 20 years old or so, original brushes too and it's gets used a ton. Didn't care for their drills tho. Don't really remember the last time I was there though, that says a lot.

Probably switch to Kobalt tools now if needed. Lowes, HD and HF are only 5 minutes away too.

Sears will likely just fade away, ain't gonna quit bleedin'. The mall here is a ghost town too... another sign of the times.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler GRM+ Memberand UberDork
1/5/17 4:17 p.m.
The0retical wrote: In reply to lnlogauge: Wow, I didn't realize they owned DeWalt, Porter Cable, Bostitch, and Proto. MAC and Black and Decker were the only ones I knew of offhand because Stanley was always written on the MAC Tools truck.

One of the first case studies I read when I went to business school was about the birth of DeWalt in the early 90s. Basically, B&D had zero brand equity at that point after years of making cheap crap, so they were getting their butts kicked by the Makitas. Milwaukees, and Porter Cables of the world in power tools. They already had a line of higher-end power tools, but by reviving an old brand, changing the color, and giving them to contractors and other pros to use, they were able to build DeWalt's brand value pretty quickly. Basically, they followed a similar plan to what Honda did with Acura, and so on.

ronholm
ronholm Dork
1/5/17 4:41 p.m.

I had a friend get arrested at the Home depot the other day.

All I did was send him in to find a black and Decker

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/5/17 6:05 p.m.
Tom_Spangler wrote:
SVreX wrote: Ooh! Ooh! I know the answer to this one! (I think) Sears discontinued Craftsman tape measures a few years ago- the warranty was killing them. I figured I couldn't complain- I had bought 15 Craftsman tape measures on sale for $6.99 (worth more than $25 new). Every one of them had been replaced at LEAST a half a dozen times over more than 20 years. I got my money's worth. They continued to honor the warranty by giving an equivalent Stanley tape measure when you traded in a Craftsman. But they made it clear that the new tape measure would be covered by whatever Stanley's warranty was, not Craftsman. (Of course this meant no warranty). I took my new Stanley, and thanked them. So, I would strongly bet that they will do the same thing. They will replace Craftsman tools with comparable Stanley tools (at least as long as Sears is still solvent).
I'm pretty sure the Craftsman name will live on. Stanley didn't pay $900M to switch people over to their brand, they clearly see some value in the Craftsman name. Though I'd submit that the value is seriously reduced from what it was 10+ years ago.

I'm not sure I agree.

They may have simply been buying market share. Owning the Craftsman name gives them the right to take Craftsman off the shelf. Sears stores could then be stocked with Stanley (or any other brand name they own). This would make all the Sears tool buyers users of their brands, even without the name Craftsman.

Keeping the name Craftsman means carrying the legacy costs of the warranties, or loosing customers by not honoring the warranties.

Stanley can claim the tool buyers Sears still has with their dying breath. When Sears closes, Craftsman will make no sense. It's much better to convert the market share while it still exists.

Looks like a pretty easy choice to me. I expect to see fewer Craftsman products on the shelf at all, and a much broader inventory of all of the Stanley owned products, until the day Sears closes.

In fact, Stanley may even use the Craftsman name as a bounce product. Since most of us agree Craftsman products have deteriorated, Stanley would benefit by putting them on the shelves side by side with other (better) products they own. Sure, you can buy a Craftsman power widget for $X dollars. But look how much more you can have for less if you switch to this other product!

I think they paid $900 million so they can control the crash of one of the largest tool product lines in history. To Sears, it's a win. They come out $900 million fatter, and they know they are going under sooner or later anyway. They get profit on the products sold in their store for as long as they are alive, so why does it matter if it says "Craftsman" on it?

Furious_E
Furious_E GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/5/17 6:11 p.m.

Word just came out the other day our local Sears is closing. I've actually been meaning to post a "what decent tools does Craftsman make these days" thread so I know what to look for in the ensuing fire sale.

The basis of my tool collection was a Craftsman set I got about ten years ago. Decent, but not great. My dad's Craftsman stuff is worlds better and is probably 3x the age, ratchets don't have play, screwdrivers not stripped out, ect. Only broken a few sockets, and my dad killed my torque wrench one time by trying to use it as a breaker bar (can't blame the tool for that one), and they have all been a pain in the ass to warranty. To the point I just stopped bothering with sockets. I buy a hodgepodge of Kobalt, HF, and whatever anymore, though.

The optimist in me says Stanley goes slightly upmarket with the brand, slotting it between Mac and the Stanley brand. Seems that would make the most sense.

And with all these malls emptying out, does anyone else see that as a potentially awesome venue for a go kart track or tracks?

fasted58
fasted58 UltimaDork
1/5/17 6:15 p.m.
Furious_E wrote: And with all these malls emptying out, does anyone else see that as a potentially awesome venue for a go kart track or tracks?

I was gonna say just that in my last post!

Grtechguy
Grtechguy MegaDork
1/5/17 6:20 p.m.

Sadly, HF tools now have a better warranty.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy PowerDork
1/5/17 6:29 p.m.
fasted58 wrote:
Furious_E wrote: And with all these malls emptying out, does anyone else see that as a potentially awesome venue for a go kart track or tracks?
I was gonna say just that in my last post!

Like this?

New Oldsmobile's are in early this year.

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro PowerDork
1/5/17 7:37 p.m.

Craftsman "quality" is what made me go back to buying off the tool truck.

MAC (Stanley) "quality" is what made me go back to Snap-On.

There's only Snap-On and S-K in my work toolbox now. S-K mostly because I don't like the way Snap-On wrenches feel in my hand. S-K Superkrome wrenches are the best, hands down.

When I started as a lowly apprentoid, my toolbox was full of Craftsman. Sears drove my business elsewhere.

Furious_E
Furious_E GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/5/17 8:53 p.m.
fasted58 wrote:
Furious_E wrote: And with all these malls emptying out, does anyone else see that as a potentially awesome venue for a go kart track or tracks?
I was gonna say just that in my last post!

Your comment on empty malls actually sparked the thought.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
1/6/17 4:18 a.m.

Through the idea of a track in a mall looks right size, the rent structure at malls pretty much assures this won't happen.

Can your track revenues afford to replace the decaying parking lot blacktop?

The rent prices in many malls is near criminal.

WildScotsRacing
WildScotsRacing Dork
1/6/17 7:50 a.m.

Unless Stanley has interfered with the quality of Proto tools very recently, I have always found Proto to excellent premium quality hand tools and I have quite a few. I especially like their Spline Drive sockets and wrenches. Back to Sears:

The Sears at 21st and Yale in Tulsa is closing too, this spring. No idea what will become of the space.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/6/17 8:29 a.m.
JohnRW1621 wrote: Through the idea of a track in a mall looks right size, the rent structure at malls pretty much assures this won't happen. Can your track revenues afford to replace the decaying parking lot blacktop? The rent prices in many malls is near criminal.

The whole game changes if Sears leaves and it becomes an INDOOR kart track.

Empty malls will dictate a different business model, so I don't think the pricing issue matters a lot. If malls are converted to indoor fun parks and upscale gyms, prices will reflect appropriately.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/6/17 8:33 a.m.

I actually think malls will just close, and create blight conditions until someone creates a different business model.

Their failure is probably largely influenced by zoning codes and tax assessors. Those are the same people that will have to fix them (through rezoning, and alternate tax revenue models).

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
1/6/17 9:02 a.m.

Our giant empty mall was bought by a developer for a song out of collections and turned into a marketplace similar to Philly's Reading Terminal Market, a giant gym, a brew pub movie house (not open yet) and some other niche type businesses that couldn't afford a store front otherwise ... and seems to be thriving.

He also developed some high end apartments and a grocery to go with it though so he has a captive audience of city dwellers who can get by without a car now.

It was clever. No one thought it would work including me. But, walking into the place it has a real sort of vibe. THey don't shoo street musicians and there are improptu artists painting things... neat. I'm sure the first pot store in NE PA will anchor where the big retail place used to be :)

Now, if I could just talk the guy into a makerspace...

SilverFleet
SilverFleet UberDork
1/6/17 9:21 a.m.

They actually built an indoor E-Kart track at one of the local malls! I hear it's doing pretty well, too.

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UltraDork
1/6/17 9:22 a.m.

I don't remember where but I recently saw a mall where one whole wing was turned into a retirement community. It seemed to have turned the corner from decay to growth as a result as well.

Most of my travel boxes started out with Craftsman but have transitioned to new S-K and Snap On or vintage Kobalt or Proto (Industro) tools now. I still have a couple of blow mold Craftsman kits that ride in various trunks but they haven't been my go-to for years. I suspect the first step will be to require proof of purchase for replacement going forward, just like Snap On does now, and from there transition either up or out of the market.

slowride
slowride Dork
1/6/17 9:28 a.m.

Is Craftsman better than Alltrade? Not that I'm planning to upgrade again, but when my Alltrade ratchet rusted out, I got a Craftsman to replace it.

I also have a real old Indestro ratchet, does it need maintenance to keep working? I think it's from the 50s.

I did read in one article that Stanley plans to continue the Craftsman warranty. I've never used it personally.

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UltraDork
1/6/17 10:10 a.m.
slowride wrote: I also have a real old Indestro ratchet, does it need maintenance to keep working? I think it's from the 50s.

If it is that old you certainly should be able to disassemble, clean, regrease, and reassemble it for another half century of use.

My dad had a Snap-On/Craftsman mix of tools when I was growing up and the ratchet he always reached for was the Industro he got from my mom's dad. One day it occurred to me to look for another one like it for myself on eBay and that sent me down an expensive tool acquisition rabbit hole for about six months. Fallout is that I now have 3/8" and 1/2" Industro ratchets of my own in each of my travel boxes and I can grab them first myself.

fasted58
fasted58 UltimaDork
1/6/17 1:21 p.m.

Todays email:

Dear Craftsman Club Member,

I'm writing to let you know some exciting news about Craftsman that will enable us to put even more hardworking tools in the hands of makers everywhere. On January 5, Sears Holdings announced that it will sell the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker.

Craftsman is and has been an important part of the Sears family for ninety years. And that’s not going to change. The research and development team at Sears and Craftsman will continue to develop new innovations that will be available exclusively at Sears and Kmart stores and online. However, as part of this transaction, Stanley Black & Decker will gain the rights to develop, manufacture and sell Craftsman-branded products outside of Sears and Kmart, which will make Craftsman products more broadly available in the USA and internationally.

Craftsman remains committed to maintaining the very best aspects of the Craftsman brand. You'll still find the most high quality tools available at the best value, along with our exclusive lifetime warranty on Craftsman hand tools, which has been a hallmark of the brand for generations.

Sears will continue to have the most extensive range of Craftsman tools and lawn and garden products, along with the same trusted service you rely on. In addition to being sold primarily at Sears and Kmart, Craftsman will soon be available at other retailers nationwide.

Your membership in Craftsman Club will not change and we will continue to provide you with exclusive offers, tips and information to help you with all your projects.

Thank you for your membership and loyalty to Craftsman. We look forward to supporting makers everywhere and providing you with the tools you need for many more years to come.

Sincerely, Tom Park President Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard

jde
jde HalfDork
1/6/17 1:26 p.m.

In reply to SVreX:

Interesting theory, as I also couldn't see the long-term value of the name for anyone under about 40.

My theory in the other direction of the name retaining some value and brand recognition was using it in places like Menards and Walmart to counter Kobalt, etc. as a middle brand between Stanley and Mac (as someone else noted).

jde
jde HalfDork
1/6/17 1:28 p.m.
fasted58 wrote: The research and development team at Sears and Craftsman...

They misspelled accountants and brand managers... ;-)

Or maybe they're conducting R&D on delaying the inevitable to the tune of $900 million.

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