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parks on the ropes

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#1 drollere

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 04:04 AM

i recently attempted to order some ATM parts from parks optical to rebuild an ƒ/4 newtonian. after i did not get an order confirmation after 5 business days i called to check status. the woman who answered took the request and promised to call back.

after two hours she did, and explained that "the company that owns parks optical" has cut back significantly on operations, and the man who could answer my question wasn't there because "we only work here one day a week."

when i asked to cancel the order she actually sounded relieved. "oh YES, no problem!" that can't be good.

#2 Chucky

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:50 AM

Who owns Parks?

#3 jgraham

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:44 AM

Even back in my ATM days I thought that Parks was a bit of an odd company. Somehow I don't think that the owner(s) realize that this isn't 1975 anymore.

P.S.

I just visited their web site. Yep, they seem to be just a tad outa touch.

#4 Chucky

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:56 AM

<< I just visited their web site. Yep, they seem to be just a tad outa touch. >>

"Innovate or die" .....per the sticker on a Specialized bicycle I own.

#5 csrlice12

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 08:14 AM

Know of the eyepieces, not so much about the company. But, they're in the optics business, not the computer business. There are a lot of small businesses out there using the same computer equipment and programs they'd use personally at home. These people are not professional web designers, they're optics people; as long as they put out a quality product, they'll have customers. Not saying they shouldn't maybe invest in someone coming in and updating their website for them; but in today's economy, where margins are tight for everyone, it's sometimes a choice between updating the website or a new machine to cut the threading for filters on eyepiece barrels....best to just call with any questions, remember, a lot of these companies are small, and have already cut what they could to preserve their quality.

#6 tomharri

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 08:31 AM

Last time I checked, Scope City took over a few years ago when they were about to go under. Them and Lumicon. But now Scope City is having problems so.........the depression continues.

#7 csrlice12

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 08:41 AM

That's the history of this hobby; most all of the best equipment is made by small, usually family, businesses (Teeter, Televue, Lumicon, Parks, and others). There will always be "basic" equipment available from bigger mfgrs, where the quality won't be quite as good due to automation, Quality control, and the amounts of equpment produced. Luckily, even the "mass produced" equipment is now better then what we even had 20-30 years ago because of better material availability and technology improvements in glass and mirror mfging. We don't want to lose these small company's though, as these are the ones who made it possible for us to have the good equipment that is now much more available the in the past.

#8 amicus sidera

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:56 AM

That's sad news... although quite expensive on some (most?) items, Parks fills a niche in amateur astronomy, and has for some time. I hope that things turn around for them, as well as many of the other small companies who are struggling during this Depression.


Btw, nice to see Fritz back as the avatar, Bruce... :grin:

#9 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:07 PM

Parks fills a niche in amateur astronomy, and has for some time.



I think the niche they filled has continuously dwindled since about 1980. Scope City, the folks who own Parks, had a store about 4 blocks from my house. A dozen years ago, there were no Dobs and it was filled with Equatorial reflectors. The store moved a couple of miles down the road, the last time I went in, it was not a lot different.
The San Diego branch has since closed.

I was not surprised when it closed, it was difficult to figure out how they stayed in business with OPT just 25 miles up the road.. The first time I went into that Scope City, we had just moved into our new house, I wanted a laser collimator... (this would have been about 2000.) The response "We don't believe in Laser Collimators."

Jon

#10 AlBoning

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:02 PM

I visit Parks' web site on occasion and usually from there I go to Orion Optics UK. The contrast is amazing and always leaves me wishing OOUK was on this side of the Atlantic, or at the very least had a distributor in the CONUS.

#11 hottr6

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:28 PM

But now Scope City is having problems so.........the depression continues.

That explains that after I placed an order with ScopeCity for ADM gear (listed as "in stock"), I waited 3 months before cancelling the order and got the stuff direct from Anthony Davoli. I did call several times during the waiting period, and was always promised "the parts will arrive next week!".

When I ordered direct from ADM, I had the parts 2 days later.

#12 Mary B

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:49 PM

I run a small business from home. It is very difficult to make a profit in this economy.

#13 amicus sidera

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:24 PM

Parks fills a niche in amateur astronomy, and has for some time.



I think the niche they filled has continuously dwindled since about 1980. Scope City, the folks who own Parks, had a store about 4 blocks from my house. A dozen years ago, there were no Dobs and it was filled with Equatorial reflectors. The store moved a couple of miles down the road, the last time I went in, it was not a lot different.
The San Diego branch has since closed.

I was not surprised when it closed, it was difficult to figure out how they stayed in business with OPT just 25 miles up the road.. The first time I went into that Scope City, we had just moved into our new house, I wanted a laser collimator... (this would have been about 2000.) The response "We don't believe in Laser Collimators."

Jon


Granted, it's a small niche, but they filled it well... it's not their fault that so many amateurs became inordinately enamored of alt-az 'scopes... :grin: and as for "We don't believe in laser collimators"... gotta love it! These are my kinda folks, but I can see why they might be having difficulties, seeing as how the multitudes have drunk deep of the the alt-az/laser collimation kool-aid in the past two decades. ;)

#14 stevew

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:15 PM

From looking at the prices they have on their web site for 60mm refractors, I'd say they don't want to sell telescopes.
http://www.parksopti...=PRT Refractors

#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 06:09 AM

Granted, it's a small niche, but they filled it well... it's not their fault that so many amateurs became inordinately enamored of alt-az 'scopes... :grin: and as for "We don't believe in laser collimators"... gotta love it! These are my kinda folks, but I can see why they might be having difficulties, seeing as how the multitudes have drunk deep of the the alt-az/laser collimation kool-aid in the past two decades. ;)



I like it, "it's not their fault.... the Kool-aid" It wasn't GMs fault either that people suddenly realized fuel economy and reliability were important.. but somehow other manufacturers did.

The niche Parks/Scope City seemed to fill was that of the vendor out of touch with the changing needs of the amateur astronomer. I suspect that those large GEM mounted Newtonians just took up floor space and were never sold. Those were really observatory scopes and since 1980 when they were possibly state of the hobby, the availability of large cats and GOTO mounts has transformed the observatory marketplace... talk about being behind the times...

As the owner of a 12.5 inch F/6 Gem that is very similar to what Scope City and Parks sold/sell, it is pretty obvious why Dobsonians replaced those old monsters Newtonians. My 12.5 inch Dob easily fits in a small car, the 12.5 inch equatorial is more effort to setup than the 25 inch F/5.. I do the 25 inch by myself, the 12.5 inch F/6 requires two people.

Jon Isaacs

#16 amicus sidera

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 08:47 AM

Jon, my remarks were meant to taken as tongue-in-cheek, as indicated by the "wink" icon I placed at the end... yet I see that in the text you quoted, my comments end with a "smirk" instead... has someone been messing with my post??

[Mod note - corrected quoted emoticon back to wink.]

#17 csa/montana

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 08:57 AM

Jon, my remarks were meant to taken as tongue-in-cheek, as indicated by the "wink" icon I placed at the end... yet I see that in the text you quoted, my comments end with a "smirk" instead... has someone been messing with my post??


When quoting, the Graemlins do not appear; Jon probably just mistakenly posted the "smirk" instead of the "wink". Most do not take the time to re-enter the Graemlins in a quote at all, so Jon made the extra effort.

#18 rmollise

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:00 AM

Granted, it's a small niche, but they filled it well... it's not their fault that so many amateurs became inordinately enamored of alt-az 'scopes... :grin: and as for "We don't believe in laser collimators"... gotta love it! These are my kinda folks, but I can see why they might be having difficulties, seeing as how the multitudes have drunk deep of the the alt-az/laser collimation kool-aid in the past two decades. ;)


Yeah, who DOESN'T want an overpriced GEM mounted scope whose design hasn't changed or improved since the 1960s? They oughta be ON TOP OF THE WORLD! :lol:

#19 amicus sidera

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:20 AM

Thank you, Carol! I just want it to be clear that my remarks weren't meant to be taken seriously!! I've never used that "smirk" icon, nor would I have any reason to do so... it's use invites contention.

#20 okieav8r

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:59 AM

Last time I checked, Scope City took over a few years ago when they were about to go under. Them and Lumicon. But now Scope City is having problems so.........the depression continues.


Who owns Lumicon right now? Isn't it Parks, or was it Parks at one time?

#21 drollere

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:14 AM

The niche Parks/Scope City seemed to fill was that of the vendor out of touch with the changing needs of the amateur astronomer. I suspect that those large GEM mounted Newtonians just took up floor space and were never sold.


i went to them for basic stuff, rotating rings and a telescope tube, which i got from parallax instead.

re jon's comments about reducing scope size and mass ... note that the personal ambition of olivier guyon, 2012 macarthur fellow, is to build "a high quality 1 meter telescope weighting less than 50kg." there's kool-aid, and then there's the stuff that the pastor puts in the kool-aid.

Jon, my remarks were meant to taken as tongue-in-cheek, as indicated by the "wink" icon I placed at the end... yet I see that in the text you quoted, my comments end with a "smirk" instead.


wow, i did not know there was a subtext of emoticon etiquette. it's all "dancing baloney" to me, as the designers at yahoo used to call 'em. the text versions seem much more accurate and are fully reproducible. ;-)

still, there's no text emoticon that captures the spirit of mr. dancing banana. i love that guy! :yay:

#22 scopeboy42

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:20 AM

Who owns Lumicon right now? Isn't it Parks, or was it Parks at one time?


Based on online research it appears Maurice Sweiss owns Parks Optical, Scope City, and Lumicon. Lumicon ads use to state that they were a division of Parks Optical but I am not sure if that is still true. Mr. Sweiss does give an intro in the 1985 Parks Optical Catalog and he is listed as president so he has owned it for quite some time.

http://geogdata.csun.../85parkscat.pdf

Greg

#23 okieav8r

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:30 AM


Who owns Lumicon right now? Isn't it Parks, or was it Parks at one time?


Based on online research it appears Maurice Sweiss owns Parks Optical, Scope City, and Lumicon. Lumicon ads use to state that they were a division of Parks Optical but I am not sure if that is still true. Mr. Sweiss does give an intro in the 1985 Parks Optical Catalog and he is listed as president so he has owned it for quite some time.

http://geogdata.csun.../85parkscat.pdf


Thanks Gregory.

#24 astro_baby

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 04:17 AM

Wow a look at the website took me back to a UK dealer circa 1977.

#25 csrlice12

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:54 AM

Wow a look at the website took me back to a UK dealer circa 1977.


Uh, there were no websites in 1977. :roflmao:






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