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AntMan1
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MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan
      #5626823 - 01/16/13 07:20 PM

This is not good news. This has to be partial from the 800 Issues. They need a kick in the butt because I don't want to be forced to by a Celestron or any other brand! I love my Meade!

http://biz.yahoo.com/e/130114/mead10-q.html


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StarmanDan
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: AntMan1]
      #5626851 - 01/16/13 07:36 PM

It would be disheartening if Meade went under. I love my Meade too. I may be an exception but I haven't had a lick of trouble with my LX200GPS and I've abused it quite a bit.

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imjeffp
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: StarmanDan]
      #5626953 - 01/16/13 08:27 PM

Quote:

The Company has incurred significant recurring losses and negative cash flows from operations which have resulted in reduced liquidity and a weakened financial position as of November 30, 2012. The Company also has endured working capital problems caused by product development delays during the past twelve months. In addition, in January 2013, the Company's largest customer, and one additional customer, notified the Company that they had unilaterally, and without prior notice, decided to indefinitely hold payment of approximately $0.6 million in accounts receivable, which will further reduce the Company's already limited liquidity. Due to these issues, the Company's management now believes substantial doubt exists about the Company's ability to continue as a going concern and that it must modify the Company's business model and operations to reduce spending to a sustainable level. Such actions could cause the Company to be unable to execute its business plan, take advantage of future opportunities, respond to competitive pressures or customer requirements. It may also cause the Company to delay, scale back or eliminate some or all of its research and development programs, seek opportunities in a strategic relationship or business combination, or to reduce or cease operations.




Any idea who the two big customers are? Dealers, perhaps?


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: imjeffp]
      #5627166 - 01/16/13 10:37 PM

Okay, moderator stepping in here for a moment.

This is a hot topic and can easily go off the rails.

If it does, I'll strip out the violations and lock the thread, ending the conversation. To prevent this, I am asking everyone to stay focused on the topic and not resort to generalized-bashing or attacks on Meade or each other.

If anyone goes off the rails, it is better to flag the offending post and not engage in battle.

Regards,

-Christopher Erickson, forum co-moderator.


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budman1961
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5627269 - 01/17/13 12:14 AM

Please shut this down Chris.........its getting too contentious in CN regarding Meade.......

Andy


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: budman1961]
      #5627383 - 01/17/13 03:03 AM

Quote:

Please shut this down Chris.........its getting too contentious in CN regarding Meade.......

Andy




This is an important topic and I have already chosen to leave it up for a while and see how it goes.

If anyone wants to discuss that decision with me, please do it via PM.

Thanks for understanding.


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AntMan1
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5627570 - 01/17/13 08:08 AM

It is very important. especially to those of us who have know no other brand. It was not my intention to insult anyone. in fact it was totally opposite if you read my first post.lets hope it ends in success now the the 800 issue is gone. Chris ...if you read the whole filling do you think it was the above issue that caused this?




This is an important topic and I have already chosen to leave it up for a while and see how it goes.

If anyone wants to discuss that decision with me, please do it via PM.

Thanks for understanding.




Edited by AntMan1 (01/17/13 08:15 AM)


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REC
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: imjeffp]
      #5627938 - 01/17/13 11:52 AM

May be Costco and Walmart? Hope they can get it resolved and stay in business. Perhaps the two new comets this year will spike some new interest in the hobby and help sales efforts!

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ken svp120
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: REC]
      #5628355 - 01/17/13 03:48 PM

All I have to say is HUGE props to CN for allowing this information to be presented to the amateur community. At least this way, consumers can make a more informed decision that otherwise would have been possible without knowing this. Hats off to the Admins and Moderators!

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AntMan1
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: REC]
      #5628495 - 01/17/13 05:17 PM

Has to be one of them or maybe telescopes.com


Quote:

May be Costco and Walmart? Hope they can get it resolved and stay in business. Perhaps the two new comets this year will spike some new interest in the hobby and help sales efforts!




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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: AntMan1]
      #5628689 - 01/17/13 07:11 PM

Some other notable events go along with management's disclosure of liquidity:

- Two of their outside directors resigned this month (Paul Sonkin and Michael Haynes). Sonkin specialized in small cap value investments and has made a substantial investment in time and money to this company and prop up their stock. Their board now has only 4 members (2 employee and 2 non-employee).

- They have fully funded a $1.6 million loan against their A/R with some pretty expensive terms (prime plus 4 with minimum interest and fees per month that will mandate payoff, not pay down). Meade really avoided funding any of their available credit lines in recent years, so this is something of note. They are using a factor and specialty lender, so this is a bit non-traditional by design, but the nature of their current financials probably makes other more conventional lending sources unavailable.

A couple of words of caution to avoid overreacting about all of this:
1. Management has to make conservative and worst case disclosures under current SEC reporting requirements and in this current economic environment.
2. Meade has not reported or disclosed December 2012 numbers yet. These are key numbers.
3. The fact that they were able to get credit funding, no matter the source, means that someone perceives some tangible value in their business.


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AntMan1
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: bicparker]
      #5628809 - 01/17/13 08:15 PM

I am sure they walked away with there pockets overflowing. A lot of good all the big wigs brought to John Diebel's baby. 2,500 started it all.

I just purchased an extended warranty. I hope the redesigned lx850 sells like no tomorrow. It is a beautiful scope for those who can afford it.

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can rise up...... Story of America.

PS: Where is John Diebel these days? Retired? he must be getting up there in age?


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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: AntMan1]
      #5628962 - 01/17/13 09:56 PM

No one has walked away with pockets overflowing. Quite the opposite, in fact. Based upon what I know about Sonkin's stock position with Meade and what expenditures he made over a period of time in that respect, I think he has lost quite a bit of money. Michael Haynes was another outside stockholder who was requested by his employer to step down. Again, I don't think that there any walking away with bags o' cash here. In both cases, I think these were "stop-loss" actions on those directors' parts to limit any further liabilities. Board memberships for public companies are not the lucrative cakewalks they used to be a couple of decades ago.

Edited by bicparker (01/17/13 09:57 PM)


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: AntMan1]
      #5629059 - 01/17/13 10:53 PM

Quote:

It is very important. especially to those of us who have know no other brand. It was not my intention to insult anyone. in fact it was totally opposite if you read my first post.lets hope it ends in success now the the 800 issue is gone. Chris ...if you read the whole filling do you think it was the above issue that caused this?




I was worried this would happen way back when Synta bought Celestron. Synta has big, deep financial pockets, ultra-cheap labor, Chinese government backing and minimal government bureaucratic regulation. This all placed Meade at a big competitive disadvantage.

I believe moving assembly to Mexico was a good business decision.

I believe their ongoing reluctance to sell spare parts to serious amateurs is a mistake. I believe I understand their reasons but I think they could make reasonably-good money from spare parts and create a lot of customer good-will in the process. Requiring OTA's to be shipped in for optical problems would remain acceptable.

I believe that Meade will continue to be killed by the Chinese in the low end. If I were in charge, I would focus on the mid and high range product markets.

While I am giving Meade free advice (worth every penny!) I would also abandon sand-castings for CNC machining. Sand castings look rough and will never be as accurate and clean-looking as CNC-machined parts. The LX-80 would be a much nicer mount if it were anodized, CNC-machined aluminum instead of a bunch of aluminum and plastic castings.

ISON, the (hopefully) big comet coming this winter will likely boost telescope sales in all categories for all makers. I hope Meade will be in a position to take advantage of it. If someone were really into high-risk investments with potential for high payouts (or a complete loss), buying Meade stock right now could be interesting.

Personally I really hope that Meade survives the current crisis and grows as a company. As an alternate, maybe someone will buy them up and continue the company, their products and spare parts.

Directly or indirectly, I believe losing Meade would be a loss for all amateur astronomers.

And P.S. - It is my understanding that John Diebold is currently working for one dollar a year while he struggles to bring Meade back from the brink.


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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5629289 - 01/18/13 02:43 AM

Meade's problems didn't happen overnight and were mostly self inflicted. Their own numbers painted the pictures over the past decade. Also, Meade's problems are less related to Synta's purchase of Celestron (though that didn't help Meade's competitive position) and mostly related to their timing and conditions of business model transformations:

1) into a high volume/low margin/low end telescope vendor and then,
2) reverting their focus back into low volume/high margin/high end telescopes.

They operated both of these models with inadequate working capital (exacerbated by drawn out patent suit from 2002-2004 costing them around $15 million over that time period) and found themselves in the classic conundrum of making a profit while losing money (this scenario is taught in a lot of accounting texts, interestingly enough) in the first model and then showing losses while losing money with their market cap upside down to their book value (which, as a public company, reduced their funding/financing capabilities and highlighted their aging inventories and other assets).

This isn't Monday morning quarterbacking... these are things that were discussed as they happened on the CN forums at length over the past several years.

At its sales revenue peaks, where sales were over $100 million per year, 98% of their sales volume came from low margin/low end telescopes, whereas the other 2% came from their higher end scopes and accessories (called by Meade as the Advanced Astronomical Telescopes in their segment disclosures). That 2%, by the way, contributed around 17% of their net sales (in 2004). Their highest sales revenue peak was in 2004 with about $138 million in sales. That was also their last profitable year. (All of this information, by the way, was gleaned from their annual reports over the years. I used to follow their finances pretty closely).

By 2006, they were taking some significant writedowns on the low margin inventory mostly due to tough supplier terms they had with companies like WalMart, who had liberal return policies that went back directly to the manufacturer/supplier, not WalMart. They also had a couple of major customer defaults during the decade adding to the writedowns. Since these were already thin margin items, the losses started hitting hard.

R&D during this time fluctuated a lot and was held down as they spent the money on legal fees, selling costs, and warranty costs. They increased it again when they started getting out of the discount telescope business, but it was challenging as they were still taking some serious losses during this transformation, which also included selling off a lot of business lines and assets (Bresser, Simmons, et al). They wanted to get back into the mid-higher end/high margin telescope business, but that market had already changed and was crowded with other competitors vying for a shrinking market (the 2012 telescope market total was estimated by one analyst to be around $127 million, compared to over $200 million in 2002).

They went from a company with over $100 million in net revenues to one with $21 million in 2012. From about 2002 on, though, the burn rate on their working capital took its toll from which they never quite recovered. Which is where they are now, with a liquidity problem.


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: bicparker]
      #5629362 - 01/18/13 05:14 AM

Quote:

Meade's problems didn't happen overnight and were mostly self inflicted. Their own numbers painted the pictures over the past decade. Also, Meade's problems are less related to Synta's purchase of Celestron (though that didn't help Meade's competitive position) and mostly related to their timing and conditions of business model transformations:

1) into a high volume/low margin/low end telescope vendor and then,
2) reverting their focus back into low volume/high margin/high end telescopes.

They operated both of these models with inadequate working capital (exacerbated by drawn out patent suit from 2002-2004 costing them around $15 million over that time period) and found themselves in the classic conundrum of making a profit while losing money (this scenario is taught in a lot of accounting texts, interestingly enough) in the first model and then showing losses while losing money with their market cap upside down to their book value (which, as a public company, reduced their funding/financing capabilities and highlighted their aging inventories and other assets).

This isn't Monday morning quarterbacking... these are things that were discussed as they happened on the CN forums at length over the past several years.

At its sales revenue peaks, where sales were over $100 million per year, 98% of their sales volume came from low margin/low end telescopes, whereas the other 2% came from their higher end scopes and accessories (called by Meade as the Advanced Astronomical Telescopes in their segment disclosures). That 2%, by the way, contributed around 17% of their net sales (in 2004). Their highest sales revenue peak was in 2004 with about $138 million in sales. That was also their last profitable year. (All of this information, by the way, was gleaned from their annual reports over the years. I used to follow their finances pretty closely).

By 2006, they were taking some significant writedowns on the low margin inventory mostly due to tough supplier terms they had with companies like WalMart, who had liberal return policies that went back directly to the manufacturer/supplier, not WalMart. They also had a couple of major customer defaults during the decade adding to the writedowns. Since these were already thin margin items, the losses started hitting hard.

R&D during this time fluctuated a lot and was held down as they spent the money on legal fees, selling costs, and warranty costs. They increased it again when they started getting out of the discount telescope business, but it was challenging as they were still taking some serious losses during this transformation, which also included selling off a lot of business lines and assets (Bresser, Simmons, et al). They wanted to get back into the mid-higher end/high margin telescope business, but that market had already changed and was crowded with other competitors vying for a shrinking market (the 2012 telescope market total was estimated by one analyst to be around $127 million, compared to over $200 million in 2002).

They went from a company with over $100 million in net revenues to one with $21 million in 2012. From about 2002 on, though, the burn rate on their working capital took its toll from which they never quite recovered. Which is where they are now, with a liquidity problem.




Fascinating insights!

If you could give Meade just one piece of advice right now, what would it be?


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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5629430 - 01/18/13 07:33 AM

Unfortunately, I wouldn't have a lot of good options in advice given that they are sort of back against the wall right now. But whatever they do, they need to execute quickly and without mistakes and missteps (i.e., no product recalls or delays, no miscues).

Their book value is three times their market cap (their stock value/market cap is about $2 million). They missed the Christmas season. There are a couple of options here (both of which are very narrow for success because the current condition):

1. They could liquidate to a competitor in favor of the shareholders (and this would also protect the directors and officers at this point). Inventory, manufacturing agreements, brands and model names, and R&D IP... these could still have some good value to someone with the resources and funds to market and continue their manufacture. Coronado alone could easily be worth a few hundred thousand (and that is the scale of numbers we are talking about now).

2. Mark out a business plan to get them to to the Christmas season (which for them is really in the August/September frame when they sell to distributors and retailers). This may include filing for Chapter 11 re-organization. This will also likely require new investors (if they can find them) and a management makeover (which may happen anyway if it hasn't already). A very tough option since they won't be able to give strong confidence of warranty support for potential buyers (this is already hurting Meade now).

Option 1 is the most likely one that the company can consider. Even if they go for option 2, a re-org could easily turn into option 1 as a consequence.

If they go for option 2., this will have to be a focused effort on manufacturing and getting product out to the retailers. Lots of product demonstrations, demo videos, travels to the field (literally), and grass roots marketing (especially through the Internet and not just their website). R&D expenditures will have to be zero because it won't matter if they don't get through Christmas and they will have to put all resources to making money. They have the designs, they have just need to get product out there. I don't know how well ramped up their production is right now, particularly the stuff that is outsourced to China.

There is something else that will affect all of this... Their primary lender (Rosenthal & Rosenthal, Inc.) who has the paper on their receivables in exchange for $1.6 million. Their loan agreement does not have covenants, but rather gives the lender latitude to call the loan at just about any time (this is in the 10-Q and in a separate 8-K filing). This could force a Chapter 7 liquidation, which would take the options out of Meade's hands and put its assets to the highest bidder(s).

This last item really puts a huge sense of urgency on Meade and will require the quick execution that I was talking about earlier. They already know the December numbers and what January and February will look like. Meade just needs to move forward with a plan and move forward quickly, otherwise other folks will be making the decisions.


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LoveChina61
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: bicparker]
      #5629789 - 01/18/13 11:46 AM

Meade needs to come to China. They can sell themselves off to the highest bidder like Celestron did, or they can bring the company over here themselves and set up a wholly-foreign owned enterprise (WFOE). They will need to trim down quick and focus on the products which have the best chance of success in the long run. But they need to do it quick!

Maybe it will turn out to be for the best like it has been for Celestron. Celestron owners must feel happy knowing that their company and its products will be around for at least another 20 years.

Welcome to China, Meade!

Mike

Meade LX200 8" Classic
LX200 10" Classics (two of them)
Meade 14" GPS
Celestron - none


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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: LoveChina61]
      #5629858 - 01/18/13 12:20 PM

Mike,
Spot on! Especially the quick, fast, without delay, quick, hurry, quick, etc.!

That may be one of the best sources of investment funds and manufacturing at this point (and they already have some connections there).

Just as an aside, I don't think Celestron really can't get into this as an investor because I am pretty sure that the FTC anti-trust order between Meade and Celestron is still in place, and in any case, they would have to go through an expensive FTC/Justice review to gain any financial connection to Meade assets.


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meade4ever
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: bicparker]
      #5630007 - 01/18/13 02:05 PM

I hope Meade will stay an US company forever

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AntMan1
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: LoveChina61]
      #5630325 - 01/18/13 05:54 PM

You know at one point not to long ago I would have been upset at such a move but not any more. If it helps Meade survive, then let it be. Just do something like i said in the first post someone need a kick in the *BLEEP*!

Just out of curiosity what is it about China that would see them to prosperity? The cost of labor? Taxes? more?


Quote:

Meade needs to come to China. They can sell themselves off to the highest bidder like Celestron did, or they can bring the company over here themselves and set up a wholly-foreign owned enterprise (WFOE). They will need to trim down quick and focus on the products which have the best chance of success in the long run. But they need to do it quick!

Maybe it will turn out to be for the best like it has been for Celestron. Celestron owners must feel happy knowing that their company and its products will be around for at least another 20 years.

Welcome to China, Meade!

Mike

Meade LX200 8" Classic
LX200 10" Classics (two of them)
Meade 14" GPS
Celestron - none




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*skyguy*
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: AntMan1]
      #5630621 - 01/18/13 09:29 PM

Quote:



Just out of curiosity what is it about China that would see them to prosperity? The cost of labor? Taxes? more?





...no human rights, no labor rights, no pollution standards. Westerners aren't even allowed to visit the large inland manufacturing cities.


Edited by Chris Erickson (01/18/13 09:34 PM)


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AntMan1
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: *skyguy*]
      #5630740 - 01/18/13 10:42 PM

Sad & True. Yet we are there #1 consumer so what does that say about us.....

...no human rights, no labor rights, no pollution standards. Westerners aren't even allowed to visit the large inland manufacturing cities.





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rcdk
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: *skyguy*]
      #5630865 - 01/19/13 12:13 AM

There is a huge cultural difference too. They have a much stronger work ethic. The US used to -- but not anymore.

I work with very talented people who will turn out junk if you let them. They are lazy and their life's motto boils down to "that's not my problem." Others often have less talent, but I don't have worry nearly as much that they will hand me a piece of junk that sort of works...sometimes. Usually the ones I can count on did not grow up here.

We shrug off failure and move on. Failure has real consequences in other cultures. Hunger instills a powerful work ethic. The most useless people I have had to deal with generally tended to be obese. They couldn't keep a job, but that didn't impinge on their diet one bit.


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: rcdk]
      #5630889 - 01/19/13 12:29 AM

Okay people, the topic is Meade, not China...

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5631577 - 01/19/13 01:26 PM

Many thoughts on my end, as I have been using Meade products since I was a young teen in the 1970's. I even have one of the original LX200's that is going strong to this day (I am putting it to use tonight in fact). And yes, I am very interested in purchasing the LX850...if it ever comes out.

My quick reactions (wishing not to write an essay here):
-- I wish I could buy the company and take it private. Then go "Steve Jobs" on the business.
-- I would in the interim build the scopes in Mexico, but likely move it to my base in New Mexico. Maybe the "Built in America" concept would help. Certainly cheaper building a telescope here than in California or many other states.
-- Work closely with the Amateur community.
-- Create a PROFITABLE entry level scope that would capture the imagination of the budding amateur astronomer. Yes, a Tasco 60 mm scope was my first, but I dreamed of getting that RV-6 Criterion reflector. I wished and wished and wished and when I was 14 years old I got it. Not as a birthday or christmas gift, but purchased so I can grow as a young scientist. Now? I design satellites - and I am still active in the hobby. Meade needs a product like this.

I have some other ideas, but these are the starters. I am a successful entrepreneur and I am confident I can pull this off. The question is - how to get skin in the game.

Andrew


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5631752 - 01/19/13 03:25 PM

David (Bicparker) said in post #5629289 - "the 2012 telescope market total was estimated by one analyst to be around $127 million, compared to over $200 million in 2002"

That's about a 37% drop in one decade and that is deeply-troubling to me.

For all astronomy-related companies, the future looks very uncertain indeed.

I would love to see Meade come out with a minimal-plastic, CNC-machined aluminum, rock-solid, lightweight, mid-range, highly-portable GOTO scope mount with an ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber wheeled travel case that can be easily-checked as luggage on commercial airlines and the whole kit, with travel case, under 50 pounds. Maybe the LX-80 comes close in this category but I haven't touched one yet to know.

Include some GREAT manuals and GREAT How-to videos with every scope and mount. Not the lame, monochrome, monotone pamphlets they include now. Since duplication costs are the same, putting a lot more effort into the quality of the content is only a single-time expense! And a full-color, interactive manual in PDF format on the included DVD doesn't require color printing! It should have everything required to get a neophyte from "finding the Moon" to doing a successful GOTO mount alignment. I believe the correct path is not with more fancy, complicated electronics (that often don't work right) but instead in creating a fun, colorful, interactive path of discovery for the new scope user and their family. After all, that is exactly why they bought the scope in the first place. The "journey into discovery" is the real product. The telescope in the same box is only an accessory to that end.

Make scope accessories and spare parts your REAL profit center. That is what all of the automotive and appliance manufacturers do and it seems to work out well for them. I believe selling spare parts would also be a big PR-boon with serious amateurs. Being reluctant to sell spare parts is the single biggest rant I read every day on dozens of Meade forums. Meade needs those people as their extended sales force. Not likely to happen when so many of them are angry at Meade.

Give up on dealer networks and go direct. Dealer networks are the past. Make every customer purchase just a couple of painless, impulsive mouse-clicks away. Make no distinctions between people in the USA and those anywhere else. Sell to everyone you can, within the bounds of whatever trade restrictions exist around the world.

Offer customer support via email, web page, company forums and phone. Make it super-easy for every support contact to turn into a parts or accessory sale. Get out of the past before you become part of it.

And one thing I learned many-years ago about creating a successful business. Unless its illegal, never say NO to a customer. Just cheerfully negotiate a mutually-acceptable price.

Just my $.000000002


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AntMan1
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5631800 - 01/19/13 03:55 PM

So many great ideas from you guys that seem like no-brainers! Why don't they do any of them? If i were in there position i would be looking everywhere for inspiration & a way forward.

Spacetravelerx "Andrew" , Chris Erickson & David "bicparker" Buy MEADE!

I could only imagine what you three could do with all your knowledge.


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: AntMan1]
      #5631923 - 01/19/13 05:36 PM

Quote:

So many great ideas from you guys that seem like no-brainers! Why don't they do any of them? If i were in there position i would be looking everywhere for inspiration & a way forward.

Spacetravelerx "Andrew" , Chris Erickson & David "bicparker" Buy MEADE!

I could only imagine what you three could do with all your knowledge.




Of course it is easy to armchair quarterback Meade's business operations. We aren't aware of all of the challenges they certainly face behind the scenes.

For ten years I worked for a large phone/CATV/ISP/WISP/Satellite/Undersea-Fiber company up in Alaska and most of our customers thought of us as a large, tyrannical monopoly that was greedily picking their pockets at every opportunity. They never had any idea how complicated our products were on the back side. And they would never have believed how many countless hours we spent worrying about their happiness and customer-retention in a fiercely-competitive market.


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GSO
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5632142 - 01/19/13 07:55 PM

Quote:

.... Make scope accessories and spare parts your REAL profit center. That is what all of the automotive and appliance manufacturers do and it seems to work out well for them. I believe selling spare parts would also be a big PR-boon with serious amateurs. Being reluctant to sell spare parts is the single biggest rant I read every day on dozens of Meade forums. Meade needs those people as their extended sales force. Not likely to happen when so many of them are angry at Meade.

Give up on dealer networks and go direct. Dealer networks are the past. Make every customer purchase just a couple of painless, impulsive mouse-clicks away. Make no distinctions between people in the USA and those anywhere else. Sell to everyone you can, within the bounds of whatever trade restrictions exist around the world.

Offer customer support via email, web page, company forums and phone. Make it super-easy for every support contact to turn into a parts or accessory sale.
....
Just my $.000000002



Great! I've bought Meade scopes and accessories since 1988 !! (8"SCT)
and 2006 (12" SCT)....
Would love to throw down for a 16' LX600 but the Silence from Meade is not encouraging ....


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: GSO]
      #5632216 - 01/19/13 09:06 PM

Quote:

Great! I've bought Meade scopes and accessories since 1988 !! (8"SCT) and 2006 (12" SCT)....
Would love to throw down for a 16' LX600 but the Silence from Meade is not encouraging ....




I don't think Meade is trying to be silent. However I worry that they are mostly-shouting in all the wrong places.

My LX200GPS-16 is quite a beast to move around but I love it. I had an observatory for it in Alaska but use it as a portable scope here in Hawaii. However I am sorely-tempted to make another observatory for it in the back of my driveway. Accordingly, I would suggest considering a used LX200GPS-16 in CN Classifieds or Astromart. The going price seems to be about $7500 to $8500 and they are a steal at that price.

It is the MAX-20ACF that I find really-tempting these days...


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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: AntMan1]
      #5632333 - 01/19/13 10:19 PM

Quote:

So many great ideas from you guys that seem like no-brainers! Why don't they do any of them? If i were in there position i would be looking everywhere for inspiration & a way forward.

Spacetravelerx "Andrew" , Chris Erickson & David "bicparker" Buy MEADE!

I could only imagine what you three could do with all your knowledge.




Anthony,
Thanks for the encouragement, but I cast myself a long time ago as someone in the camp who thought Meade should just liquidate (when their book value started to double their market cap). And this is not an emotional decision here. It is great to feel hung-ho about a brand and its products, but that doesn't pay the bills (this is going to sound like a "Greed is good" diatribe).

Truthfully, I admired a lot of things that Steve Jobs did, but one thing that he managed that I admired best in his 2nd run at Apple was not to keep a product in the pipeline that lost any money. Even Apple TV and the Mac Mini's made money at their lower volumes of sales. On the other hand, Apple dropped a lot of things very quickly that didn't earn a profit.

So, I don't mean to sound cold, but this is a pretty straightforward capital budgeting problem and the math results are not promising for an investment. And someone already tried a re-investment solution for the past few years and it didn't work.

My reasoning for liquidation and not an investment back then is the same as now (actually, even more so). So here is a bit of my reasoning and the numbers behind it:

1) The amount required to buy them out, take private, and take the debt down to a manageable level would be some number over $5 million (not including $6 to 10 million replacement costs noted below).
2) My required equity return on $5 million, even at a number well below venture cap rates (which go up to 65%), would be about 20% (before taxes) just to make it simple. A lot of others would require much more. I'm just making using this as to what a generous example would look like.
3) So we need a $1 million net income amount.
4) Based upon their current 3rd quarter numbers, their gross profit is only $1.7 million before Selling and G&A expenses. Meade's gross sales have basically dipped below their fixed cost line (which was probably around $15 million at their current relevant volume range).
5) The sales increase necessary to recover above their fixed and variable cost structure will need to be around $12-15 million. That is almost double their inventory turnover pipeline for the year.
6) Their manufacturing equipment is almost completely depreciated and needs to be replaced, which will require another $6 to 10 million.
7) After slashing Selling and G&A expenses by about a 3rd, they are losing $2.7 million, which makes them with nearly $4 million to make up in order to make the required return, plus another $3 to cover return on replacement costs, for a total of $7 million.
8) Meade's product lines and business model is in a shrinking market.
9) On the other hand, they could liquidate assets and probably (if this is managed correctly) clear around $1 million which will give the common shareholders around $0.50 on the dollar at the current market price (which is far more than they would recover in a business failure or chapter 11.
10) A liquidation would also give a reasonable chance for Coronado to continue as a separate going concern given the right investor steps in for them.

The math here just doesn't make sense for an investment. There are other factors also piling on right now. If you look at some of the sub-schedules in their SEC filings, you can see that their supply chain numbers are out of whack and their warranty and return expenses are high. This does not bode well against future income since those are past expenses that they will still be recognizing while trying to recover their current losses.

A liquidation, however, would give a chance for the brands (Meade and Coronado) to at least continue. Perhaps they will be a bit different, but changes are afoot anyway.

This may somehow still turnaround or magically change in a way that none of us could predict or anticipate. But this is my own thinking and logic behind it.


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rcdk
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: bicparker]
      #5632495 - 01/20/13 12:27 AM

How would that work? Would that mean that Meade the company would no longer exist, but some form of the Meade/Coronado brands/products get marketed by someone else?

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astro_baby
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: rcdk]
      #5632895 - 01/20/13 10:19 AM

David, oddly I made a similar post on another forum. In a past life I used to work for an official receiver/liquidator and at one time was taken on by an electronic company to turn it round. I did succeed but we werent in the same pace as Meade. We had dud inventory and no customers but we did have cash in hand. It was brutal and meant sacking lots of people to get costs under control before the money ran out.

I cant say I have read Meades SEC filing as well as you have but I did read it and I was playing mind games in my head of how you might turn it all round. I agree with you, the inventory, bad debt and supply chain coupled with the lack of ready cash seems to be a perfect storm. The only way I could see out would be liquidation and acquisition by someone else.

I cant see how you would solve any of the problems without spending more cash than they seem to have available.

I cant see how you would sort the inventory without using up even more cash or how you solve the dealer issues. I happen to know a dealer who has a stockroom full of busted Meade gear in the UK and whose view on it is he wont touch Meade again. There must be others like him. How do you get those guys back on board is another big headache. How do you get them back on board without spending any cash seems to me impossible.

Meade have been 'about to go bust' a long time and rumours of their death have been exagerrated. But it does look bad for them right now. Personally I hope they pull out of it.

Something else that causes me to be nervous by proxy is what happens to dealers. Some of these guys will get hit with warranty returns and if Meade arent around to repair/replace then the dealer is going to have to cough up the cash. Given the narrow margins in astro Meade going down might well cause some dealers to go with them.

My interest, purely academic really. I used to get involved in company liquidations and turn rounds.

I dont know the US regs on SEC bu I do lnow the UK ones and theres a lot that can be left out of a filing in the UK and books can be painted one way or another based on the skill of the accountant and what the management want to portray.

I always watch companies and occasionally invest in a small way. I am hoping Meade will turn round...i will certainly be intested how they do ir.


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ken svp120
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5633106 - 01/20/13 12:26 PM

Quote:

...Something else that causes me to be nervous by proxy is what happens to dealers. Some of these guys will get hit with warranty returns and if Meade arent around to repair/replace then the dealer is going to have to cough up the cash. Given the narrow margins in astro Meade going down might well cause some dealers to go with them...




Just a question here. If Meade were no longer in business would that not simply void all warranties? Or is it in fact the case that if Meade ceased operations then dealers would still be required to honor existing warranties?


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astro_baby
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: ken svp120]
      #5633366 - 01/20/13 02:50 PM

Well its probably different in the US. Here in the UK we have the 'Sale of Goods Act' basically it says ...

1/ Your contract is with your shop - so the shop you buy from is responsible if things dont work out - they cant opt out by saying 'well the manufacturer let us down etc'

2/ Goods must be of reasonable quality, must work as advertised and must be of reasonable durability.
So if you buy a paper cup the durability test is differnt from if you bought for instance a car.

The bottom line is if you bought a Meade scope from ABC Astro Shop and the scope breaks down the shop carries the responsibility for putting things right. Obviously if the manufacturer has gone bust the only thing the shop can do is hand you back your money. But that means a dealer takes in a scope he cant resell and hands the cash back - its the same situation as if the dealer just ordered up a dead scope and paid money for it.

This kind of law is very common in Europe so if a manufacturer goes down its not entirely unknown that the retail chain selling it goes bust as well.


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dale67cameron
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5633861 - 01/20/13 08:07 PM

I hope Meade finds a way to survive. I have several of their ota's and have been impressed with the optics on the lx200 series. I hope they are still around someday when I am ready to move up to that 16" lx200.

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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: rcdk]
      #5634082 - 01/20/13 10:43 PM

Quote:

How would that work? Would that mean that Meade the company would no longer exist, but some form of the Meade/Coronado brands/products get marketed by someone else?




Basically, yes. Brands, trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual and intangible property (such as trade secret manufacturing methods, designs, etc.) can be bought and sold. And it is being done more often than most people realize.

Hostess is a very good and prominent current example of where something like this is happening now, liquidating its brands and lines such as Twinkies and such. But there are many others. Bushnell, for instance, has gone through several ownerships and itself, as a company, has owned and traded several different brands and brand licenses (including Simmons, which it acquired from Meade). It also bought Tasco, which has really been just used as another brand (among many that it owns). Trane HVAC systems sell at least two different known brands of A/C units that come off of the same assembly line, but are made slightly differently and have a different brand stamp put on at the end.

Obviously, this usually ends up where the brand name becomes a commodity and often loses their quality associations. On the other hand, if a company like Bushnell's parent purchased the Meade brand, they may use it as a premium branding and even continue some of the Meade products where it makes sense (and for which they have manufacturing capabilities).


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akulapanam
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: bicparker]
      #5634121 - 01/20/13 11:08 PM

As someone who recently purchased a scope I can tell you that I evaluated Meade. The financial situation of Meade and fact that Celestron was less expensive for the same quality of equipment definitely entered the equation. Celestron also had the all star polar align which I view as a big plus.

StarLock technology is really cool but it seems like the LX600 and LX850 are overpriced. I can pick up a AT72 and Orion AutoGuider or Lodestar and a ATRC, Celestron, or Orion IN and still be less and have another widefield scope option.

I do worry that if Meade goes out of business we are going to see a large price jump from Celestron. The competition between Meade and Celestron seems to keep the prices down on scopes up to 14". Celestron doesn't produce a 16" scope and there almost a $10,000 jump for those last 2" of mirror.

I also worry that we will see innovation stop. Current scopes and mounts really don't even utilize near the computer technology the could and probably should.


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ken svp120
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5635504 - 01/21/13 06:34 PM

Quote:

Well its probably different in the US. Here in the UK we have the 'Sale of Goods Act' basically it says ...

1/ Your contract is with your shop - so the shop you buy from is responsible if things dont work out - they cant opt out by saying 'well the manufacturer let us down etc'

2/ Goods must be of reasonable quality, must work as advertised and must be of reasonable durability.
So if you buy a paper cup the durability test is differnt from if you bought for instance a car.

The bottom line is if you bought a Meade scope from ABC Astro Shop and the scope breaks down the shop carries the responsibility for putting things right. Obviously if the manufacturer has gone bust the only thing the shop can do is hand you back your money. But that means a dealer takes in a scope he cant resell and hands the cash back - its the same situation as if the dealer just ordered up a dead scope and paid money for it.

This kind of law is very common in Europe so if a manufacturer goes down its not entirely unknown that the retail chain selling it goes bust as well.




Can anyone tell me if its the same here state-side? Would US retailers have to honor the warranties even if Meade were no longer around or would they not have to?


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: ken svp120]
      #5635524 - 01/21/13 06:47 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Well its probably different in the US. Here in the UK we have the 'Sale of Goods Act' basically it says ...

1/ Your contract is with your shop - so the shop you buy from is responsible if things dont work out - they cant opt out by saying 'well the manufacturer let us down etc'

2/ Goods must be of reasonable quality, must work as advertised and must be of reasonable durability.
So if you buy a paper cup the durability test is differnt from if you bought for instance a car.

The bottom line is if you bought a Meade scope from ABC Astro Shop and the scope breaks down the shop carries the responsibility for putting things right. Obviously if the manufacturer has gone bust the only thing the shop can do is hand you back your money. But that means a dealer takes in a scope he cant resell and hands the cash back - its the same situation as if the dealer just ordered up a dead scope and paid money for it.

This kind of law is very common in Europe so if a manufacturer goes down its not entirely unknown that the retail chain selling it goes bust as well.




Can anyone tell me if its the same here state-side? Would US retailers have to honor the warranties even if Meade were no longer around or would they not have to?




I suspect that this varies state-by-state and in general, dealers are not involved in manufacturer's warranties. There may be various responsibilities and remedies that exist in each state for purchased goods within that state.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: ken svp120]
      #5635561 - 01/21/13 07:15 PM

Ken et. al.

Based on my conversations with a dealer (and I am NOT a legal expert on this), the dealer would have to honor it. Hence why two customers are holding back $600k in accounts receivable - if Meade goes belly up they need that money to service scopes and handle returns. Of course this fuels the death spiral for Meade, sadly.

I have been a backer of Meade since they were founded, and I do hope they get back on track some how, some way. I am holding out for the 14" LX850, though it has been recommended I now consider the CGE Pro HD (which looks like a nice kit). In the mean time I am purchasing other Meade products - all the add ons for my LX200 Classic which works wonderfully to this day and for tonight's Jupiter-Moon event. Hopefully, purchasing eye pieces and such will help a little for Meade. And maybe, just maybe I can get the LX850...

-- Andrew


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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5635569 - 01/21/13 07:18 PM

I don't know the specific laws here, but i think that this is why you often see manufacturer's warranties quoted with purchases here in the USA, which are differentiated from any other protection plan that may be sold by the retailer. I don't think that a consumer would generally have recourse through the retailer, unless the retailer misrepresented the warranty, of course. Then you could have a deceptive trade act situation.

One thing that is generally certain, most of this would fall under state law except where there would be FTC considerations.

There are lots of good sold here in the USA that were manufactured by defunct companies and I don't know of any comparative law in the USA to what was quoted by AB as being in the UK. The only thing close is where there are product liabilities and someone gets maimed or killed by a telescope. That is one of those warranties you cannot disclaim. Then the whole chain of distribution and sale can be held liable.


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astro_baby
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: ken svp120]
      #5636150 - 01/22/13 02:30 AM

Chris, why do you think the evaluation is that the astro market is sheinking. Everything I see in the UK, Europe and on ebay suggests more people buying. I am curious is all.

Is that the cost of kit has dropped so much ? Ie mote units sold but at lower prices or is it a general malaise where the oerception is the market is growing but its just a false perception.


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astro_baby
scholastic sledgehammer


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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5636153 - 01/22/13 02:34 AM

Hmmm ounds like US dealers might have a measure of protection then. European dealers might get hit but I cant think of many dealers who are massively reliant on Meade at least in the UK so they might also be well enough insulated.

I guess at the end of the day its the nature of capitalism that companies grow, thrive and die. Very few companies last even a human lifetime. In some ways they live,, they die and death not ends it because their products are built on by other companies.


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5636171 - 01/22/13 03:06 AM

Quote:

Chris, why do you think the evaluation is that the astro market is sheinking. Everything I see in the UK, Europe and on ebay suggests more people buying. I am curious is all.

Is that the cost of kit has dropped so much ? Ie mote units sold but at lower prices or is it a general malaise where the oerception is the market is growing but its just a false perception.




I have seen this observation stated in numerous places. Basically the average amateur astronomer is now 55 or older, young people are more interested in electronic gadgets that give instant gratification and in general, the science and engineering scores in Western countries have been dropping steadily for about 40 years.

Sad.


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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5636442 - 01/22/13 09:08 AM

There are also some business market analyses done measuring the total monies spent... they are lower, especially in the USA, but this is a bit of a worldwide phenomenon, too.

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MDavid
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5636800 - 01/22/13 12:31 PM

Quote:

Many thoughts on my end, as I have been using Meade products since I was a young teen in the 1970's. I even have one of the original LX200's that is going strong to this day (I am putting it to use tonight in fact). ...
Andrew




My first scope was a Meade 60mm AZ which I bought in Denver Colorado from Hobby Lobby (~$60) on our way to Yellowstone National Park for a family vacation. We had fun looking at the Moon from our Madison Campground campsite after an evening of hearing about the history of Yellowstone in their Amphitheater. It amazed us how fast the “Moon kept moving”. Eventually, on a clear March evening, we saw Saturn through that scope from my backyard (a white zone, although, I didn’t know it at the time). There tends to be a general disdain for the "department store" scopes but that 60mm Meade was my family's first look at many familiar celestial objects. Who knows, maybe that’s why I eventually chose Meade over Celestron for our 8” CAT (which is awesome). I know my nostalgia isn’t going to fix a broken business, but I like seeing I’m not alone in the hope that they find a way to get back on their feet.


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astro_baby
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/17/08

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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: MDavid]
      #5637233 - 01/22/13 04:07 PM

Perhaps the UK is the exception then, every few. Onths the BBC runs a program called Stargazing Live, basically its about two hours worth on the main BBC channel.

Everytime they run this the UK scope mafket appears to go ballistic. Last year there was such a huge uplift that stocks of just about anything astro related were exhausted in most dealers after about a week !!!

They just ran it again here in the UK and there seems to be a groundswell abain of new scope owners.

Its strange though that the market is declining. We have an older population and older people usually have money to spare, kids left home etc. that was the case with me. Once my kids were grown up I could re indulge myself in the hobby.

Ah well. I suppose we will have to wait and see. Maybe Meade will sell, spmeone will fix the QC issues and I may yet have a scope with a Meade logo on it.


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AntMan1
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5637524 - 01/22/13 06:42 PM

Does not make sense. Why would the amateur astronomer be over 55? Especially after all the latest missions to mars, all the new space telescopes even the older ones like Hubble, gave us views never possible before! Now Kepler finding new planets all the time?

You would think the opposite would be true? On top of that all the goto scopes? Meade's Audiostar giving us a verbal history and the LS giving us a verbal and video history is unimaginable a decade ago. Does not make any sense to me?

Is it because we never went back to the moon or further with maned space flight? If this is the trend we can kiss our hobby goodbye in 50 years.

PS: New app from Meade looks great on my ipod touch!

http://www.meade.com/skykey

Edited by AntMan1 (01/22/13 07:38 PM)


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rcdk
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: AntMan1]
      #5637871 - 01/22/13 10:16 PM

I think any hobby/pastime that requires effort and planning is waning -- one example I am familiar with is RC airplanes.

It is doing a little better because the newer products require a lot less effort and planning.

Television and gaming don't require much effort.


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: rcdk]
      #5637912 - 01/22/13 10:39 PM

Ham radio, scouting, model railroading and hobby machining have all been shrinking too.

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5638133 - 01/23/13 12:59 AM

Christopher - you are also hitting all my interests, lol.

But yes, interest is waning. Some of the complaints - can't see much (light pollution), too much effort with the telescope (though the Meade GOTO is WAY easier than star hopping years ago), need an expensive telescope to see anything cool - other wise they can see everything on the internet. Nothing thrilling there really to see, though when I show them Saturn, Jupiter, et. al. it still gets them excited. Of course after I set up the telescope.

I do let the kids use the LX200 on Scout outings (yes, I supervise) and they have a ball looking up items, using the GOTO function and viewing. Fascinating to watch. Unfortunately this is their minimum level of expectation - not the maximum. I love my little ETX-125, but it does not garner the same interest level. The level of interest by young people is very different (or the lack there of) since when I was a youngin'. Heck, at some astronomy events I feel like the young guy!

Without knowing all the details, Meade is being hit with a perfect whirlwind of a disaster - bad management (my guess), recent QA issues, down/struggling economy, waning interest in Astronomy, the lack of patience, light pollution, etc. Can Meade be re-invented? I think so, but it really will take a new approach on many levels, which is whole other topic.

BTW - model railroading? My kids (and their friends) love when I build fancy sets - they just want the end product; they don't want to build it.

Time to stop rambling, and back to astrophotography and stargazing in the New Mexico high desert. I will even test this new Meade 2x Barlow I just got from Astronomics (trying to help, trying to help!).

-- Andrew


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astro_baby
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5639024 - 01/23/13 02:36 PM

There was a report today in the UK that vandalism and graffitti is down as well....takes too much effort and why bother when you can go on twitter and facebook or play angry birds.

Maybe therein lies the problem.


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wirebender
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5641315 - 01/24/13 07:33 PM

Interesting.....just got a e-mail from Meade.
Selling some stuff...they are.
Got a couple of those atomic clocks.
This part of their problem, or a reaction to their problem, or...are they selling off stuff...???


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jgraham
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: wirebender]
      #5641614 - 01/24/13 10:05 PM

Probably dumping stock. I bought a spotting scope for my daughter and an RGB filter set for me. $29.99 for 4 interference filters is crazy nice!

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Tophat3
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: ken svp120]
      #5641844 - 01/25/13 01:31 AM

Make scope accessories and spare parts your REAL profit center. That is what all of the automotive and appliance manufacturers do and it seems to work out well for them. I believe selling spare parts would also be a big PR-boon with serious amateurs. Being reluctant to sell spare parts is the single biggest rant I read every day on dozens of Meade forums. Meade needs those people as their extended sales force. Not likely to happen when so many of them are angry at Meade.

Thank You Chris!!! Exactly!! Sell us the freakin parts!!
Enough of the "Only we (MEADE) can fix your scope.)

I know they are not the only company that does this,but if they were to do as you suggest,think of the turn around that could happen with this company.

I own a LX50 and that was the last scope I have purchased from them because my mount went down 1 year and 3 months after purchase and I was unwilling to send it back to them and lose the use of it for a undetermined amout of time.

Break some new ground here fellows and offer REAL custermer service and parts and as far as I am concerned they have me back as well as hundreds of other folks. Thank You again Chris,that struck a chord with me and I think you hit the nail right on the head.


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Joad
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Tophat3]
      #5642599 - 01/25/13 01:29 PM

While I personally think that it is too late to save Meade (we began discussing Meade's troubles several years ago on this forum—at the time that Meade's stock price dropped to under 25 cents per share and even a twenty-to-one reverse stock split could not reverse the decline), I also think that the comments here with regard to the offering of spare parts are quite correct. Meade has been badly damaged by a series of sophisticated scopes (beginning with the RCX line) that stopped working and required shipping back to Meade for repair. That is a very onerous process, and given the do-it-yourself proclivities of amateur astronomers, simply providing the parts might have saved Meade a lot of trouble. This would be especially profitable as a market opportunity aimed at owners of out-of-warranty scopes. But as we all know, Meade never adopted such a policy. That is how companies fail.

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Pak
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Joad]
      #5644195 - 01/26/13 11:08 AM

I feel really bad for whoever bought one of the LX8XX's, returned it under the recall and may never see them again nor their money back. How does one recover from a 5-10,000$ loss?
Is there any remedy for the consumer in that case?


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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Pak]
      #5644322 - 01/26/13 12:32 PM

Quote:

I feel really bad for whoever bought one of the LX8XX's, returned it under the recall and may never see them again nor their money back. How does one recover from a 5-10,000$ loss?
Is there any remedy for the consumer in that case?




It all depends up what happens next with Meade. Right now, nothing has changed. If Meade has any telescopes that are still being fixed, then that is just the normal course of business. Meade is still in business and their current standing is only impaired by the management and financial disclosures in their quarterly filing. There is no legal process underway, nor is there any notification of one at this point.

As a side note, if I was a person is such a situation, I would be taking some pretty strong steps at this point to (quickly) either get my scope back in working condition or get a refund. When management makes the statements they made, that does not fill me with confidence.

If something legally happens with their financial standing (such as a slew of major judgements/liens, calling of a note, filing for bankruptcy, etc.), that is when the landscape changes. Then the telescope owners will have to take steps to ensure that their assets (their telescopes) are not inadvertently included in the Meade's assets under claim. Separately, and this would be for bankruptcy situations in particular, they will have to ensure (through some filing with the court) their warranty claim remains included in any list of claims and liabilities against Meade.

Right now, though, it is the normal course of business.


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StarTeacher
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: meade4ever]
      #5680459 - 02/15/13 12:01 AM

Their cash position ($ in the bank) at the end of November was $300K, down from $3.9 Million just 9 months earlier. This is very sad, indeed. When Celestron was having its financial difficulty, they were bought by a CHinese concern, and the company seems to be doing OK now. Maybe there's a white knight out there for Meade too. IMHO, competition is good for the industry, and I hope that there will be two major competitors in the market (like Celestron & Meade) for a long time to come.

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: StarTeacher]
      #5680969 - 02/15/13 09:30 AM

Well there may be some hope still. Meade is NOW shipping the LX850 (I will be getting the 14" model), and they have been shipping other products. I have been ordering weekly from Meade and have received everything I ordered on a very timely basis.

I do think there is significant pent up demand for the LX600 and LX850. Once these are shipping, there will be a significant jolt of cash. Not massive loads, but enough to maybe right this ship. Hopefully, they have a workable business plan for this year and the future.

-- Andrew


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Starman27Moderator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5681862 - 02/15/13 04:08 PM

When a company is purchased by another company they no longer exist as an independent company. The brand name exists, but not the company.

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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Starman27]
      #5682048 - 02/15/13 05:42 PM

Quote:

When a company is purchased by another company they no longer exist as an independent company. The brand name exists, but not the company.




However depending on the new owner, they might go hands-off (like Synta did with Celestron) or full hands-on, like what happened to Bushnell.

Time will tell how this all plays out!


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5683641 - 02/16/13 02:29 PM

Quote:

Well its probably different in the US. Here in the UK we have the 'Sale of Goods Act' basically it says ...

1/ Your contract is with your shop - so the shop you buy from is responsible if things dont work out - they cant opt out by saying 'well the manufacturer let us down etc'

2/ Goods must be of reasonable quality, must work as advertised and must be of reasonable durability.
So if you buy a paper cup the durability test is differnt from if you bought for instance a car.

The bottom line is if you bought a Meade scope from ABC Astro Shop and the scope breaks down the shop carries the responsibility for putting things right. Obviously if the manufacturer has gone bust the only thing the shop can do is hand you back your money. But that means a dealer takes in a scope he cant resell and hands the cash back - its the same situation as if the dealer just ordered up a dead scope and paid money for it.

This kind of law is very common in Europe so if a manufacturer goes down its not entirely unknown that the retail chain selling it goes bust as well.




It's different, but it does exist. All US states have what are known as "Implied Warranty" laws. In a nutshell they say that if a product fails within a "reasonable" time period, the RETAILER is responsible to assist the customer if the customer cannot find relief with the manufacturer. The terms for most are quite broad. For example the time period for most is determined by the item and the price. You have to answer the question "How long would you expect an item that cost x amount to last (in years)? It doesn't matter if the mfg warranty is only 90 days. If you buy a $200 alarm clock, you should have a reasonable expectation that it will last at least three years.

Retailers do NOT advertise these remedies, but they WILL honor them when push comes to shove. Just mention "Implied Warranty" to the manager and they will most likely replace your faulty product or give you credit for another one. If they are unaware of the law or a small business they might need some "legal convincing" so it's up to the consumer to pick their battles.

Keep in mind, these laws kick in only after you become unsatisfied with the manufacturers response (or lack of) to your issue. They are very broad (giving the leverage to the customer) and details differ from state to state.

So yes, once again, the retailer is left holding the bag when the mfg goes bad. And yes, the customer is ALWAYS right.


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cn register 5
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5683896 - 02/16/13 05:09 PM

The difference seems to be that in the UK the manufacturer isn't involved at all. The customer's contract is with the seller and it's up to them to deal with the manufacturer.

Chris


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5684320 - 02/16/13 09:50 PM

Quote:

The difference seems to be that in the UK the manufacturer isn't involved at all. The customer's contract is with the seller and it's up to them to deal with the manufacturer.

Chris




A better way to go IMHO.


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Bob Griffiths
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5684911 - 02/17/13 10:32 AM

Quote:

Quote:

The difference seems to be that in the UK the manufacturer isn't involved at all. The customer's contract is with the seller and it's up to them to deal with the manufacturer.

Chris




A better way to go IMHO.




AS A retired RETAILER....If the manufacturer does not back up "MY CLAIM" for a product I replaced for a customer I simply no longer sell his product...

I have a funny Feeling any retailer in the UK does the same... NO retailer is going (or can even afford) to eat a defective product period.

In practice the US system works pretty well as the Retailer knows he always has recourse back to the manufacturer so his objective is to keep his customer happy so he will walk in the door tomorrow or next week...(believe me keeping a customer happy is not easy all the time)

BUT for the manufacturer keeping his suppliers happy is just as important..

The Manufacturer either keeps his supplier happy or the manufacturer ends up with one less account.. You can also believe me that word spreads thru the suppliers grape vine faster then lightning..

Bob G.


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astro_baby
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Bob Griffiths]
      #5685358 - 02/17/13 02:43 PM

In the UK the sale of goods act only governs sales to end users. If you walk into ABC telescope shop and buy a telescope the contract is bewteen you and the retailer and if the scope breaks down its the retailer who takes the hit UNLESS the manufacturer will back him up.

In a business to business transaction in the UK, ie between a retailer and distributor/manufacturer whateveris in the contract is what you get UNLESS you can demonstrateits an unfair contract ( we have unfair contract rules in the UK as well ) Years ago I had a biff up in a B2B case where a manufacturer had a clause in their contract that said 'its up to us if we supply the goods you ordered but your liable whether we supply or not' i went to court over it when they took the cash but failed to supply and, predictably, the judge ruled the contract unfair and made them pay the money back plus damages and costs. Just goes to show though how it works.

In reality a dealer who got no support from a manufacturer would probably ditch the manufacturer quite quick. Where it gets sticky is if the manufacturer has been good but suddenly goes bust leaving warranty issues behind, the retailer then had to take the hit as theres no manufacturer to back him up. This HAS happened at times and whole businesses can be wiped out by it.

Dealers in the UK on almost any products wont deal with unreliable kit suppliers because they are in the front line when the pooh hits the fan. The sale of goods act in the Uk has cleaned up a lot of shoddy retailers and suppliers. Back in the day every transaction was a case by case court deal. I femember as a child my dad buying a new car which constantly broke down...the dealer wouldnt or couldnt help and the manufacturer didnt care. It took months in court for dad to getthe cash back and even then not all of it because the court ruled he had had the use of the car, even though it had spent most of the time off the road broken down. As an aside another angry customer of the same manufacturer bought a house next to their factory and painted a massive monologue on his fence about the poor service he had received and put thecar on a plinth in his front garden with notice boards around the place telling people what a lemon it was. The manufacturer tried all sorts of stuff go get it moved, planning laws etc but after about gwo years they gave up and offered him his money back. The guy said no....not interested now I just want you to suffer the loss of sales and have some of ghe hurt back. He was quite a celeb and of course itmade it go all the papers.These days in the UK the dealerwould fix it sharpish by handing back the cash or swapping the car because they would know they will have to, if they wont they are in breach and if it goes legal they could take worse hit because judges in the UK dont tend to like court time being used for this stuff and generally back a consumer againts a corporation......retailers who mess about know this and know that if it does make it to court the judge can whack on charges, damages etc and the cost can run a lot higher. I went through the process a few years ago after a PC died and the dealer wouldnt budge. Went to court, took 30 minutes and the judge ordered them to hand the cash back plus 3k of costs and damages. Pretty expensive over a sub 1k PC. Manufacturers know as well thats the game these days so product reliability has improved and the days of shoddy retailers selling shoddy goods its pretty much over.

Its good for the consumer and ultimately its been good for businesses as well as its forced them to up their game. There was a time in the UKwhere a lot of UK made stuff was frankly embarrasing and if you bought anything you could almost expect problems. Its totally different these days and problems are more of an exception and almost any store would take the goods back with no arguments.

My concern was in the case where MEADE go bust a lot lf dealers cluldbe left in the lurch. At the moment with what seems a lot of jnreliable hardware out there dealers might be very vulnerable if MEADE took a dive.

I am hoping they wont but in truth hoping someone buys them and fixes the quality issues because one day I would truly like to own a MEaDE scope
Ike an LX200.i have the cash now, could buy but I wont because of the unreliability issues that seem go pervade the company.


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Bob Griffiths]
      #5685359 - 02/17/13 02:44 PM

It would be nice if it still worked like that Bob. But I liken it to the "tail wagging the dog" these days. Many MFG's make the rules for the retailer now. Telling them what (and how much) they can buy, what they HAVE to buy and how much they can charge. A good example is the Gibson guitar company. They barely batted an eye when we dropped their product from our chain of music stores because we were fed up with all the restrictions and lack of margin. It made the trade news, and many independant retailers agreed with our move and supported our position. However very few follwed suit. Afraid to anger the mighty giants and loose their dealerships.

This model reduces the availability of the product and in the end, the customer is the one who looses out. Traveling farther to find the product and getting less support for it.

Walmart is on the other end of the spectrum. They tell their suppliers what to make, how much it will cost and when to make it. If you don't play along, you're not in Walmart.

I'm not sure what kind of agreements Meade and Celestron make with their dealers. But you can be sure, it's got several pages of requirements and rules.


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astro_baby
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5689097 - 02/19/13 03:32 PM

Wow thats sooooo weird. Arent there restrictions in the US on that sort of stiff. In the UK and most of Europe its illegal to control the price of a product. I mean you can set an RRP and obviously you charge what you want but you arent allowed to restrict or control. Its ro prevent cartels and monpolies and a few suppliers have been defenestrated around Europe in recent years by the legal system.

Sorry...gone a bitp off topic. my fault.


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5689381 - 02/19/13 05:53 PM

Quote:

Wow thats sooooo weird. Arent there restrictions in the US on that sort of stiff.




It's called MAP (minimum advertised price) and most mfgs. (including Meade and Celestron) require that their dealers adhere to it. So you are correct, the dealer can SELL their stock for whatever they want to, however they cannot ADVERTISE it for less than MAP. This includes any kind of special discount or free add-on items or anything that can be perceived as getting something for less than MAP. It also means you cannot PUBLISH the prices for lower than MAP in any form. Tricks like "add to cart to see price" are also being covered in new MAP policies. They also prohibit stating things like "too low to advertise" and a slew of others.

That's why when you Google a certain scope, they're all the same price everywhere. If there is one that's lower, they are either not an authorized dealer or they are violating MAP.

I notice there is a big price break this week on Meade telescopes. Probably because they need to boost sales in light of their current problems. In this case, MAP will be temporarily lowered, and all authorized dealers can advertise the lower price.

Still wouldn't buy such an expensive and technical item from a company who's future is so uncertain.

Stacy


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5689391 - 02/19/13 05:57 PM

I should add; once an item gets dropped from the current mfg. lineup, then there is no longer a MAP for that item and dealers are free to advertise and sell it for whatever they want. Used and "scratch & dent" are also usually exempt from MAP.

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5689493 - 02/19/13 07:00 PM

Stacy, I know what you mean about purchasing expensive/technical items when the company's future is in doubt.

On the other hand, I have decided to take some chances. I have been making purchases on their "deal of the week" - and I did receive the items very promptly. For example, their deal for the 24mm UWA, 2" diagonal and SCT extender/adapter was just too good to pass up. Filters were dirt cheap too.

And yes, I did put my name in for the LX850 14". People are getting their refurbished LX800-new LX850 back and so far things are looking very good for the unit. Rumor has it all the other past LX850 orders are being filled. My guess is mine will come in around May, which is good. If their are more problems I can back out. If the company goes through bankruptcy - I can back out. Still, rumor has it there is a large backlog for the LX850 and if they can fill it all they will easily cover the high interest loan and have positive cash flow.

As for the LX600 - I don't see that coming out until this summer after they get the LX850 pipeline going.

Oh, I will be buying the Coronado PST next week. That deal is too good to pass up too.

Trying to do my part to bail Meade out.

-- Andrew


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5689698 - 02/19/13 08:46 PM

Quote:

Trying to do my part to bail Meade out.




Well, you're doing better than I am. Thanks!

I'd love to acquire that 8" LS ACF! I like the idea of that.


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Carl_12
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5691742 - 02/20/13 08:51 PM

I have never owned a Meade, but just today I explored their website after a long time. My advice if they wish to stay in business:

1. Streamline product line, it's way too confusing. Promote the best properly. 8" AFC should be selling like hot cakes.
2. Improve website, update it properly. Image gallery for instance has dead links to discontinued products.
3. Start a "Save Meade" campaign in the community, competitions for "Shot by Meade", survey for models to survive the cull, "My All Time Favourite Meade" nostalgia campaign, that sort of thing.

Once they're out of danger, focus on the 21st Century. Move on from the same old, same old and start getting adventerous. Nasmyth focus, Questar-type integration, mobile computing, internet. The opportunities are there to revitalise what is erroneously seen as a declining market. Of course it's declining when it's driven by nostalgia and not much else. I'm perpetually in the market for a scope, never buy anything because the parameters are so well known, everything is ultimately compromised *BLEEP* that you will surely want to replace soon enough. Present us with a new frontier and we'll start buying. How about adaptive optics of some sort?

I could go on...


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Rick Woods
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Carl_12]
      #5692084 - 02/21/13 01:14 AM

Quote:

Once they're out of danger, focus on the 21st Century. Move on from the same old, same old and start getting adventerous.




A case could be made that "getting adventurous" is what got Meade into trouble. They were the first to come out with the ACF-type optics, and introduced the revolutionary RCX400 series. Trouble with the execution of these products got them in the hole. Of the two big SCT manufacturers, Meade appears to be the only one that is trying to move on.
Problem is, they keep dropping the ball somehow.


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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5692117 - 02/21/13 02:08 AM

The shrinking low end market is hurting all the mass producers. Disposable income is way down in the US and if you have a few hundred to spend will you spend it on a relatively inexpensive scope that can be used just a few times a month or a video game console that can be used for hours every day?
Light pollution makes it harder to enjoy the inexpensive scopes. A $500 LS6 would likely be a good seller but clearly Meade couldn't make any money on it.
The rings of Saturn, Jupiter, the popular dsos have been eclipsed by Hubble images flooding the internet. That little bit of white fuzz in the eyepiece is disappointing to kids today after seeing a full screen image of the Pillars of Creation.
Photography, which holds the promise of reintroducing the "gee whiz" factor into our hobby, is still too expensive and complicated. While Meade and people like Rock Mallin deserve credit for making imaging more "turnkey" than ever before, its still too expensive and complicated for the casual hobbyist.
Meade is probably doing more to make the hobby accessible to more people than ever but the cost is still way north of $2000. No need to wonder why the hobby is dominated by people over 55.
There will be tougher times ahead for the manufacturers until an LS6/8 type product with a 6" video screen and real time imaging can be had for $500-$1k. Until then, a shrinking number of manufacturers will be fighting over a smaller base of affluent hobbyists.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: jimb1001]
      #5692474 - 02/21/13 10:22 AM

Jim has it spot on with some of the elements impacting this business. I talk with many kids, and with access to the Hubble (or other images), and all the movies out there, faint fuzzies just don't get the kids excited. Most still get excited with Jupiter and Saturn because you really can see the good stuff live. Everything else now does not excite them.

And with competition with other activities, Astronomy has an even tougher job pulling them in.

Light pollution is definitely a problem - there is not much to see with the naked eye in most urban areas to begin with.

I am getting folks excited with the astrophotography and soon adventures with the MallinCam, but this is out of the price range of most folks. They are more than happy to just tag along with me vs buying something.

It is a tough and very competitive market. Meade (and others) will need to get more creative. Carl and others have some very good ideas.

It is a scary thought that at some of the astro events I go to I am still a young one - at 50!

-- Andrew


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vomit
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: jimb1001]
      #5692872 - 02/21/13 02:32 PM

Quote:

The shrinking low end market is hurting all the mass producers. Disposable income is way down in the US and if you have a few hundred to spend will you spend it on a relatively inexpensive scope that can be used just a few times a month or a video game console that can be used for hours every day?
Light pollution makes it harder to enjoy the inexpensive scopes. A $500 LS6 would likely be a good seller but clearly Meade couldn't make any money on it.
The rings of Saturn, Jupiter, the popular dsos have been eclipsed by Hubble images flooding the internet. That little bit of white fuzz in the eyepiece is disappointing to kids today after seeing a full screen image of the Pillars of Creation.
Photography, which holds the promise of reintroducing the "gee whiz" factor into our hobby, is still too expensive and complicated. While Meade and people like Rock Mallin deserve credit for making imaging more "turnkey" than ever before, its still too expensive and complicated for the casual hobbyist.
Meade is probably doing more to make the hobby accessible to more people than ever but the cost is still way north of $2000. No need to wonder why the hobby is dominated by people over 55.
There will be tougher times ahead for the manufacturers until an LS6/8 type product with a 6" video screen and real time imaging can be had for $500-$1k. Until then, a shrinking number of manufacturers will be fighting over a smaller base of affluent hobbyists.




Well spoken words of wisdom. Amateur astronomy is in a tough spot. I really think kids nowadays are so desensitized, to BIG SCREENS, 3D, High-Def, Instant gratification, that seeing Saturn's rings "live" seems like such a letdown. It's a shame. I can still remember the 1st time, I spotted Saturn's rings in my junky "trash scope"---circa 1981---the excitement, and feeling of awe! I wish I could get my kids to feel that way. Uphill battle for sure.


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Matthew Ota
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: vomit]
      #5692922 - 02/21/13 03:15 PM

The reason most amateur astronomers are over 50 is that we grew up at the dawn of the Space Age. At a young impressionable age we were exposed to a future in space that fell way short of our expectations. So we settled of unmanned exploration of the planets instead of going there ourselves.

Meade, Celestron and the other companies that have developed high-tech telescopes have done a great job engineering them, but a poor job in selling and promoting them.

My only suggestion is that they diversify their product lines outside of the small amateur telescope market just to stay afloat.


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Matthew Ota]
      #5693011 - 02/21/13 04:03 PM

They shipped the LX90 part (control board) I ordered last week.

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jonbosley
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5693150 - 02/21/13 05:10 PM

Looking over their report the other day, it seems like last year Meade converted their cash into a huge inventory, which they have not been able to sell (probably not the wisest thing for them to have done). It now all relies on how fast they can sell to keep their cash flow going. Historically a huge chunk of change came from the low end scopes in the big retailers over the Xmas period. If they have lost those contracts that is a massive blow and without doubt they will have to revisit their business model. They have always had a innovative R&D department which is a great strength for them. This is a difficult time for many companies. Whatever comes out the tunnel it will be a very different Meade then went into it.

Jon


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LivingNDixie
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5693155 - 02/21/13 05:12 PM

Something to think about. Most young people (20s and 30s) are building careers and having families. Having children makes it hard to get out a lot to observe. Average age is important but it needs to be also collaborated with how long someone has been a telescope user. Getting people in their late 30s or 40s is okay as long as Astronomy as a hobby is growing and gaining new people.

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jwdefoor
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: meade4ever]
      #5697588 - 02/23/13 11:43 PM

I am a new member and confess I have not read all of the above comments. I am a retired finance/accounting executive.

Regarding Meade's "going concern" problem. If a company has a good product, typically new owners will come in -- wipe away the debt, replace management, etc. -- and continue production with minimal interuption. A company's value is all related to the value of its customer base.

I once owned one of the first LX200's. It spoke QUALITY all over. Later, I bought a ETX125 for my nephew -- he never could get it to work and gave it back. Opened up the DEC arm and the plastic posts were shattered and the gears were stripped, and couldn't find parts.

I now have a LX200GPS, but have been disillusioned to find out that two otherwise identical looking eyepieces -- one can be plastic and one metal? How can i ever know what exactly I am buying? I don't like surprises and neither do most of you!

IMO, what Meade failed to understand is how disappointment with cheap plastic telescopes frightens people away from their better models. And inconsistent quality cheapens the brand all together. Better to be excellent at a few things, than average at many.


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Matthew Ota
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: jwdefoor]
      #5697733 - 02/24/13 03:00 AM

At the least I hope that Meade survives along with Celestron and the other manufacturers.

It kind of reminds me on how Model Rocketry declined in the early 1980s when amateur rocketry took off. Now instead of three major manufacturers there is only one, Estes. Membership in the National Association of Rocketry, which was around 2000 when I was active from 1974 to 1984, dropped below 1000.


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Stacy
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Stacy]
      #5703574 - 02/27/13 02:01 PM

Quote:

They shipped the LX90 part (control board) I ordered last week.




Spoke too soon. They charged but did not actually ship the part. Said they will ship today. I guess we'll see...


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Odell
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: LivingNDixie]
      #5710898 - 03/03/13 03:58 PM

Quote:

Something to think about. Most young people (20s and 30s) are building careers and having families. Having children makes it hard to get out a lot to observe. Average age is important but it needs to be also collaborated with how long someone has been a telescope user. Getting people in their late 30s or 40s is okay as long as Astronomy as a hobby is growing and gaining new people.




A fascinating thread and this post caught my eye. I started my astronomical journey last May at the age of 59.Previous to that my last encounter with a scope was at the age of 12. Sports, then marriage, then career, and general life is not conducive to large optical expenditures as well as expenditures in time.

My thought is, there are presently around 10K people retiring everyday. Could it be the baby boomers may have a hand in the saving of Meade? Ok.....wishful thinking...


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SteveMushynsky
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Odell]
      #5723329 - 03/10/13 03:11 AM

Quote:

...there are presently around 10K people retiring everyday



I am one of these, just now making my decisions on what to buy for the first time at age 61.
I find there is a remarkable lack of media outreach among telescope manufacturers and amateur astronomers. It seems to be a relatively closed world of enthusiasts talking to enthusiasts. There is outreach, but it seems to appeal to individuals a few at a time, not using the power of mass media.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: SteveMushynsky]
      #5723347 - 03/10/13 03:49 AM

Steve,

I don't know about the lack of outreach and communication. Outreach is extensive on many fronts.

-- For many Astronomy Clubs and Astronomers we take it upon ourselves to share at numerous planned and unplanned events. Our local club works with many schools in the area and shares the events through the news, facebook, webpages, school info outlets, etc. Just over a week ago I had 300+ elementary kids, their siblings, parents and relatives lined up to look at Jupiter. I am quite certain most Astronomy Clubs do much with their communities.

-- Similarly for the Annular eclipse and transit of Venus I had many strangers lined up at the scopes and the Laptop display to watch the events. Very few were astronomers. The total number of visitors exceeded 1000. Oh, and pictures from the event made the wire services world wide (my family was quite excited). I think many astronomers will attest to similar experiences.

-- I know Meade is trying to make a noble effort through social media and the web to promote a variety of astro events and news items with their limited staff and resources.

-- Astronomy and Sky & Telescope are keeping up with the times with digital media, and doing it well.

-- Most of us talk with local, regional and national media. However unless there is something amazing on the astro news front (like Asteroids hitting the Earth), then most info is relegated to Science Channel, Discovery, et. al. BTW, PANSTARRS is getting lots of coverage. Fox and CNN are certainly covering it.

Yes, I do talk with other astronomers to talk shop and share info, but my biggest joy is interacting and sharing with budding astronomers of any age, or people just curious and want to learn.

My take on some of the problems in this hobby:
-- Many folks see amazing images online, on tv and in the theater - real or special effects. This is tough to compete with ("why look in your scope when I can see the Hubble picts?"). Jupiter and Saturn REALLY move people, especially newbs (heck, me too!); faint fuzzies or splitting a faint double star? Not as thrilling for beginners.

-- Light pollution. Most people don't see the sky we saw long ago. I feel VERY BLESSED being in New Mexico now (I am from Michigan). Skies are amazing here, however most folks do not get this view today.

-- In the "Olden Days" as a kid, I loved what I could find in my Tasco 60mm. Today? The same views don't move most people.

-- Space race was big in our day. Now? The drive and interest is just not as big. And I work in the Space biz!

-- I have been in Astronomy and mostly active all my life. Most cannot do this due to cost, family and/or time constraints. Imagine a young couple trying to get into Astronomy and raise young kids? I raised four with ALL their activities. Let me tell you, it was a challenge mixing astronomy and all their interests.

-- Competition with other hobbies and interests. Video games for example provide instant gratification. You have do a little work with Astronomy (like setting up a small scope, or figuring out what the stars are - if you can see them!). I can give a list of activities, but it is a crowded market.

Their are other reasons for the leaning of this hobby, but I think this covers the basics. For Meade (and others in this business), the pie is getting smaller from the heady days of the 80s and 90s.

It is great you are joining this hobby. We all represent an opportunity to share what we know, learning experiences, growing pains and the gadgets we use. You can definitely help with the outreach.


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Christopher EricksonModerator
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: SteveMushynsky]
      #5723390 - 03/10/13 05:30 AM

Quote:

Quote:

...there are presently around 10K people retiring everyday



I am one of these, just now making my decisions on what to buy for the first time at age 61.
I find there is a remarkable lack of media outreach among telescope manufacturers and amateur astronomers. It seems to be a relatively closed world of enthusiasts talking to enthusiasts. There is outreach, but it seems to appeal to individuals a few at a time, not using the power of mass media.




It tough to reach an audience that is already jaded by massive special effects and instant gratification under light-polluted skies.

My wife and I volunteer up at the Onizuka VIS every Tuesday night for their nightly stargazing program and I usually go up for a couple of Saturdays as well around the New Moon. The VIS gets somewhere around 250,000 to 350,000 visitors a year and maybe 100,000 stay for the nightly stargazing tours. However since we are at least an hour from civilization in any direction, only those people who know we are there and go through the effort to visit us get to see the sky through our telescopes.

http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis/visiting-mauna-kea/star-gazing-program.html

If anyone is visiting the Big Island of Hawaii, consider dropping me a line well-before you get here and I will help you make sure you get the most astro-fix while on the island. I might be able to get you inside some of the observatories on the Summit as well.


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AntMan1
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5727024 - 03/11/13 10:29 PM

Meade stock has risen sharply this week! 1.89 Keep going baby! Nice price to buy at if you like a little risk.

Are there going to be any further reports for 2012 or is this 10-Q on 14-Jan the final one?


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: AntMan1]
      #5727304 - 03/12/13 01:30 AM

I think there will be a few more reports - for 2013; they will turn this puppy around in the right direction.

My guess for the stock increase is because the LX850 is shipping. It seems to be popping up everywhere suddenly, and the word so far seems to be good (I will know soon myself; stay tuned!). First light images are very good for early use. With all the LX850's coming out, this means cash flow. This will pay down the one outrageous debt, and provide capital to release the LX600 and provide more cash flow. This should also force the two vendors to pay the $600k (each I think) owed to Meade.

All of this adds to the stock price jumping up. I should buy $20k in stock, watch it double, cash out and pay for my telescope and pocket the rest.


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ken svp120
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: AntMan1]
      #5728362 - 03/12/13 03:09 PM

Quote:

Meade stock has risen sharply this week! 1.89 Keep going baby! Nice price to buy at if you like a little risk.

Are there going to be any further reports for 2012 or is this 10-Q on 14-Jan the final one?




The 10Q is filed quarterly with the SEC and then the annual report...the 10K...is filed once a year - Meade's 10K should be filed at the end of May. These quarterly and annual reports will continue to be filed as long as the company remains public.


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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: ken svp120]
      #5757644 - 03/26/13 08:05 AM

I would not read too much into Meade's stock price anytime soon. Stock price fluctuations for a small cap company like Meade with little float really don't mean anything most of the time. This is such a low volume stock with very little of its stock actively trading most of the time. Single transactions such as the recent 63K share stock acquisition can really bump up such a stock temporarily but have little to do with its company performance or long term values. Their market cap of $2.33 million versus their book of $7.5 million makes their stock price changes have even less meaning.

The only thing really important here with respect to Meade is their current performance. Their long term performance will only be an interesting projection until they can get their period performances in order.


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ken svp120
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: bicparker]
      #5845874 - 05/07/13 03:06 PM

Not sure what this might mean, but it looks like, if I'm reading this correctly, someone just purchased a tad over 6% of Meade...anyone more market savvy than I care to speculate?

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1032067/000156710213000002/sc_13g_4.htm


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: ken svp120]
      #5846540 - 05/07/13 08:27 PM

If I read this carefully it looks like Chinese Nationals are preparing to purchase Meade. Meade offers significant IP.

I really hope Meade is not purchased by a Chinese firm. I guess on the one hand it is nice to have our hobby subsidized by the Chinese government. On the flip side, shouldn't some of this IP and control be managed in North America?

Yes, I know Celestron is now a Chinese firm. Many of our optics are made in China. Still, seeing both these companies leave the U.S.? Horrible.

It is a smart play by the Chinese government (call it was it is).

I will say this, if I had the funds I would personally purchase Meade. I can put a down payment down, but not enough to purchase outright.


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gmartin02
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5847191 - 05/08/13 06:18 AM

Quote:


Yes, I know Celestron is now a Chinese firm. Many of our optics are made in China. Still, seeing both these companies leave the U.S.? Horrible.




Although Celestron is a subsidiary of a Chinese company, they have not completely "left the U.S."

Celestron corporate offices are still in Torrance, California, and the product engineering and design are still done in Torrance, and manufacturing is still controlled from Torrance (although all the parts are manufactured overseas).

Joe Lupica is still the CEO, and Alan Hale is still the Chairman Emeritus - these guys (along with Richard Hedrick who now runs PlaneWave Instruments) bought Celestron back in 2002 from Tasco and turned it around (before Celestron was acquired by Synta in 2005)


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: gmartin02]
      #5847860 - 05/08/13 02:11 PM

Gmartin - yes I do understand those facts, and yes we are in a world market.

On the flip side it is a tad bothersome to see IP developed in the U.S. purchased for a very low price from offshore firms. And the reality is both Celestron and Meade would be Chinese firms, even though they have offices in the U.S.

If I had the time, I personally would raise the balance of the capital and purchase Meade. And if projects go as planned I would just buy it out right down the road, however I think it would be purchased by someone else or firm by then.


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bicparker
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5859506 - 05/14/13 10:12 AM

Meade needs the cash in a big way. They have a a very hot line of credit that needs to be paid off.

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Whichwayisnorth
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: bicparker]
      #5861479 - 05/15/13 04:32 AM

Going to be interesting.

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Geo.
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Re: MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan new [Re: ken svp120]
      #5874941 - 05/20/13 11:20 PM

Quote:

Not sure what this might mean, but it looks like, if I'm reading this correctly, someone just purchased a tad over 6% of Meade...anyone more market savvy than I care to speculate?




No need to speculate except, who is JOC? This is the best I can come up with.

Kunming is the capital and biggest city in Yunnan, China's southwestern province. Chemicals and optical equipment are an industrial mainstay. Even call it "Optics Valley."

JOC
From AstronomyOutreach network

"JOC is headquartered in Guangzhou, China Jinghua Optics and Electronics Co., Ltd. (JOC) was founded in 1997. JOC is an owner of Explore Scientific (USA), BRESSER (Germany), and Maxvision (China). JOC designs, manufactures, and sells telescopes, binoculars, microscopes, optoelectronic instruments and optical components, including optoelectronic and lens modules for mobile phones, mini projectors, and digital cameras. The company is one of the largest, most diversified, and division specialized manufacturers in China's Optoelectronic industry. The company has two manufacturing facilities in China: Guangzhou and Kunming, with it's headquarters located in Guangzhou."

JOC Optoelectronics Group produces mobile phone lens, consumer electronic products, binoculars, telescopes, PTV projection lens, spotting scopes, microscopes, gun sight eight series - the company has these subsidiaries

Jinghua Optical Electronics Co., Ltd.,
Guangzhou Regent Photoelectric Instrument Co., Ltd.
Guangzhou Crystal Optoelectronic Technology Co., Ltd.
Guangzhou Optical Electronics Company Ltd
Kunming Jinghua Optical Co., Ltd., E-mail: zy@maxvision.net.cn [Sales/export arm?] Xishan, Fuhai
Kunming Optical Ltd
Kunming Friends of Thai Optical Instruments, Ltd.
Kunming Industrial and Trade Company, Ltd
Explore Scientific/Bresser

Kunming United Optics, a Meade supplier, is not formally part of this group.
Kunming United Optics Corp.
"United Optics benefits from its location, Kunming city, China's major base for the production and export of binoculars, spotting scopes, telescopes and other traditional optical products, there are many suppliers of hardware and optical parts and molding plants, which including some vast state-owned factories. These producers have served the industrial needs of the military for more than 50 years."

Some other Chinese entities in the optics business:

Nanjing Microtech Scientific Instrument Co., Ltd.
Ningbo Barride Optics Co., Ltd.
Bosma Ind. Co., Ltd related; Bosma Optronic Instrument Co., Ltd.
ChongQing Deron Instrument Co. Nanping, Xilu, Chongqing
FUDING YIXIONG OPTICS INSTRUMENT CO.,LTD. Ningde, Fujian
XI'AN VISION OPTO-ELECTRONIC CO., LTD. Xian, Shanxi,
NORIN OPTECH CO., LTD. Guangzhou, Guangdong
ZHEJIANG STAR CABLE CO.,LTD. Shaoxing, Zhejiang
NINGBO SUNNY ELECTRONIC CO.,LTD. Ningbo, Zhejiang
CHANGZHOU YUNMEI OPTICAL INSTRICMENT CO., LTD. Changzhou, Jiangsu
NANYANG FUDA OPTICAL & ELECTRON TECH.CP.,LTD. Nanyang, Hena
ZHEJIANG OUHAI INTERNATIONAL TRADE CORPORATION, Wenzhou, Zhejiang
CHONGQING PEARL RIVER OPTOELECTRONIC SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD. Chongqing, Chongqing

North (Nanjing) Instrument Technology Industries Group, a Chinese state-owned military supplier.

North Night-vision Science & Technology Group Co., Ltd. R&D and manufacturer of night vision products, created out of a reorganization of China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco Group) night vision efforts. Affiliates: Yunnan Optical-instrument factory, Nanjing Xuguang Instrument Factory, Xi'an Institut of Application Optical, Norinco Group and Norinco.

Business Week includes Norinco among the major suppliers to the PLA. It "is an enterprise group engaged in both products and capital operation, integrated with R&D, manufacturing, marketing, and services." (Norinco website). Norinco was established in 1980 with the approval of the State Council of China, and is overseen by the Ministry for Machine Building and Electronics industry. The Ministry coordinates with relevant departments of the Military Commission to take charge of producing and supplying military equipment, and formulating and implementing military scientific research programs. It has no direct control over the PLA, that is, it is not analogous to the Pentagon. See: http://www.softwar.net/pladef.html

The Norinco Group mainly deals in defense products, petroleum & mineral resources extraction, international engineering contracting, optronic products, civilian explosives & chemical products, sports arms & equipment, vehicles and logistics operations. Norinco has been ranked among the China’s largest state-owned enterprises in terms of total assets and revenue. It is mostly known outside of China for its high-tech defense products. Norinco produces precision strike systems, amphibious assault weapons and equipment, long-range suppression weapon systems, anti-aircraft & anti-missile systems, information & night vision products, high-effect destruction systems, fuel air bombs, anti-terrorism & anti-riot equipment and small arms.

The following are all in Kunming, Yunan [Yunnan] and provide a base of support for the optics industry there.

Kunming Optical Instruments Co., Ltd., a/k/a United Optical, BinocularsChina and Ufind Optics Co., Ltd affiliates: Yunnan Yunao Optoelectronics Co., Ltd. and Kunming Hauke Optical **
Kunming Runder Co., Ltd.
Kunming Yuanda Optic & Electronic Technology Co., Ltd - Optical Instrument and Lens Manufacturing
Kunming City "kanmaxx Optics" ED Refractors: YDT80EDA, YDT102EDA, YDT127EDA & YDT80EDB
KUNMING KELONGDA OPTICAL INSTRUMENT CO LTD
KUNMING SHUNHO OPTICS CO., LTD
Kunming Pengjie (peng jie) Optics Co. Ltd. Brands: Jie and Jiehe
Kunming xinhe optics factory
Kunming Yulong Optical & Electronics Technology Co., Ltd - Products / Services: optical filter/optical mirror coatings
YunAo Optics Co. Ltd, a Yunnan Optoelectronics Co. and Oberwerk Corporation Joint Venture
Kunming Infrared Optics(KIRO)Inc. is a subcompany of Kunming Institute of Physics,
Kunming Binger Trading Co.,Ltd. - OEM & ODM of optical products
Kunming Zhenzhong Optical Instrument co., Ltd
Kunming Aimex Optical & Electronic Co., Ltd a/k/a AO Technology Co., affiliate of Metwhich (HK) International Ltd: optical glass coatings
Kunming Richy Opto-Electronic Co., Ltd
Kunming Helic Sport Optics Co., Ltd
Shenzhen Ronger Optic & Electronic Technology Co.,Ltd.- military use night vision
Kunming Vision Infrared Co., Ltd
YUNNAN HUAYU OPTICS & ELECTRONICS CO., LTD.

Things aren't so super in Kunming either.

**Kunming Optical Instruments Co., Ltd - Official Blog [edited]

"Before 2007, everything (including labor costs and rents) for a manufacturer in China was cheap, USD against RMB was strong (1 USD =7.8-8.28 RMB) and world economy was on rise curve (though a lot of bubbles) and so the demands on Chinese products were ever-increasing. Then, all Chinese manufacturers could manufacture the prodcucts at low cost, sold them quickly with a reasonable profit and started the next round of production immediately with all the money they had. Everybody was focusing on producing the products ASAP and was not worried about the sales – the demands were predictable and everything produced would be taken soon. The whole food chain, ordinary labors – small specialized parts and components suppliers- manufacturers and trading companies in China – overseas customers, seemed to work perfectly and everybody on it was happy.

From 2008-2009, things began to change. The price for everything for a manufacturer or PPI (producer price index) began to keep going up and it was in 2008 that we had to buy mandatory social insurance for the workers and this alone made the labor cost increase more than 50%. The RMB appreciated quickly against USD and export demand decreased more than 40% average for the binoculars. We were doing business without any profits, but the top priority was to sustain the business and generate enough cash flow.

From 2010 to date, consumer prices began to jump. It began with real estate – average apartment price in Kunming increased from 3000RMB/square meter to 10000RMB/square meter in 2010. Then food and necessities – some of them now are the most expensive in the world. Workers found that they just couldn’t afford the higher living costs and found they couldn’t save any money. They saw no hope for the future and they were totally disillusioned: dream won’t come true. The result is that for the first time since the market economy (1982), there is a labor shortage. This affected the small parts suppliers first – they usually specialize in just a part for the binocualrs: for example, in Kunming, there were more than 20 suppliers who specialize in making the rubber, more than 10 who specilize in making the eyepieces glass, more than 20 who specialize in making the tubes, etc.. Due to the labor shortage, at least 50% fo them just closed the busines and the rest of them scaled down and became very cautious. Some of them like us, still try to hang on and do the best we can."


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