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November 11, 2012 | Weber Acquisition revisited
We weighed in earlier this weekend with an admittedly critical take on the recent acquisition of Weber Fine Acoustic Instruments (Sound to Earth) by the parent company of Breedlove, Two Old Hippies, LLC. As we reported, our misgivings were no reflection on the praise and confidence we had with the Weber crew, our reservations had more to do with the ineptitude of the current Breedlove marketing forces.
After an enlightening personal conversation yesterday with company founder, Bruce Weber himself, we're a little less apprehensive about the future of the Sound to Earth team. Bruce took the time to fill us in on some of the details of the transition, how it came to be, and his own outlook on how the handoff would manifest in the next six months.
Foremost, the hands-on involvement of his production team, long time marketing coordinator Cameron Haag, and Bruce himself are all critical components in the the process that started over with informal discussion 18 months ago and, born out of an already developed relationship with Tom Bedell, T.O.H, founder. This is not a case of a "brand" acquisition but the builder's process and philosophy along with it. Weber hopes to continue the evolution of product and dealer network finely honed and developed over the last 15 years and economize with the merged building strengths of both facilities. He looks forward to spending more time tinkering with new ideas and stepping back to supervise and invent, rather than dictate and administrate. He feels the current team is strong enough to continue on with larger, better financed facilities in the Bend Oregon community, which already has a strong woodworking culture.
Weber has a solid concept of how the line is woven together, mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin, and now a limited selection of the new soprano models are all available in most of the unique designs, Gallatin, Yellowstone, Big Horn, A-body, etc. The intent is to continue to develop these and future variations over time, growing rather than just handing off the existing offerings.
Our hope is Weber strengthening a struggling guitar company (Breedlove) that never developed the full potential of its own innovation in mandolin building. He's already used the last fifteen years to demonstrate he is capable of starting a company. We're eager to see over the next few years how this is done with one that has certainly needed help.
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Posted by Ted at November 11, 2012 6:15 AM
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