Hey, has anyone had luck recently ordering items from Alan Runfeldt at Excelsior Press? I tried using the contact form on the site a month ago to place an order, but received no response. I posted again about a week ago. Again, no response. Is there another better way to contact him? The site seems active. The blog is being posted on periodically and the new chase base kits became available sometime in June (between my two attempts to order).
Thanks for any suggestions.
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Judging by personal experience as well as many posts on Briarpress, it would see that when it comes to letterpress vendors, the best way of getting in touch is by phone or in person.
It seems that when things get busy, responding to emails and website contact-forms is not a high priority for some reason, I suspect that they might be experiencing a high ratio of junk instead of actual orders or legitimate questions.
Alan is a busy kid, it sometimes takes a few attempts to get a response from him. if he doesn’t respond very soon let me know i have an Alan hot line that he always answers and i’ll call him and give him heck for you.
Thanks I will wait another week or two. I knew it might take a little while, but had no phone number to reach him at. Dickg, I will let you know if I don’t hear from him.
Try messaging him on Briar Press. I found it worked better than the contact form on his website. But he’s hard to get ahold of to be sure. Keep trying! Persistence does pay off here. He’s a great guy. Very knowledgeable and nice to talk to. His goods seem to be top-notch (certainly the order I just received was exactly as ordered and fine quality). Just don’t expect to get things quickly.
Just because a website exists doesn’t mean it is fully functional and maintained. No letterpress supplier left today will give quick Amazon-style fulfillment, even if they have some form of online purchase. Most haven’t even processed your order by the time you flame them on BriarPress.
to all, in general
Noticed that there are comments on problems with communicating with suppliers.
Since the coal boom here, many suppliers have problems with keeping up with orders, or finding staff who can do so. Others are finding very good workers. But the ones who do not respond promptly stand out like exclamation marks.
A manager of a small business in my home town had a problem; after trying to get some action by means of telephone calls “about 20 times”, he had the following advertisement inserted in the local daily newspaper, this week; an answer [and a promise to fix] came before midday.
Dear Txxxxx [telephone company]
It has now been 3 weeks since you put a digital system into my workshop. You have disabled my eftpos,my phones don’t work, my email is no more and my security alarm has no ring out to my phone. To complain again would take another half an hour and I have already done that too many times. Maybe you will take more notice of this notice. P. Hxxxxxxx, Wxxxx Motors, Mackay [Australia].
The words in [square brackets] are edited in as explanation.
Apparently there was no link from the complaints department of the phone commpany to their digital service section, it has been in operation for only a short time. But this does show that, perhaps, one wonders if there is any joy in doing the same thing over and over again (calling complaints by phone) many times, and expecting a different result? Some Briar Press commentators complain that their emails go unanswered; if so, would it be useful to suggest trying another method of communication, even “snail mail”?
When we started using electronic equipment, we found that, if the machine did not do what it should, we could sometimes “reset” the machine by asking it to do something else; one fault, which showed about once a month, we corrected by inserting some codes calling for blank spaces into the beginning of the computer file for that particular job. Anything (excepting a sledge-hammer) to give it a shake. At supermarket checkouts, if a barcode does not read, trying a different grocery item often resets the machine, and it then proceeds happily. To recapitulate, if repeated emails do not work, try a phone call or a hand-written letter.
At present, I am trying to persuade a professional person to put my paperwork nearer the top of the pile of work he will look at some time; we are straining the synapses how to motivate him without antagonising him.
“No letterpress supplier left today will give quick Amazon-style fulfillment”
Well, I DO. I may not be a letterpress supplier in the strict sense of the word but I respond immediately to phone calls and e-mails. My problem is stupidly and continually taking people’s word that they’ll send their check or money order. I box the item immediately so I can rush it to the P.O. when it arrives (without waiting for it to clear) but I never hear from them again. I’m beginning to have some sympathy for the true suppliers who don’t bother to respond.
Mr Runfeldt falls into the category that rarely is seen these days he is just busy . Have you noticed his e.mail system has a box asking if you require a reply ? That is the sign of a man who has a system of prioritising , there are hundreds of comments on here referring people to him because he has done good work that alone must give an indication of people trust in him however difficult he is to pin down !
The suggestion of snail mail might be a very good idea !
with stamped, self-addressed envelope enclosed?
Just to be clear. Nothing in my original post was “complaining”. I anticipated a slow response time from Alan Runfeldt. I am aware he seems constantly overwhelmed with fulfilling orders. I am just trying to find a way to get my order in progress. Being that I placed my first order request in early May, I think I’ve waited a sufficient amount of time before exploring other options. I still have not heard anything. The only way I know to contact him is through his contact page on his website. I can not find a snail mail address or a phone number (as others have suggested). If anyone has another way I can contact him, I’d appreciate your help. Or if you prefer to be more formal and do an introduction, I’d be happy with that as well. Again, my goal is to hopefully get my order started or at least confirm I should not wait on him and find other resources to fulfill my needs. I wanted to use him because he provides several of the things I am looking for and he is also provides the Phenolic Resin Laminate Chase Base Kit that can not be purchased anywhere else. Thank you for any helpful comments or suggestions.
yea (I hope)! I found Alan’s profile on Briarpress like mephits suggested. I just messaged him. Hopefully I will hear back from him. Wish me luck:)
Yes, Alissa, there is an Alan Runfeldt, and yes, as so many of you have mentioned, I do find myself somewhat overwhelmed at times with requests for advice, problem solving and even orders for my Excelsior Chase-Base as well as other press parts and supply items I do my best to make available to the community.
That includes, btw, newly cast Kelsey & Golding replacement parts which I am currently working on arranging to produce and make available to those who need them.
But I must thank those of you whose comments reflect accurately - and, I must say with appreciation, quite thoughtfully - as to my dilemma here in this “old print shop in a barn”.
Oddly enough, the biggest problem I have in filling orders is in getting them into my system and generating the packing lists and shipping labels so that I don’t have to remember who needs what, but so that I can use printed paper reminders to keep me on track.
You’d think that in this day of easy-ways-to-do-all things that can be automated, I’d have solved this problem already.
I have not.
Add to the calculation the not-quite-so-well-known fact that in another life, I was known as a pretty darned good database programmer and builder of interactive web applications, and the absence of an easy-to-use online ordering system is still missing from my web site becomes even more of a mystery.
But I am working on an online order-taking system that will eliminate the 15-30 minutes each order currently takes to process. Once that is done and available to the public, I hope that orders will come into a dedicated, streamlined, efficient system so that they can be processed more promptly.
Once that is working, I hope to be able to respond to other contact form inquiries in a more acceptable manner and that these sorts of questions about “reaching Alan Runfeldt” will come to an amicable end.
Of course, if I’d accept my friends’ advice and “take on an assistant”, this all might go away. The problem there, however is that although an assistant would be very helpful, finding the right person is not always so easy. Add to that the level of income this work generates, I really can’t afford to pay someone to help with this stuff. I am putting my hopes into an automated online ordering system. I’ve built them before for others, why can’t I do it for myself?
For that matter, why don’t I have any business cards in my wallet? The form’s in the press, the paper is cut and sitting beside the press. All I need to do is ink up the press and print some… Easy - but after I keep today’s list of promises to others…
Oh and one more thing: The Excelsior Press is not just a museum; it’s a working print shop - and I have printing customers with deadlines I must meet. That means all of these other “great ideas” I find myself pursuing are often interrupted by the simple reality that there are printing jobs to get done first… (like the Italian food labels I imprinted and dog license receipts that I perforated yesterday and must be packed and shipped today.)
In the meantime, Alissa has found one of the more effective ways to “stand out” among my daily incoming messages. I get 5-10 contact form inquiries each day, and each one can lead to 1/2 hour - 1 hour responses. However, since I have not had time to participate much in Briar Press discussions during these past (very busy) months, when a message comes into my BP folder, it stands out.
This is not to say that everyone should use the BP contact to reach me; I really do review my incoming contact form messages just as often as I can and I really do respond promptly to all inquiries that I can handle.
But I guess in this case, Alissa did “get through” by using the BP contact form and I will soon be sending her a nice, new Richlite Chase-Base for her 6x10 Kelsey, along with the other supplies she needs.
(Just as soon as I get off the computer and get to work, that is… )
I’m the new owner of a Golding Pearl 5x8 and have been in search of the elusive Alan, also. Trying to get hold get misc equipment (composing sticks, ink, etc., perhaps a little advice before buying). Based on the posts, I will persist.
Update on Alan Runfeldt; by Alan Runfeldt:
Two years ago, my wife’s elderly mother came to live with us; we needed a larger home. As much as I love my work, my family is important as well and seems to trump my interest in printing and helping others print.
For two years, we were focused on finding a home and getting a mortgage. In April, we found that home.In August, we got the mortgage; in September, we moved in.
In October, I am getting back to the shop. First, there is a lot of printing to do. Once those orders are shipped, I will begin going through the last 3 months’ inquiries, restocking the shelves and doing my best to resume fabrication of Chase-Bases, casting rollers, making trucks, roller hooks and other items.
Yes, service is slow and all I can do about that is apologize and suggest other sources in the interim. Please see my blog page for updates.
I have dealt with Alan since I have started this hobby almost two years ago and he has ALWAYs given freely of his time and very valuable advice and in doing so is very generous. But, it does take time (and it can be lots) for him to fill orders so my experience is be patient. Neil