For some time now, I have been making Money Clips. The most popular is the Dragon Money clip: Flame. This is a large Dragon head with an articulated jaw powered by a spring set in the cranium. So far, I am the only one I know which makes such a money clip. When designing the piece I experimented with a variety of springs until I finely found it – the perfect one – at a local Ace Hardware.
The folks at the local store here in Newport News Virginia were more than helpful: the staff at the local Ace are the model of Southern Hospitality. Curious, intelligent and even helped me to fix various parts in my shop. When my Wax Injector was failing, one young Gentleman offered to help out and was able to assemble the various fittings to get my shop up and running again.
Once the spring was found, I actually re-designed the interior of the money clip so the spring would hold in place properly for ease and extended life. For several years my trip down to Ace Hardware was noted as a “outing” for me, able to peruse the aisles, check out the latest in devices and visit with new friends working the help desk and purchase springs.
However, I have been facing a problem as of late: the springs which brought me to Ace Hardware were out of stock, so I asked the folks at the shop to see if they could re-order. Yesterday I got a sad phone call. Apparently the Upper Management in their (infinite) wisdom decided they no longer wished to wholesale the springs form Century Spring Corporation – a California Based company – and decided to go with a cheaper brand from outside the United States: Taiwan in fact.
I don’t begrudge someone getting a job anywhere in the world, however in a time when the US is in such trouble and there is actually a US based company already supplying parts, I recoiled. Ace Hardware’s promotion is that of a neighborhood store, yet they have made the decision to go with a Taiwan Base supplier – that simply does not make sense to me.
I sprung into action and called Century Springs in California and spoke with a couple of folks out there and it was confirmed: Ace Hardware went with a foreign company to supply their springs because it was cheaper to purchase them from Taiwan. The most alarming thing about this (outside the fact that the Taiwan springs didn’t fit my Money clips) was Ace is actually charging more for the imported springs!!!
My Scot Blood Boiled.
The folks at Century Spring Corporation assured me I would find their products at Truevalue, so I bounced to a city close by (adding an extra 20 minutes in travel time) and able to find a store in Grafton, Virginia I re-supplied and was pleased.
Because of this issue, I will be purchasing the springs directly from the corporation in California when I run out, however it is good to know Truevalue, a real neighborhood shop is there for me.