Dear Customer,

While this is the 30th annual woodworking catalog we've published, it seems as if it was only a short time ago that we first opened our doors. That is, until someone recalls we heated our warehouse with a woodstove, received orders almost entirely by mail, and, for really urgent matters, used a telex machine to communicate (but only at night when the rates were lower). At that time, our mailing list really was a list – each customer had an individual card in an index file in our office, upon which we recorded every order; our first computer was still years in the future.

Having reached yet another significant milestone (an anniversary divisible by 5!) there's an almost irresistible urge to do something to celebrate it. But perhaps the more pressing question is – how does a company actually "celebrate" its birthday, and does anyone outside of the company really care? Sure, it's easy to ratchet up our marketing machine under the guise of a celebration, and find all sorts of ways to try to sell you something else (and we'll get to that in a minute), but there should be more to it than that.

Even though we're having a hard time coming up with suitable special events, we do want to say thanks for supporting us all these years. We're proud that many of you have been with us since that first year.

As for the marketing part, we want to draw your attention to both our web-based newsletter and our about-to-be-activated opt-in email program. If you're not receiving the newsletters, we encourage you to have a look at the archived issues on the website; there's excellent content in there. We intend to start sending the opt-in emails shortly after you receive this catalog, but will send them only to those who sign up for them. Our 30-year policy of never renting out our mailing lists will continue. We guarantee never to rent your name or use it in any sort of list swap. If you get on some junk list, it will not be by anything we have done.

Getting back to the anniversary, when we can figure out how to give each of you a piece of cake, we'll have a real celebration ... perhaps by our 35th!


Robin C. Lee


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