Availability as of 5/27/2020:
The Covid-19 situation has affected almost every industry and business in some way. Some have been fortunate, others have struggled to survive. ThermaPress, LLC has faced its own unique challenges during this crisis. Our challenges started during tax refund season when we were very busy and it depleted our supply of raw materials. Then, we had a period of several weeks where no one was buying anything and it left us not knowing how to plan for the future in terms of inventory and production. Then when everyone started to receive their stimulus checks, We literally could not keep up with the orders and could not restock raw materials fast enough to keep up with demand. We have enough capacity to meet a steady demand, but not enough capacity for a huge sudden unpredictable demand. Our suppliers faced their own unpredictable challenges to overcome as well. Many of them simply closed and were not shipping any goods at all or on a delayed schedule. Thus, they were unable to supply our needs when we needed raw materials and supplies the most.
The bottom line is that ThermaPress is too dependent on our suppliers and demands for our products are very unpredictable and we want to change that. For example, Covid 19 is not the only cause of such issues. Every time a major hurricane hits the United States, there are shortages for all types of plywood, including the special plywood used in production of VF-1 presses, and we simply cannot predict such events or stockpile enough materials in advance to eliminate shortages. Or, we have had vendors simply discontinue the sale of items that we use in production of VF-1 presses with no advance notification.
In addition to these issues, our costs from our suppliers have continued to rise at an alarming rate. We have been absorbing those increases and not increasing the sales price of our products to our customers. The costs associated with shipping our products has just become outrageous. Fuel costs are at an all time low, but shipping rates have done nothing but climb for both inbound and outbound shipments. As a small family owned business, we have come to a fork in the road and it has become clear that we must make some changes in how we produce VF-1 presses so we can continue to meet demand surges and reduce costs without compromising on the quality we are known for.
Typically, the month of June is not extremely busy for us and with the current unpredictable demand and current economic climate, we have decided now is the best time to make those changes. We believe the long term future is bright and we must eliminate the bottle necks that constrict our ability to out put enough product to meet sudden changes in the market. We also must reduce material costs while becoming more self reliant and less dependent on our suppliers.
So, over the next 6-8 weeks we will be making some big positive changes here at ThermaPress. This will require us to shut down production on the VF-1 presses completely while we make and implement these changes. Therefore, VF-1 presses and accessories will not be available for purchase in June and possibly on into the month of July, 2020. We will have additional announcements forthcoming as we work through this process. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but it is a necessary evil for us to continue to grow as a business and continue to serve our customers as efficiently as possible moving forward. Thank you to all our customers for their continued support.