So Long and Thanks for All the Fish...

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To all my online friends and customers:

It’s been a great ride and I’ve enjoyed it tremendously, but it’s time for this Piranha to swim off into the sunset.

Not everyone gets to leverage their hobby into a profession, but I did for well over a decade and had a great time. Not only did I make a decent living, hire some absolutely wonderful employees, and design some pretty neat uniforms and t-shirts, I got to have quality time with my family – especially as my boys grew up.

I’ve had the privilege of sponsoring people, events and podcasts (looking especially at YOU Karate Café) - that gave me an excuse to talk with people whose work I enjoyed and maybe help them back.

Overall I’ve had a chance to meet and work with some wonderful people that will no doubt remain friends for a long time.

Unfortunately the last few years have seen tougher competition and tighter margins, as I expected. However the biggest challenge turned out to be Chinese counterfeit products. After a year of legal battles and countless hours of “having dialogs” with Amazon, it has become obvious that you can’t fight a dragon that moves like the wind… And the time and money spent in the fight was… well at least it helped pay for some nice furniture at the legal office… and I hear my attorney is getting a new boat too… ;)

If you want to read one of the better explanations about counterfeit products, read this as we’re definitely not the only ones impacted and the Atlantic just did an "expose" article on it too.

But all good things must end and now so too shall Piranha Gear…

It seems unlikely that I will be able to donate 200 pairs of boxing gloves and 150 pairs of shin pads to Goodwill, so I’ve lowered the prices on virtually everything left – usually to at or below my cost – just to keep the doors open long enough to move it out. There’s no way I’m going to fit even 10% of this stuff into my garage so I’d rather see it go to someone that wants it than take it to the dump.

If you’re a verifiable non-profit, contact me at this link and I’ll figure out some sort of 90% discount (yes - on the discounted prices) to basically just pay for shipping. But please be an actual “non-profit” - not a “I’m just starting a school in my garage and not taking money from my students” non-profit. I'm thinking more of a “we’re running a school at a Uganda orphanage and we literally have nothing” non-profit.

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And if you’re a previous customer, just buy like 25 bucks worth of stuff, put your t-shirt size and a mention of your past with Piranha Gear in the checkout comments, and one of us will be sure to toss something in there for free. I still have literally over a 1,500 shirts and a pile of patches that I’d love to give out as way of saying “thanks”!

Perhaps the best thing is that I will NEVER go back to those old stupid foot pads that Century Martial Arts foisted on us for decades!!! Paint covered, foam crap that always twisted up under the ball of your foot. I’ve got my stash now HAHAHAH! Take that Century!

My employees are setup and ready (they’ve been super troopers) and negotiations with the landlord have gone WAY better than I expected (they’re being super cool about it – or this change wouldn’t be possible).

As for me, the owner, I was approached with “an offer I couldn’t refuse” and rather than go through the work of trying to sell the company and then try to look for something next year, I’m going to accept the new position. Since there is an obvious time element to the offer, I’ll be ramping down Piranha Gear by the end of April.

At this point I’m not going to be producing more inventory so if I’m out stock now… there’s no more where that came from - except from China… of course… ;)

So while the water in the tank is still sweet, this Piranha is just about done swimming… So long and thanks for all the fish!

Best regards,

  Bill Herndon

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