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July GroundStrike Collectibles Newsletter

This is the July 2007 edition of the Newsletter.  To get the full newsletter regularly, sign up now!  If you received this newsletter but it appeared to be "scrambled" and unreadable, contact us and we'll correct it.

GroundStrike Collectibles Newsletter
Vol. 8 No. 1
July 2007

Hi Limoges Lovers!
This is our first actual "newsletter" since 2004, and our first email since our November 2006 Flash!  Plenty of excuses, but I'll not waste your time with them... too much to discuss!  Let's get started with the news from the Limoges world... and there's some bad news out there...

Let's start with the "lesser bad" news...

Price Increases
I'm sorry to report that Limoges boxes are simply becoming harder to afford.  Although Limoges boxes have never been truly "inexpensive", their prices over the past few years have risen much faster than the inflation rate and cost-of-living increases.  A primary influence for this is the value of the Euro versus the dollar.  The Euro has risen in value while the dollar has sunk, making imports into the US from France much more expensive.  The currency trend amplifies the higher costs of labor and materials in France, resulting in a price rise of 10-20% for many Limoges boxes since this same time last year.  Earlier this year, all of our major importers (Rochard, Artoria, Chamart, Limoges Magnifique) announced price increases for their boxes.  Rochard's increases were particularly steep, going up well over 15% in many cases.

Fortunately for Limoges box collectors, the popularity of Limoges boxes as collectibles and gifts has risen during this time.  With the internet introducing Limoges boxes to anyone with access to a computer, their popularity has blossomed both within the core group of avid collectors and with a new generation of customers starting collections or searching for gifts.  This means new designs continue to be forthcoming from the makers and importers... they'll just cost a little more.

FYI, we have not yet raised our Artoria prices relative to their February increase, but we'll have to do so as we restock items.  If you need any Artoria pieces for your collection, now may be a good time to check them out!  See all of our Artoria collection here:

http://www.groundstrike.com/limoges/artoria/1artoria.htm

So how can price increases be considered the "lesser" of the bad news?  Here's why...

The Bigger Bad News
In the Limoges box world, the news can't get much bigger (and "badder") than this:  Rochard Limoges, a company whose name is almost synonymous with "Limoges boxes" - has gone out of business!  What an unfortunate and unexpected turn of events!  We spent about 3 months putting the 2007 Rochard Catalog online, and after we had it online for 2 weeks, we found out about their closure when we failed to receive an order confirmation.  We tried to contact them, with increasing urgency, and finally discovered they had been closed with virtually no notice given to anyone, particularly their retailers such as GroundStrike.  I've posted a notice on our web site at:

http://www.groundstrike.com/info/rochard_notice.htm

I apologize for the delay in notifying you through the newsletter, but for this we have a legitimate reason... we had to spend the last few weeks frantically taking items off our web site that are out of stock and can no longer be obtained!  As the news spread, we began receiving an avalanche of orders for items in our Rochard Catalog, so until we could fix our web site we had to send out numerous "We're sorry..." notices to our customers (not a pleasant thing to do!).  We have now pared down the Rochard Catalog and web site to show only items we have remaining in stock.  This will change on a daily basis, of course, because we stock only one or two of most Rochard boxes.  We will try to take off items nightly that have sold out during the day, but be aware that Rochard boxes are in high demand now.  A box on the web site in the morning may be gone by noon (but may not be removed from the web site until that night).

A note of caution is in order here:  all genuine Rochard Limoges boxes come in their unique gift packaging.  This includes their green and gold box, their printed tissue paper, and their "bifold" certificate of authenticity.  Already we have seen maker's culls and overruns being offered as "Rochard" boxes.  Ensure that any Rochard box you purchase comes with it's gift packaging;  otherwise it is fake.

This is a huge disappointment for Limoges box retailers and collectors - but in the bigger picture, there may be some good that comes from this.  We can't help but think the collectors market for Rochard pieces will be enhanced now!  We know they have been in higher demand lately.  Treasure your Rochard pieces, as they're officially the last of their kind.

A Little Secret...
When we first started GroundStrike Collectibles, we considered the old retailer's gambit of pricing items with ".95" at the end to be a little less dignified than Limoges boxes deserve.  So we priced all of our items at even dollar increments (i.e., $100 instead of $99.95).  We also started with (and have held to) a principle that even if an importer raised their prices on a particular box, we would not increase our price as long as we had inventory purchased at the lower price.  During 2003, with the Euro rising, a wave of price increases hit Limoges box retailers.  As we restocked items and had to adjust our prices, we decided to use the ".95" to differentiate items with the "new" pricing from the "old" pricing.  It made it easier for us to identify prices that would have to be adjusted when we restocked an item.

So what good is this information?  Well, if you're looking for a bargain item to add to your collection or to give as a gift, browse the GroundStrike category pages (Art, Cats, etc.) and look for prices that don't have ".95" on them.  They're not easy to find (although I just found 8 in the first 6 rows of the Art category), but they represent prices that haven't been raised in at least 4 years!

The "You've Made It to Here" Reward!
There's more to discuss, but I wanted to keep this reasonably short, so I'll save it for next time.  In past newsletters, this would be the place where we'd announce our Rochard Catalog special-order sale.  Unfortunately, those special orders are, of course, impossible now... so we'll just have a sale on EVERYTHING!  Until the end of July, all our customers will be members of our Limoges Lovers club!  You'll receive a 10% discount on all items (except sale items)!  This will be available only online (phone orders will not receive the discount), and you MUST use the promotion code:

discount

in the "Promotion Code" box when you checkout.  Use all lower case letters and press the enter key or click "Apply" when you've typed it in.  Your order will show the discount automatically (make sure it shows up before you proceed to checkout).  For our customers who are already Limoges Lovers, use your regular Limoges Lovers code and you'll receive a 15% discount during this sale period instead of 10%!  Sale will end at midnight CDT, July 31, 2007.

Thanks for being our loyal customer... we appreciate it!  And I apologize for the long time between newsletters - I'll try to keep more on schedule!

Sam Juliano
GroundStrike Collectibles
8905 Glenlake Drive
Austin, TX  78730
Toll free: 888-770-8276
http://www.groundstrike.com

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