APBA Game Co. moving from Lancaster

An announcement of a rather consequential decision by APBA CEO John Herson came down the pipes yesterday:

 

July 28, 2011

APBA Fans,

For almost 60 years APBA has been based in the Lancaster area. After a lot of consideration and soul searching, APBA will be relocating to Alpharetta Georgia during the month of August. During this relocation, there will be few days when APBA is unable to take orders or ship products. As the relocation plan is finalized, we will share those dates. This was a hard decision to make but I believe it is necessary.

There will be a subsequent letter discussing the details of the transition, including roles for the current APBA team members.

There will be a warehouse sale of card products. Please check out the specifics at APBAGames.com.

There are two other things I want to discuss. Unfortunately, but not unexpected, the new printer is having issues programming the baseball cards. The issue is that the result numbers on the cards do not line up in the APBA format. The printer is working with Kodak’s programmers to resolve this issue. With this delay, the 1960 and 1964 seasons will not be shipping the week of August 2nd. This is disappointing but APBA remains committed to digital printing and just-in time inventory management.

With the relocation to the Georgia, I need to know where do you want have the 2012 Convention. Marc has set-up a discussion on the forum for your replies.

I know this is a big change for APBA. This decision is four years in the making. Only the location has changed not the commitment to customer service or quality products.

I would like to thank all of the APBA team for their years of services and contributions especially in the dark difficult days when baseball cards were not issued until the following summer. I also want to thank the APBA community for its support.

Regards,

John

 

Let’s put aside the printing issue, for NOW.

The company’s move to Georgia… now that’s an issue that’s going to raise some eyebrows at the very least. 

Newcomers to the game may not think much of it.  However, those of us who have been playing APBA for a while and associate the game with the town of Lancaster, PA, that’s a different story.  Is it simply a prudent business move or as one APBA fan said (rather melodramatically), “APBA died today”?

I’m generally not a sentimental person.  But there is something to be said for uprooting a yourself (as a person or a company) and moving away from where you were incepted and resided for 60 years.  Do you lose something in the process? 

Only time will tell.

Apparently, you do lose some people.  Product Manager Veryl Lincoln will no longer be with the Company.  Neither will President Marc Rinaldi.  Jon Sellers, the web master, will also not be be going to Georgia. 

From apbaintl on the Between the Lines forum:

Marc,Veryl and Jon will not be retained. Skeet Carr has tentatively agreed to continue to work part time at home for some card development work. He’s been part time over the last couple of years, since he retired.

Let me say that I will miss Veryl and Marc.  They’ve had great customer relations skills and were great guys (never met Jon myself).  Marc had the patience of Job when dealing with irate customers on the forums, a task I’m sure that wasn’t easy.

Lots of changes in store for the Company and they’ll have to work to ensure the trust of the customers.  Call it a “proving ground”.  Unfortunately, the comments on the APBA forums are not full of optimism.  The aforementioned printing issues are not giving them a head start either.

But having said all that, I urge people to not let sentimentality cloud their judgments on this issue.  Let’s make our calls on the practical matters (ok, the printing issue falls in that category).  Yes, our APBA packages’ return labels read “Lancaster, PA” since we were kids but times change. 

The next year in APBA will be key, no doubt.

Posted by: | Category: Company Announcements | Tags: , , | 11 comments

  • Steve Stein says:

    I certainly expect a disruption in next year’s baseball set, which we’ll all have to suffer through. I think the key year will be Year 2 – how good will the new staff be at learning the lessons of Year 1?

    I don’t know the APBA guys personally, but I’m sorry to hear they won’t be back. By and large, they have served customers well.

    There have been troublesome product hiccups, and I wonder who has been responsible for these… if it has been Herson, he’d better step up his game. In any case, staffing the new place will be a real test, and I’m not optimistic.

    As for the printer issues, hell, I’ll GIVE them a Microsoft Word mail-merge template with 9 cards on it. It’s snappier than the current one, too – (Bitstream Amerigo!), but they can change it back if they like. I guarantee the dice roll and result numbers line up.

    And if I might offer some advice to Mr Herson – As far as BBW goes – please give it up! Sell the rights to someone who understands software development – it has been distracting for you, I’m sure, and you can recognize some revenue through licensing.

  • Chuck Foley says:

    This is quite a strange announcement. Normally, a company changing locales for their operation is their business, but in the case of APBA, I think we all feel a bit of kinship with the company. What was it Jerry Seinfeld said about sport teams, “We root for the laundry, not the player.” In this case, APBA is the “laundry” we root for.
    But just who, or what, is APBA now?
    It seems even more questionable given that Mr. Herson did not make the APBA convention in Lancaster. His excuse has developed a bit more of a limp, shall we say.
    Maybe the forthcoming explanation will clear up things, but Mr. Herson is not representing himself, and thus the company, with much clarity.
    One more thing: how did Mr. Herson become in charge of APBA, and why? Perhaps he will prove to be exactly what APBA needs in the long run, but if anyone can answer the above questions, I, for one, would be interested in reading about them. Thanks for reading!

  • All good questions, Chuck. Perhaps it’s time for another interview of the CEO??

  • Ron Seamans says:

    Never do internet when I can avoid it, but when my wife Lynne called me with the depressing news of APBA pulling up tent pegs moments ago searched “APBA fan blog” and found this site. This news makes meI feel as if I am an Israeli citizen who has been chased from Judea and Samaria by an attack of Muslim arson intifada terrorists.

    My first trek to Lancaster was back in my last year at Rutgers (YECHHH!) in 1968 with a friend from Cleveland, Al Petrov, who introduced me to the game. Later my wife and I moved to the area and have been in PA never more than 15 miles away from the company for some 34 years. The last 26 years residing EXACTLY five miles to where its current tournaments have been held

    (Strangely, we measured it on the drive home from the last tournament! I AM NOT DRIVING TO GEORGIA … especially NOT when Veryl Lincoln will likely not be there to tell me about the current replay he has finished. Nor will cheerful Marc and Sandy Rinaldi be there to keep tournaments smoothly running. And who else told better anecdotes about the vagaries of Seitz ‘personality’ than Skeet.

    These are good people who knew and had interest in the customers with whom they came face-to-face… as for someone named John Herson?

    Just HOW much trust or confidence should one have in a faceless entity that seemed not to have the decency or respect for the game’s products or fans to make an appearance at any especially the LAST tournament.

    Well, I suppose I could take the game system, make some very minor changes to the playcharts and produce something for myself –

    how does National Pastime sound?

    ps. Let me also PROUDLY note, that there has been no woman who has competed in as many APBA Tournaments than my long-suffering wife, Lynne.

    pps. DANG! I have waited for years to see the stupid 1930 Cards to be retired with that RIDICULOUS Pucinelli card… then this happens. Although, actually, I had never lost to the team in tournament (even beating this years champion Chris Source). Just always raised my hackles that someone with about 20 plate appearances was never somewhat downgraded.

  • Bob Stanton says:

    Funny thing about business relocations, several studies have shown the most common element–about 2/3 of the time–is the move brings the headquarters closer to the CEO’s home.

    Substantial employee downsizing and inventory liquidation generally are signs of a distressed business. Only time will tell if Herson’s plan rights the ship. As a satisifed customer I wish him well.

  • James says:

    A surprising development and a difficult decision I’m sure. My Thanks to the APBA staff for the tremendous service all these years. They are great people and have been loyal employees for sure.

    I am interested in hearing the answer’s to Chuck Foley’s questions posted earlier if anyone has them. How long has Mr. Herson owned APBA? Does anyone have an idea of the value of the company these days?

  • Wade Sanders says:

    I am very sorry to learn APBA is moving out of Lancaster, PA. I first played the football game in 1967. For about 25 years APBA games were my way to relax and make new friends. APBA has been a great hobby for me. Only once was I fortunate enough to visit Lancaster. In my opinion APBA will not be same in a new city. I hope the company can survive. I am sorry that the long-serving employees are losing jobs I know they loved. In the last few years APBA in Lancaster has remined me of my youth and many good times with good friends. APBA moving makes me think of when the Colts left Baltimore. Sad.

  • Brett says:

    Wow. I thought they had left Lancaster long ago. Were they still in the building on Millersville Rd?

  • Rod Caborn says:

    After reading all the posts bemoaning the changes APBA is undergoing, it might be prudent to think about what happens if Mr. Herson’s gallant effort to save the company falls short.

    While we all enjoy the game, we need to remind ourselves that APBA is a business. If the business fails, we’re all losers.

    The changes that Mr. Herson are instituting are likely necessary to keep APBA alive and kicking.

    Crying over the past is not going to help APBA’s future. I am surprised at the lack of positive input and suggestions expressed by gamers. All the hand-wringing is not the answer.

    As far as departing Lancaster, I applaud the change. Lancaster is an out of the way place that is hard to reach and, at least to me, locked into the past. The hotels are out of the 1960s and getting older. Lancaster might make a great shrine, but the world has changed since Dick Seitz introduced APBA in 1950.

    Atlanta has a lot more going for it than Lancaster, including access to new and different resources that could, in fact, be positive for APBA. And lots of better hotel rooms…and it’s easy to reach from anywhere in the U.S.

    I’ve played APBA since 1956 and, while it’s great to be nostalgic, the only certainty in life is change. The APBA community needs to adapt to the changes that are occurring and be as supportive as possible, in order that the game survives.

    One final thought: no one else but Mr. Herson has stepped forward and put his money where his mouth is. Talk is cheap…and, to the best of my knowledge, Mr. Herson is the only person who has gone through the trouble of putting together a business plan and investing money in APBA. More power to him. I am cheering for his success.

    Rod Caborn
    Winter Park, FL

  • Churchville Outlaw GM says:

    I hope it continues. I love this game

  • Churchville Outlaw GM says:

    I am the son of a 25 year apba baseball member. And I am currently drawing more and more of my friends to join my league so hopefully every little bit helps.


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