Story dated 22nd May 2001
Pinball has released an open letter to the pinball community designed
to address some of the questions and concerns we have had about the
availability and future prospects of spares.
letter follows IPB's acquisition of Williams' spares business last
year but does not address the future (if any) of IPB's proposed new
pinball game Pool Player, shown at last year's AMOA show.
is the text of the letter:
An open letter to the pinball community
at Illinois Pinball Company would like to take this opportunity to
with the members of the pinball community - retailers, distributors,
operators, collectors and players - an update on the status of Illinois
Pinball and our acquisition of the Williams Industries pinball parts
business. Over the past several months there has been increasing
speculation about our activities with and intentions for the pinball
business as well as tremendous frustration due to the lack of information
and, more important, lack of parts in the distribution channel. With
letter we hope to be able to end some of this speculation and relieve
of the frustration.
announced at Pinball Expo 2000, we completed our acquisition of the
pinball parts business at the end of October. During the subsequent
while WMS prepared the remaining parts inventory for shipment, we
established 14,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Bloomington,
Illinois. In mid December we finally took delivery of over 400 pallets
parts inventory and began the arduous task of unpacking, cataloging
organizing the vast array of parts we received. These activities consumed
the bulk of our resources during the months of December, January and
February. Also during this same time frame we did our best to locate
and information to fill new orders as well as to fill the backlog
that had been taken by WMS prior to our acquiring the parts business.
Regrettably, some of these orders dated back to August 2000 having
stalled while the parts business was being sold.
are very pleased to let you know that since January we have been actively
filling distributor orders and backorders. We have completed organizing
most of the significant inventory and have many of the common parts
as well as game specific parts including plastics, ramps, decals and
translites. At present we are actively reviewing our stock levels
demand to determine which parts we need to produce. We are working
original suppliers to provide us with additional inventory as well
working to locate new sources for those parts that the original
manufacturers are unable to provide. Last, we are about to complete
installation of a computer system to aid us with inventory management,
production control and customer orders. It is our hope that these
will allow us increase the number of items we have available for sale
well as improve our order turnaround time.
cannot understate how much we have appreciated your patience through
difficult transition. We are committed to the future of pinball and
that future depends on your ability to sell, operate, service, collect
play the wonderful array of Bally and Williams games that are already
there. We are as troubled as you by the 'black market' prices to which
scarcity of parts has contributed. It is our hope that over the next
months we will be able to provide you with many of the parts that
you are so
actively seeking and earn your business.
we continue to get the parts business into full production we would
like to ask for your assistance in the following:
Please use the existing distributors to answer your game and parts
questions and to place your parts orders. At this time our limited
are dedicated to picking and filling orders and working to replenish
Please continue to be patient with any parts backordered due to being
of stock. Many parts were listed as NLA (no longer available) by WMS
many items were sold out during the final days of the WMS parts business.
mentioned above we are actively working to replace inventory through
existing and new suppliers.
Please understand that we may need to adjust some of our pricing as
incur higher production costs for replacement inventory. We will be
producing parts in hundreds or thousands as opposed to the tens of
that were produced during the original game production.
Last, we realize that intense demand and scarcity of parts have led
members of the pinball community to act to fill this demand. We
respectfully request that any companies or persons engaged in the
of manufacturing, distributing or selling 'reproduction' parts or
contact us to discuss our plans for manufacturing these items. As
above we are seeking alternate producers for many items.
you for your time in reading this letter and for your continued
interest in and support for pinball. We invite you to mail or fax
comments to us at the address below.
Illinois Pinball Company
Illinois Pinball Company
#12 Georgianne Lane
Bloomington, IL 61701
nothing exceptional or unexpected in the letter, but it does seem
that IPB will be concentrating on the supply of spares for the foreseeable
future and we welcome their commitment to that.
is also interesting to note that the name of the company has been
reshaped again from "Illinois Pin Ball Inc" to the "Illinois