Story dated 22nd May 2001

Illinois 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.

The 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.

Here is the text of the letter:

Subject: An open letter to the pinball community

We at Illinois Pinball Company would like to take this opportunity to share
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 parts
business as well as tremendous frustration due to the lack of information
and, more important, lack of parts in the distribution channel. With this
letter we hope to be able to end some of this speculation and relieve some
of the frustration.

As announced at Pinball Expo 2000, we completed our acquisition of the WMS
pinball parts business at the end of October. During the subsequent weeks,
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 of
parts inventory and began the arduous task of unpacking, cataloging and
organizing the vast array of parts we received. These activities consumed
the bulk of our resources during the months of December, January and into
February. Also during this same time frame we did our best to locate parts
and information to fill new orders as well as to fill the backlog of orders
that had been taken by WMS prior to our acquiring the parts business.
Regrettably, some of these orders dated back to August 2000 having been
stalled while the parts business was being sold.

We 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 in stock
as well as game specific parts including plastics, ramps, decals and
translites. At present we are actively reviewing our stock levels and past
demand to determine which parts we need to produce. We are working with WMS
original suppliers to provide us with additional inventory as well as
working to locate new sources for those parts that the original
manufacturers are unable to provide. Last, we are about to complete the
installation of a computer system to aid us with inventory management,
production control and customer orders. It is our hope that these actions
will allow us increase the number of items we have available for sale as
well as improve our order turnaround time.

We cannot understate how much we have appreciated your patience through this
difficult transition. We are committed to the future of pinball and realize
that future depends on your ability to sell, operate, service, collect and
play the wonderful array of Bally and Williams games that are already out
there. We are as troubled as you by the 'black market' prices to which the
scarcity of parts has contributed. It is our hope that over the next few
months we will be able to provide you with many of the parts that you are so
actively seeking and earn your business.

While 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 resources
are dedicated to picking and filling orders and working to replenish

* Please continue to be patient with any parts backordered due to being out
of stock. Many parts were listed as NLA (no longer available) by WMS and
many items were sold out during the final days of the WMS parts business. As
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 we
incur higher production costs for replacement inventory. We will be
producing parts in hundreds or thousands as opposed to the tens of thousands
that were produced during the original game production.

* Last, we realize that intense demand and scarcity of parts have led some
members of the pinball community to act to fill this demand. We
respectfully request that any companies or persons engaged in the practice
of manufacturing, distributing or selling 'reproduction' parts or assemblies
contact us to discuss our plans for manufacturing these items. As mentioned
above we are seeking alternate producers for many items.

Thank 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 your
comments to us at the address below.

Very sincerely,

Kim Carter
Illinois Pinball Company

Illinois Pinball Company
#12 Georgianne Lane
Bloomington, IL 61701
309-828-6993 (phone)
309-828-1182 (fax)


There's 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.

It is also interesting to note that the name of the company has been reshaped again from "Illinois Pin Ball Inc" to the "Illinois Pinball Company".


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