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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Did you hear the latest? » » Hank Lee's is now closed » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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DynaMix
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I know there will be mixed feelings about this but still a sad day. (I myself have an unfulfilled order that I now assume I will have to try and get refunded through my credit card's fraud program)

The text on their site reads:
It's been a long and wonderful road; nearly four decades in business. But, we have made the difficult decision to close Hank Lee's Magic Factory.

We want to thank all of our customers and friends for their support over the past 37 years.

And, we want to assure you that this closure is not forever. We will reorganize and we will be back. Hopefully, better than ever.

If you have Gift Certificates or Reward Points, hold onto them. When we re-open, we will honor all of them.

Your friends at Hank Lee's Magic Factory
pegasus
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Hold on to your gift certificates? I don't like the sound of that. Should they not reimburse instead. I've a feeling it'll be a long time, if ever hank opens again.
Don Dasher
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Hank may get a bailout after the election. Have faith.


DD
EricDraven
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"hold onto them"
:D Smile Smile
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Platt
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Not sure why my post vanished. Maybe because I used a naughty word. Anyhow, my point was that I find this sad too. Regardless of Hanks personal issues as of late, I think it's now a different playing field. When I first began buying magic online, hocus-pocus, mjm, penguin, hank lee and many others were all equal considerations. For good or for bad, today, Penguin is crushing everybody. There was a time when they were considered rip off artists and it was an embarrassment to support them. They even admitted to their unscrupulous way and made a vow to change. They did. Today they're leading the way with live streaming lectures, an arguably attractive user friendly website and perhaps most importantly, the lowest prices in town. The hank lees of the world, and even the aggressive price slashers, like madhatter, cant keep up. Again, this is not a politically charged rant. I think what Penguin is doing is great and they deserve their success. I'm just putting the facts out there. Make no mistake about it, Murphy's/Penguin is owning it. If anyone is interested, here are the traffic ranking numbers from alexa.com.

penguinmagic.com- 45,576
ellusionist.com- 95,639
mjmmagic.com- 376,206
madhattermagicshop.com- 1,103,068
magicfact.com (hank lee) 2,952,569
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DynaMix
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Wow great post. I feel the same, Hank Lee has rubbed many customers the wrong way (myself included) but reflecting on the changes to magic, as a whole, in this digital age can sometimes be a bit of a downer. While Hank may have brought some of this on himself, it's always sad to see a giant fall.

I'd never want to see a situation where there's only 1 or 2 major magic dealers. Competition and choice is good for all of us.
John C
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Competition as long as they are honest is a good thing. Apparently Hank was not honest.
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DynaMix
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No doubt. I'm in no way excusing the credit card fraud. Just associating a lot of my memories as a youngster with both Hank and Al's (DC), both of whom are now gone (I assume).
saysold1
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I used to buy all my stuff from Hank Lees exlusively years ago. But to me they got greedy, and we all know how their situation played out.

I'm a PENGUIN guy through and through.

I like Hocus Pocus too as they are a strong niche player, but Penguin dominates and they deserve too as they earn my trust weekly/monthly.
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Magicsquared
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This doesn't make me sad as it does Platt. To me this is a success story. Hank Lee had a crappy website and customer service that ranged from non-existant to criminal.

Penguin, on the other hand, seems to constantly be striving to do better for their customers and ultimately the industry. I don't think they're doing this out of the kindness of their heart, I think they're doing it because they came to the realization that offering the lowest price (which was their old business model) doesn't build customer loyalty like really strong customer service does. Now they have things like the penguin live lectures, the "cool box" with one dramatically discounted item each day, live customer service, the Act Builder tool, and (from what I can tell) uncensored reviews on everything they offer.

The problem with MJM and madhatter is that they didn't really ever do anything to differentiate themselves. And I think it's probably inevitable that one shop was going to evolve to be the go-to place for online purchases. I don't think penguin got lucky, I think they just are the most innovative and invested in providing good service. But the moment they start taking their customers for granted, that's going to open the door for an upstart company to push penguin out of the way.

I kind of like where the magic scene is now, as far a the marketplace goes. I go to penguin a lot. But in the past few years there have been a number of boutique online shops that have sprung up as well (Vanishing Inc., Blue Crown, Theory 11) and those have their own things to offer. And of course you have people who have their own one-man operations going which is cool too. And I'm fortunate to live in a city where I can drop in on a couple "real life" magic shops as well when I just feel like browsing or shooting the breeze. To me this is a much better position than we were in maybe 5-10 years ago where there were a few more larger online magic stores, but they were essentially interchangeable.
Magic-Scott
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I'm a Penguin guy too, but still like to support my local brick & mortar magic stores. Sayonara Hank....
maxwell
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Platt, I want to clarify what you said about the early days of Penguin. The thing we were criticized for was "carrying knock-offs". At the time we picked up these (Magic Makers) items, most online and brick and mortar shops were carrying them, and we believed it was best for our customers to have a choice. We later reversed the decision to carry controversial items and discontinued them.

Just wanted to be clear! We made an open and legal business decision which we later decided was the wrong decision for us and the magic community. Penguin's success should be an example to the many dealers still carrying knock-offs that doing things the right way is good for business. It has been good for Penguin!

I would also agree with Magicsquared that the magic market is more interesting now than it was 5 years ago.

Maxwell
Penguin Co-founder
Zombie Magic
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I had all this stuff to write and then Magicsquared said it better than I could have.

Anyway, I actually don't go to Penguin because of the price. They just make it easy to order from them and they ship within a few hours of my ordering. And all the reasons
Magicsquared mentioned.
Ustaad
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Though I have never purchased from Hank Lee's (I have been a Penguin fan for many years), nevertheless it is sad to learn about the closure. But there is still a streak of hope of their return.

Smile
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Tom Jorgenson
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They're gone, I'd say. Hank won't be running it and they can't sell it: who would pay money for the name, reputation or 'goodwill' they've achieved? He sure had great newsletters, tho. Heady times.
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Irishghost
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People, he ripped off a fellow magician and was found guilty by the laws of the USA. We should move on and not pay homage to this man.
I get to gaff some cool stuff for some cool people
emyers99
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Bottom line: he should have gotten at least five years in jail and should not be allowed to re-open.
Platt
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Quote:
On 2012-11-03 21:37, maxwell wrote:
Platt, I want to clarify what you said about the early days of Penguin. The thing we were criticized for was "carrying knock-offs". At the time we picked up these (Magic Makers) items, most online and brick and mortar shops were carrying them, and we believed it was best for our customers to have a choice. We later reversed the decision to carry controversial items and discontinued them.

Just wanted to be clear! We made an open and legal business decision which we later decided was the wrong decision for us and the magic community. Penguin's success should be an example to the many dealers still carrying knock-offs that doing things the right way is good for business. It has been good for Penguin!

I would also agree with Magicsquared that the magic market is more interesting now than it was 5 years ago.

Maxwell
Penguin Co-founder


Yes, 'unscrupulous' was probably a bad choice of words. But none-the-less, penguin has come a long way and should be proud. I suppose my nostalgia for hank lee, and surely more dealers to come, is on par with my nostalgia for having the options of lycos, alta vista and excite.
Sugar Rush is here! Freakishly visual magic. http://www.plattmagic.com
motown
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I've purchased from many different sources over the years. I can't say I've ever had one go to dealer, although years ago before the internet, I used to but a lot from Magic Inc., especially books.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
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maxwell
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Thanks for your kindness, Platt. I appreciate it. And I agree that it's a sad thing Hank Lee is closed. Though by his own admission he made a serious error of judgement/conduct, he did many thousands of things right in life and in business. I think it's ok to remember the good things too.
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