Hello Ferret and All,
Ferret, firstly congratulations on the success of your special exhibit at the 2009 Festival of Quilts. I have heard directly from many attendees that is was a huge success! Best wishes for the future.
Secondly, thank you for taking the time to share your heartfelt thoughts and concerns. It is through dialogues such as this one, and with input from customers and artists like yourself who have the courage to speak up on this forum that enable APQS to grow and improve as a company.
I extend to you, my sincere apologies for your bad experiences at the FOC and your machine issues. Our two main goals at APQS are always to build by hand the world's best quilting machines and provide the best aftersale customer service possible. Having said that, we are human and sometimes make mistakes. Again, my apologies.
The decision not to exhibit at the FOC was mine and mine alone. As you know, in the days and weeks leading up to the FOC, APQS was preoccupied with terminating our former APQS UK dealer and working to get Linzi Upton set-up as our new UK dealer. This was not an easy process but something that had to be done. Again it was my decision to miss the FOC this year. This decision did not come easily. We have been a regular exhibitor at the FOC for many years. At the end of the day, I did not feel that we had the time and resources to attend the festival in a correct and professional manner. I have personally exhibited at the FOC and have had a wonderful experience. The Twisted Threads company who produces the Festival of Quilts is a very professional group and one with whom APQS has a good and long-standing relationship. We greatly appreciate your offers to promote APQS, but because we chose not to rent booth space, we just did not feel right in promoting APQS through your special exhibit. Quilt Festivals and shows such as the FOC earn a large part of their revenue from exhibitors renting booth space. We would not have felt right promoting APQS from your special exhibit. We will be exhibiting at the Festival of Quilts 2010 with Linzi Upton representing us in the APQS booth. We have all the confidence in the world in Linzi. If you give her a chance as the new APQS UK rep, I promise you, you will not be disappointed.
I also apologize that your brand-new quilting head arrived at your studio scuffed and dented. That was certainly not our intent. Shipping quilting machines around the world is not an easy task. We are constantly working at better and safer boxing methods to assure your machine arrives safely.
Of the three largest quilting machines companies today (APQS, Gammill, and Handi-Quilter), we are the only company that that has been able to remain family-owned and operated. In this very competitive environment, it is critical that we strive to improve ourselves daily.
I spoke with Mark Caraher this morning about improving APQS's service and technical education in the UK. Beginning now, every time that Mark is teaching maintenance classes at our European sales and training center in Germany, he will make arrangements to visit the UK and teach similar classes there. Mark and Linzi will work together to determine where these classes will be held. Chances are, they will rotate from area to area around the UK.
Lastly, I would like to use this dialogue as an opportunity to solicit customers from the UK and anywhere else who have an unresolved maintenance issue. Please contact me directly via email or telephone. We will work hard to fix your issues and keep you quilting:D
Keep quilting and please keep using this wonderful open and public forum. The more dialogues we have like this one, the better APQS becomes as a company!