May 2011 News

We know we’re running late with this blog, but luckily we’ve been so busy, no-one’s even allowed in the office, let alone to sit down and actually write anything. The good news is, we’ve finally splashed out on an answering machine – we know it’s annoying, but we will ring you back at the next available tea break. The safest way is probably to email if you can’t get hold of us – it’s usually only this chaotic until everyone settles down in August.

We’ve just returned from another adventure – our delivery of parquet was delayed and we urgently needed to stuff a container bound for Russia. Carriers couldn’t meet our deadline, so we made the slightly rash decision to fetch it ourselves from Portugal. (Its only 1400 miles each way, and very scenic.) The trusty Landcruiser and trailer made it as far as Bordeaux before collapsing into limp mode (top speed 40mph and no chance of pulling an overloaded trailer back).

The trusty Landcruiser

"We use it for jobs that the 7.5 tonne truck can’t cope with"

 After a gruelling hot afternoon in the French rush hour, we found the Toyota dealer, as advertised in the manual and on the internet, had moved 15 YEARS AGO. After a quiet sob, the prospect of a £2000 bill and a five day delay, Joe threw a tantrum and the car perked up and completed the journey. The turbo’s fine, it was just a leaky pipe.

So.. if anyone’s interested, the trusty Landcruiser is available for sale – it’s a Y reg, done lots of miles, but is an amazingly powerful towing vehicle. We use it for jobs that the 7.5 tonne truck can’t cope with.

Being based at the marina, and having run trip boats for many years (Joe holds a Boat Master’s licence so can perform weddings and funerals at sea), we are finally hanging up the lock keys and selling two trip boats, Soar Bottom Lady 1 and 2. You don’t need a special licence to operate if you take no more than twelve passengers, and it really is a good way to spend the summer and earn some extra cash.

Soar Bottom Lady 1 and 2

"it really is a good way to spend the summer and earn some extra cash"

We used to do evening trips to restaurants, barbecues, picnics, romantic champagne breakfast cruises, fish and chip suppers, scattering human remains, as well as short public trips at shows or from riverside pubs. Anyone interested in starting a trip boat business on a shoestring, get in touch. Both boats have reliable inboard motors, fully tested and legal – ready to earn.

 
Back to business – we have recently added an online shop, accessible through our web pages. It’s for those who can’t wait for office hours or don’t want to risk getting Grumpy Joe on the phone. All the prices include carrier delivery. VAT is added on checkout, so it looks more expensive than the web price list. It’s definitely better to ring or email us for a quote for multiple items so we can reduce the shipping price, but if you just want to order a pair of dance floor corners or the odd panel at midnight, its quick and easy, and provided it’s in stock, we’ll despatch with a next day courier.

Anyone interested in our grid floor – supplied in aluminium or galvanised steel – remember we now make a metric version of the old Weblok boarded tent floor, so it fits your structures perfectly every time. It’s the only dual purpose tent floor – use it on our perfectly level slot together grid or directly onto the ground. We’re still making the original 8ft x 2ft tent floor boards as they’re a more economical option.

Due to popular demand, we’ve reintroduced the old ‘Four in One Games alley. The panels and edging connect in the same way as our dance floors, giving an alley 16ft long by 2ft 8in wide, with a 2ft catch box at the end and a ball return channel edging. The alley can be extended in 4ft multiples, and the games box comes complete with skittles and three composite bowls, a golf target game, putter and six golf balls, and two extra games, ring toss and horseshoes, which can be played indoors on the alley, or outdoors on grass next to the alley. This is a great hire item for fetes, charities, pubs, parties, scouts etc, giving them the kit for up to three games at once, and a very good return at only £495 plus VAT.

Another new product is the first mobile regulation dart match board. This comes complete with regulation length ockey, professional dart board and two good sets of darts, score board with light, marker pens and heavy duty PVC all weather cover. This folds neatly away after use, but can be used indoors or out for a professional darts tournament, with no risk of damaging the surrounding décor. Another really simple and profitable hire item at only £495 plus VAT.

Hope everyone’s tents stayed put in this dreadful windy weather – can hardly believe it’s nearly the end of May. We’ll always remember the aptly named Swallow structure Owen Brown’s proudly demonstrated for the first time at Hertfordshire Show, and true to its name, it completely blew away – in July.

Remember, beware Chinese imitations, rich American playboys and BUY BRITISH. Support British manufacturers, we’re an endangered species!

The team at Grumpy Joe ‘s

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March 2011 News

Snowdrops

Spring’s here and the pace is picking up – we’ve survived winter blues again and we’re BUSY!! Joe just celebrated his 73rd birthday, still working ten to twelve hours a day, still delivering at weekends because he enjoys it (although disappointed it was too cold to paddle at Rhyll last weekend) and thanks to the lads from North Wales Marquees for unloading us so efficiently.

The season’s obviously started early, we’re taking on more staff and we’re deep into making our new aluminium grid floor that takes our boarded floor or your old Weblok boards. Although it works well with the old 8ft x 2ft panels, there’s always the problem of the specials to fit between the tent legs and make it all metric, and that still doesn’t solve the length of the rows and fitting to varying lengths of tent.

WE’VE FINALLY DONE IT – As well as the 8′ x 2′ panels we are now also making metric flooring on the same principle as the old Weblok. The panels fit our grid floor perfectly, any bay size and width, any length metric tent. We believe this is the only cassette type flooring that can be used directly onto the ground without its base, so dual purpose flooring. We supply it sealed with three coats of tough acrylic lacquer, so it can be a dance floor, a sub floor or a perfectly level or raised grid floor, without the need for carpeting. It’s the same profile as the old Weblok flooring, so your edging will fit for doorways and we can provide a transition row if you want to lay it with your existing boarded floor stock.

VIP Special offers. We have a few slightly damaged (small scratches or dents) folding bars counters for sale at £200 plus VAT courtisy of TNT who dropped a delivery.

Maple stage tops

We’ve also got some beautiful stage tops, 6mm maple on 12mm plywood to fit our 8ft x 4ft folding rostra. They are for sale at £100 each plus VAT. If you’re passing Junction 24 of the M1, call in and have a look and a coffee. Our complaints department will proudly show you all the seconds we’ve amassed – you wouldn’t believe the lengths our staff will go to find new ways to ‘improve’ our products.

You can also see the new lit poseur/cocktail tables, folding lit wedding cake stands, and the new folding top stages which we’re selling like hot cakes for the new Zumba craze to fitness instructors.

Loch Ranoch Feb 2011

Joe’s a bit grumpier than usual – we’ve just returned from a classic break in the Highlands of Scotland – arrived by AA Relay, following a snow plough to our destination, and had to send the dog home with hyperthermia. Otherwise – a beautiful break which reminded us that our marina isn’t as cold and isolated as we thought.


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January 2011 News

January’s half way through already, and Christmas holidays seem a distant memory. Joe still managed to look Grumpy on a boat in the Caribbean, but he’d just heard we’d been robbed again (4am Christmas morning) so he was having a bad day.

He might have been worrying about Sparky the canary, but we’re pleased to report that he’s alive and well and looking forward to seeing the Health and Safety inspector again soon.

We’ve been kept busy luckily with lots of orders for our new lit folding tables, folding lit wedding cake stands, poseur tables and lit dance floors which are now being sold in the States.

We’ve even got orders for four lit floors on American cruise ships.

Over Christmas we made stage tops for the Strictly Come Dancing Touring Show, as well as relaquering their 1250 parquet panels. (Did you know, one man lays those panels in two and a half hours on his own, with just casual labour to fetch and carry – that must be a world record). The stage has to split into four and is wheeled off from the centre of the arena during the show – all very impressive, but unfortunately, the dancers were slipping on the shiny surface. We’re having the tops back overnight this week and refinishing them non-slip, to fit in with their very tight schedule, and keeping everything crossed that none of the lacquer line or sanders break down!

We went to see the show when it visited Nottingham last weekend, and it really is spectacular; well worth a visit. Even Grumpy got quite emotional as we rarely see the floors laid and in use, and 1250 panels newly lacquered looked fantastic.

Due to current financial pressures we have had to make redundancies in our complaints department. If you do ring through with a problem you now have the option of speaking to our Indian call center or Grumpy Joe. Good luck (or the best of British) which ever option you choose!

P.S. We have a top of the range Wyvern organ available for sale at a bargain price. It’s the biggest organ made which doesn’t need pipes, and would suit a cathedral or theatre. Who knows why Joe bought it? Why does he keep buying organs when he can’t play? Why do we now have six organs of various shapes and sizes taking up valuable storage space? If you know anyone who may be interested,  please do give us a call on 01509 670 006 because we’re getting fed up of people whistling”Oh we do like to be beside the seaside” each time they go past…

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December 2011 News

A quick newsletter to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. We won’t be doing a hard sell as we’re luckily very busy and may even have to postpone our Christmas break till mid January. Those who’ve visited us at Redhill Marina will know that we don’t believe in central heating (or any heating), and we’ve been well and truly frozen – the coffee machine froze up, but it was just as well as so did the toilets.

Laying the Strictly Come Dancing parquet dance floor

Joe did bring in a couple of space heaters – not for the workers, (they just need to wear more clothes), it was to keep the lacquer line flowing. We’ve just sanded and applied four coats of lacquer to the Strictly Come Dancing Parquet dance floor which goes on tour in January – 1200 panels in half a day, which might be a new world record!
 
We’ve been panicking about Sparky, the fume detector canary, and worrying he may get hyperthermia, and we’d be blamed for killing him with solder fumes, so we’ve had to put extra heat into the lit floor workshop as well, but it’s kept Grumpy’s Angels happy and working well.

Sparky the canary

Save Sparky

Talking about the Angels – we can only apologise if they’ve contacted any of our customers asking for donations for the b…..y canary or extraction plant. We know the fumes won’t hurt him, but they are so uptight that they’ve started their own campaign to Save Sparky (www.savesparky.co.uk) and are now starting to sell Save Our Sparky merchandise. They’ve even set up a web cam so they can keep an eye on him when they’re not at work, and they’re pestering for donations to buy the extractor and let Sparky off his Health and Safety duties. We’re now having to deal with hate mail from animal rights people emailing stoptheboss@savesparky.co.uk. All we wanted to do was make the Health and Safety inspector consider whether the fumes really are dangerous. Our baby canary is fit and very well.
 
Like the rest of the country, we have been struggling to keep up with deliveries in the snow. Having spent an unpleasant night on the M20 and M25 behind 400 lorries, we then had a deadline to meet in Edinburgh. Our van had tried once and got as far as Uttoxeter, so we headed off in Joe’s trusty 4 x 4 and trailer. Despite the M1 being closed, we battled through the untreated roads of Sheffield, up the A1M and the dreaded Coldstream and A68 and arrived in Edinburgh to find the tent roof had collapsed under the weight of snow and the Spirit of Scotland Awards were cancelled. After a quick coffee and homemade shortbread by their log fire, we attempted the return journey, now in freezing fog at minus 10 degrees. 

Having been stuck for hours on the A68, we finally found that the police had closed the road, but luckily the British spirit came out in lots of stranded motorists who helped unhook our trailer and turn us round, and a convoy of the bravest set out cross country through deep snow and we eventually got home the next day with our reputation for not letting a customer down still intact.

There’s no special offer this month – we can’t afford special offers AND Christmas shut down holiday pay.

Aluminium chair

We’re still offering the ridiculously priced aluminium Cheltenham type chairs, any colour frame,  at £22.50 including the seat pad, and we’ve discounted several folding bar counters with varying dents and scrapes courtesy of TNT. We’ve also got a once used black and white tent floor, 16ft x 16ft with edging in a trolley for £1500 plus VAT.

Tip of the Day – if we send you anything by TNT or other carrier, if you don’t have time to unpack it in front of the driver, PLEASE sign as DAMAGED. If it’s not damaged, no harm done. If it is damaged, you can claim. If it’s signed as unchecked or just signed as received, they will wriggle out of paying for any damage. We hope this will cover us and maybe stop the drivers throwing heavy items off the truck.

Enough moaning for one month – have a great Christmas and a happy new year.

PS did you hear about the Cessna plane that crashed on Dublin cemetery? They’ve recovered 1500 bodies so far!

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November 2010 News

It was great to see you all!

 Showman Stand 2010The Showman’s Show seems like a distant memory – and many thanks to all those who ordered and kept the gluing ladies and Grumpy’s Angels in work. It’s become a social occasion for us as well as a place to show our new products, and we had a great three days in Newbury, good weather, and a chat with lots of old friends.

You’ll be pleased to know that Ralph really enjoyed himself and is feeling much better now!Cheltenham Chair


We still have some of the ALUMINIUM GILT BANQUETING CHAIRS available at the bargain price of £22.50 including seat pad. They look identical to a wooden Cheltenham type chair, but won’t fall to bits if they get left outside in the rain. Frame can be powder coated any colour – don’t miss out, VAT is going up in January, and we need the space.

Second-hand black and white tent floorWe’ve also got a 16ft x 16ft second hand black and white tent floor, used once and in very good condition, for sale, with edging and trolley. List price is £1733, and it’s available to the first caller for £1500. All prices plus VAT and delivery. This is the floor with the timber battens, same profile and clips as Weblok tent floor, with 15mm exterior ply base and 3mm cast acrylic top, all contained in a three quarter inch aluminium angle. It looks identical to Publok when laid, but is much less expensive and more robust. It will lay directly onto grass or any surface, indoors or out, without needing a level subfloor below.

Sparky 3rd our newest employeeWe’ve just had a notice to provide additional extraction in the lighting room to protect Grumpy’s Angels from the solder fumes under Workplace Exposure Limits (WEL) and Local Exhaust ventilation (LEV).  As usual, Joe’s come up with a traditional remedy, and we now have Sparky 3rd, a singing canary, as a permanent resident – if he’s ok, the lighting ladies are safe.
(Don’t ask what happened to Sparky 1 and 2.) We’re now trying to buy sawdust free timber!

Raising the flagAt the Showman’s Show we dutifully filled in the required method statements and risk assessments, but Jody and Sym took the law into their own hands to ensure we raised the Union Jack and the St George Cross. This is very important to us all as we battle the inferior Chinese copies of our floors. Also our competitors is now wholly American owned – some of their products may be made in Derbyshire, but they have been kings of knock off Chinese products for several years.

Wireless lit dance floorWe’ve heard rumours that they are bad mouthing our WIRELESS twinkling acrylic dancefloor don’t believe a word of it – our new floor connectors are now 100% foolproof, the floor has 8 connectors per panel and no bulky and time consuming wiring loom, and lays as fast as a regular Publok type dance floor. We warranty them for a year, and have many satisfied customers (and a waiting list). Remember, I Joe the first wired LED dance floor version, and had nothing but trouble with wiring and plugs being pulled out by careless staff, or vibrating out in use. The wireless version is not only easier to use, but also MUCH CHEAPER.

Wireless Poseur TableIf you didn’t make it to Newbury, have a look on the web at our new lit products – lit bar counters, a battery operated twinkling wedding cake stand and  a really popular cocktail/poseur table with the led’s and rechargeable batteries hidden in the pedestal  leg, with remote controlled colour changing (seven colours) – great with or without a cover. We’re also now making custom trolleys for the knockdown and folding cocktail tables – making storing and moving them much easier.

And finally …… 

Jody in the very small shower
Jody, Joe’s son in the hotel bathroom in Newbury


Are people in Newbury shorter than in Nottingham?

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October 2010 News

Union JackBuy British

We’re now having to fight the new Chinese copy of our
black and white and aluminium floor.
It’s an exact copy, so we should be proud, imitation is the highest form of flattery, but it’s not tried and tested, and comes by the containerful with no knowledge, skill or warranty. Just another way to make a quick buck on the back of someone else’s ideas and business.

We’re already competing with the rich Americans who’ve pinched my trade names and now the Chinese knock off merchants! We are one of the few British manufacturers not closed down by draconian health and safety laws, paying British employees in pounds and paying our taxes every week (well, most weeks). Stick with us and we’ll try to match their prices and see them off. Buy British and let’s try to keep at least something being made here and not in China.

Further thoughts from Chairman Joe!

Grumpy's AngelsYou may remember our happy band of gluing ladies (some of them were orphans and they used to huddle round the fax machine, hoping for a parquet dance floor order).
They were so busy over the millennium that they didn’t get their Christmas party till mid January, and several had babies that September!
With the switch in popularity from parquet to black and white and acrylic, they’ve been nearly redundant, but we’ve now retrained and have them happily soldering LEDs into our new twinkling products. We’ve had to add in some grandchildren and other family members at weekends and school holidays to keep up with demand, but we now know it wasn’t just sniffing the glue that kept them giggling and chatting – they’re just a happy bunch.
They felt left out when Joe ordered the Grumpy Joe corporate polo’s and fleeces for the Showman’s Show, and he stupidly agreed that they could order their own uniform. We now have black shirts with twinkling stars and fluorescent GRUMPY’S ANGELS emblazoned over the back, not the discreet logo we were expecting.

This month’s blog offer

We don’t do show offers on principle, but anyone ordering ANYTHING before the end of November and mentioning GRUMPY’S ANGELS can either have free delivery or 5% discount, whichever is greater.

We’re still over-run with the brilliant ALUMINIUM Cheltenham type chairs and need the space back. Aluminium-Chair-special-offer We can powder coat the frames any colour and at only £25 each, INCLUDING the seat pad they’re a steal!
REMEMBER VAT goes up to 20% in January, so if you’re not VAT registered (or like us have always got cash flow problems) – get your orders in before Christmas.
Don’t wait till next season and hope they’re still available.

Showmans Show 20th – 21st October


We’re at the Showmans Show on Newbury Showground 20th and 21stOctober, and really hope to see old friends and customers there. As usual we’ll have free bacon rolls, burgers and hot drinks; it’s not a hard sell, just a chance to catch up and demo old and new products. Ask one of the team for a ticket and order whatever food you fancy free of charge. We had to bring this system in as word spread that the food and drink was free last year, and we gave away three times as much as usual to all the car park and security staff and half of Newbury came for breakfast and lunch.

As Joe can’t stop himself buying ‘bargains’ at auctions, you may know we sell all sorts of stuff on Ebay as Joe’s Auction Sales. We’ve all been so busy lately, we’ve not had time to list new items, so we’ll confuse even more visitors at the show with an array of miscellaneous but interesting bargains – absolutely nothing to do with our products, but he’s 73 and has to be allowed his hobbies. So – if anyone’s interested in wobble display stands in several sizes, very unique, a coin operated elephant children’s ride, or two very snazzy quad bikes, one sporty and one more sedate, you can see, try and take them home from the show.

Poseur Table - Shown with coverCake/Presentation TableFor taking home with you, we’ll also have our acrylic floor cleaner, carpet tape and double-sided tape, wedding cake stands and lit battery operated poseur/cocktail tables with their own custom trolley (holds ten), as well as the demo floors and trolleys after the show.

Visit our website at www.GrumpyJoe.co.uk

and finally

If you think you’ve got transport problems…

Dance Floor Car BashWhen we bought our new tail lift van and managed to drop the first lit floor trolley onto the customer’s car on its first delivery, we didn’t think we could beat that for a story. We’ve just moved up into needing a 7.5 tonner, with all the hassle of operator’s licences, six-week inspections, etc. On the first trip, we managed to roll it backwards on a hill start, causing a thousand pounds worth of damage to the transit van behind. (No picture available, the van driver was too irate). Our new lorry squashedOn the second day, we got a fine for being caught in a bus lane. We lectured the driver, and he really tried hard to keep out of trouble on the third day, but had to swerve on a narrow lane and caught the corner of the box on a low branch – and wrote the lorry body off. He managed to get a train home, but was late back, so couldn’t do his deliveries next day, and we had to get to Somerset and winch the Multi Hire Accidentbody back on, fix it with ratchet straps and limp it home.
So.. please don’t ask why we have to charge for deliveries.
It’s not a new problem as the picture of our lorry and trailer on its side across the M1 from our Multi-Hire days will show – and that was on its way to the MFI factory Christmas party. It’s really no wonder Joe’s Grumpy.

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Newsletter September 2010

Offer of the Month

We’re starting these newsletters with a couple of special offers to try to get over the problem that no-one wants to order anything in the last weeks of September and October as they’re all waiting in hopes of discounts at the Showman’s Show.  On principle we don’t do show specials, we keep our prices low all year and don’t juggle them for different customers.

We need the space, so are offering our ALUMINIUM Cheltenham type stacking chairs, in your choice of frame colour, Aluminium-Chair-special-offerwith a seat pad, for just £25 each.  These chairs usually retail at £32, so it’s a great saving – they can be used indoors or out, look identical to the wooden version, but are lighter to transport and won’t fall to bits when the glue gets damp.  We’ve successfully sold burnt gold, (see Joe below covered in gold powder), silver, black and white, but will have a go at other colours on request.

Bar Counters
We’ve improved the lighting strips for the front of our bars, and now offer a colour changing strip which gives a wash of seven different colours, or can be left on a colour changing programme at varying speeds.  We had to put the prices up since last year’s introductory offer, but this month’s special offer is 10% off any bar counter, backs, corners, bags, speed rails or ice buckets IF ordered before the Showman’s Show, 20th October (we expect to be inundated then).

Twinkling TableWe are re-introducing our lit twinkling battery operated tables – rounds or trestles, with the same Zigby technology as our starlight twinkling floors.  A controller in each table sends and receives the signal from a remote control handset, operating all the tables in the marquee, either static all on, all off, or twinkling at various speeds.  With up to 64 ultrabrite LEDs per table, the 24v rechargeable batteries last between eight and ten hours constant use, and there are no trailing wires as the LED and wiring is sandwiched in the tabletop in manufacture.  Prices from £200 including battery pack and charger.

 We are negotiating with a German manufacturer to distribute their battery powered LED portable light fittings.  We think they’ll be great for the marquee and event business. Very simple to use, controlled by remote fob, either select the colour to suit the customer or event, or programme a colour changing sequence for amazing effects.  Low voltage, no wiring, easy to just place around the marquee, we will be offering uplighters, spot lights, table centres and lit poseur/cocktail/wedding cake tables.  We are working on pricing and literature now, and will be showing them at the BPM Exhibition at the NEC from 2nd-4th October (aimed at DJs, discos, clubs etc) with the lit bars, lit tables etc.  If anyone would like a free ticket, give us a call.  We’ll also have everything at the Showman’s Show in Newbury, on Avenue F on 20th and 21st October, with the usual coffee and burgers to keep out the cold.

For all these high tech products, we’ve had to enlist the help of the younger generation – they’re the only ones not terrified by the new 32 tool twin head, twin table CNC machine.  Simply press and go, stand back and it replaces at least four Italians AND is fast and accurate!  

Visit our website or give us a call
on 01509 670 006. 
We are always happy to hear from you.

Best wishes from Grumpy Joe and the Team

Joe Weston Webb powder coated in gold

 

 

 

 

 

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