Commerce and TFL
Some vigorous discussion has begun to erupt on one of the threads where I posted the fact that I'm selling baking stones and other baking supplies and equipment. It's clear to me that this topic is really far bigger than my posts and I feel it deserves far wider discussion here.
I've been thinking about doing this for some time, in large part because of my own baking interests and the OUTRAGEOUS prices that specialty purveyors like KA and most others on the Internet charge for their merchandise.
Now, I'm not opposed to making a fair profit; I AM opposed to gouging and profiteering in a market that, in the words of an old friend, is "overstimulated and undersupplied." Right now, I perceive a very powerful and widespread need for ingredients and supplies among hobbyist bread bakers like ourselves at reasonable prices, and sorry, but $2.50/lb that KA gets for their Type 55 clone and $2.67/lb for durum flour, plus shipping, strike me as obscene. Someone commented here not too long ago that KA seems to have changed its business model from selling ingredients to selling heavily marked up equipment and high-priced, low value-added merchandise like their mixes. Clearly, that appears to be the case, and in so doing, I think they're alienating the people who most depend on them.
My goal is to offer hard-to-find-at-retail ingredients, supplies and equipment at fair prices to people who want, need and appreciate value. Where better to communicate with those folks than on a site like TFL? This site has become a magnet for hobbyist bread bakers and the source of an enormous amount of information. I'm proud that I've both learned from others and shared my own successes and failures over the nearly 4 years I've been a member, and look forward to continuing to do so.
We are indeed a community, and, in my view, what better way of being a part of that community is there than to serve its collective needs fairly and honorably?
-- Stan Ginsberg