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An Official Update from Modelhaus [November 26, 2018]

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An Official Update from Modelhaus [November 26, 2018]
Posted by Robby DeGraff on Monday, November 26, 2018 1:14 PM

Here is the letter we received from the Modelhaus owners regarding Mr. Pivar's letter in the December issue. We hope this  puts into perspective their situation and we thank so many of our readers for immediately coming to the defense of Modelhaus. Look for this letter to also appear in our upcoming February 2019 issue of Scale Auto.

 


 

"We at Modelhaus are well aware of the need for the services we have provided for 30+ years. It’s incredible that anyone would accuse us of just closing our doors without any attempt to sell our business.

We’ve talked to about two dozen individuals with and expressed interest in purchasing the business, but only two returned for a second conversation and no offers were made. We’ve also talked to more than one company that assists in selling businesses, but most wouldn’t even converse with us since our annual sales didn’t meet their minimum. The one interested party that did go beyond an initial contact was unable to formulate a plan for advertising such a niche business and backed out. 

Modelhaus was much more than molds and original parts. The molds while valuable, are limited in life. An individual mold makes from 25 to 75 castings and deteriorates even without use. Their shelf life just can’t hold up. 

Original replacement parts are abundant and some we reproduced from Don’s own collection of kits. In early years, many parts came from Bob Zetterman, a promo dealer from the Denver area. His support and encouragement were instrumental in the development of the business and will forever be appreciated. 

Many parts came too from enthusiastic modelers who gave us parts to reproduce in exchange for parts they needed. Many original parts have undergone prep work to make them even better. Parting lines have been removed and thin areas reinforced to make the replacement parts stronger. Some have had many hours of prep which makes many of our replacement masters very valuable. The bottom line is, that any of the current resin casters could be doing what we did with replacement parts. Why aren’t they? Have you asked? 

Don is a genius at mastering new kits, turning an original two-door hardtop into a four-door, convertible, or station wagon. His attention to detail was remarkable, once melting 56 individual pieces into one ’85 Chevy Impala dash. He spent 20 hours at milling machine and lathe to master just a ’56 Mercury hubcap. These tasks could perhaps, today, be completed in a short time with a 3D printer but not with the same sense of accomplishment. Several modelers lent a helping hand - Juha Airo, Marc Corbin, Bill Coulter, Mark Cummins, Bill Drennan, George Ellis, Rock Hanmore, Nathan Levine, Kenneth McNatt, Carl Rees, Mitch Thimsen, Joe Wheat, and Tom Woodruff. We apologize if we have forgotten a name or two. All of your help was appreciated and we mention Paul Hettick last because he helped on so many projects. Don did the final tweaking and the end product was always his newest baby. 

Don has a passion for modeling and a wealth of knowledge about cars from the 1950s and 1960s. He’s a problem solver, too. Every time the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) or a resin manufacturer forced a change in a formula for a mold release, there were new problems that needed fixing. 

He has an instinct for what will sell and what won’t. He listened to his fellow modelers and turned their ideas and suggestions into projects. Don was a tireless worker, spending countless hours in the shop each week. One year he decided he would keep track of his hours. When he realized on January 1 he had put in 18 hours, on a day most drink beer and watch football, or recover from the previous night’s revelry, he stopped counting. 

Carol came to Modelhaus by mistake, asking if she could help. Her organizational skills kept everything running like a well-oiled machine, providing attention to detail and great customer service. She too, spent countless hours in the shop. Many have said they could never work that closely with a spouse. We each had our own side of the shop: a development and production side, and the organization, shipping and handling side, but it was just one shop and we made it work. 

Along the way, family members assisted and became employees, including Carol’s sister, aunt, Don’s sister, and our son Chris who was a full-time employee for 15+ years, with great attention to detail and a pride for the parts he made. Chris continues to provide the tires we once offered. 

All these “more” parts of Modelhaus cannot be sold, but were fundamental in making us the company the modeling community came to appreciate, and they are the “more” that made the headhunter unable to formulate a selling strategy. We’re proud of the service we’ve been able to provide to countless loyal customers. While we will not miss the work, we’ll miss contact with you all and we’re grateful for the many we now call personal friends, not just “customers.” 

“Thank you,” is inadequate to express our gratitude for allowing us to fill your modeling needs. Your business for 30+ years will allow us to have a comfortable retirement. 

-Don and Carol Holthaus, 
The Modelhaus

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