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McClelland: "We're Just Going to Close the Doors"

(293 posts)
  • Started 9 months ago by woodsroad
  • Latest reply from bnichols23
  1. woodsroad

    woodsroad

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    I just got off the phone with Mary McNiel. I had left them a message earlier in the day and she was kind enough to call me back. Mary is undoubtedly one of the nicest (and most knowledgeable) people in the tobacco industry. We had a wide-ranging discussion on how the industry has changed over the past decade or so: The removal of government price supports, the farmer buyouts, the demise of the auction system, all of which has led to an overall decline in the quality, availability and diversity of tobacco available to McClelland. Then there's the FDA, and the great regulatory and financial burdens it will place on them. Up to a half million dollars to get all of their blends tested to meet FDA regulations. And if they suspend production of a blend (due to not having the right leaf available, as in the situation with 5100) they may not be able to resume production without going through the FDA approval process for new products.

    In the end, Mary and Mike have made the decision to close their doors. The exact timing isn't known to them as of yet, as they are still tinning blends that they have in stock. But they do not foresee much, if any, additional production. "We look at the burdens that lie ahead with the FDA. What does the future hold?" Mary told me, "We're just going to close the doors".

    Mary and Mike, I wish you the very best in your retirement. Move forward, knowing that you have brought over 40 years of happiness and pleasure to pipe smokers around the world. You will be missed, but you will always be deeply appreciated for bringing us extraordinary and unique blends, pipe tobacco like no one else makes, now and forever.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  2. alan73

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    Thanks Woods for posting. That seems definitive to me. Best regards to the McNiels.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  3. torque

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    Sad to see such a time honored and beloved brand forced out of business by government regulations, but their reasoning is perfectly understandable. I wish these fine folks the best in the future and I personally will miss their products.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  4. lightmybriar

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    Good for them! Bummer for us. I wish I was better prepared. There were so many of their tobaccos I hadn't tried yet. Cheers to Mary and Mike for my four years of enjoying their products, and for all the years and tins the rest of us have enjoyed over the last forty!

    On a pipe adventure
    Steve
    Posted 9 months ago #
  5. woodsroad

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    They deserve a wonderful retirement.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  6. doctorbob

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    Well, it's official then....

    Doc

    Posted 9 months ago #
  7. jpmcwjr

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    Ah, sad in many ways, but for Mike and Mary I hope it's a big relief and that they enjoy many years in retirement, and come to a bunch of pipe shows in the future.

    Thanks for the important posting, Dan.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 9 months ago #
  8. twoonefive

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    Thanks for getting that info for the community Dan. Best of luck in retirement to the McNiels, it is most deserved!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  9. mikethompson

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    Thanks for posting that Dan, although it is sad news.

    First Dunhill, now McClelland.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  10. hoosierpipeguy

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    Thanks for posting this. I will miss many of their products, they are definitely my favorite brand. I wish the two of them the best as they retire, they’ve certainly earned it. They set standards for Virginia pipe tobacco products that will never be equaled.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  11. lazar

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    Sad news, but good for them as others have said. Their innovation, uniqueness, and uncompromising quality will be sorely missed.

    As far as panic buying and TAD go, this should be noted: "they are still tinning blends that they have in stock." So what's currently out there is not the absolute end, yet.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  12. balkisobrains

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    Sad news indeed, and just the confirmation that everyone needed. I'm sure that many people are in a much more relaxed state of mind now. If they become "The McClelland 40th Anniversary Tobacco Company" for the next little while until they are done, that would be OK with me.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  13. sablebrush52

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    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for posting this. Sounds right.

    Congratulations and thanks to the McNeils for 40 years of great blends and uncompromising quality. Enjoy the next great thing.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 9 months ago #
  14. peckinpahhombre

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    Sad news, but I understand and wish them the best.

    All these threads on McClelland have made me wonder - if Germain ever goes out of business, it would probably take us all 5 years to figure it out given their production.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  15. coyja

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    Thanks for calling and posting. That gives a very full picture of the situation.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  16. arno665

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    Thank you very much for the information. Very sad news but understandable, I wish them all the best.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  17. menuhin

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    I can see it coming, but not as early as this decade.

    I just can say thank you and a sad farewell to my beloved American tobacco manufacturer. To remember your blends, I may have to add some Heinz ketchup to my Virgina tobacco.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  18. mikethompson

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    What are we all going to speculate about now?

    Posted 9 months ago #
  19. jravenwood

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    Thanks for posting Woods, this is indeed sad news. Their blends will be missed but they deserve some rest and relaxation now!

    "It is quite a three pipe problem..."
    Posted 9 months ago #
  20. balkisobrains

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    Better buy right now if you're buying, none of the other forums seem to have seen the news yet.

    Sleeper pick of the day #27 .

    The 10 tin limits at SP kill the ability to follow existing inventory.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  21. midwestpipesmoker70

    midwestpipesmoker70

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    Well, the news came more quickly than I had hoped. I am not going to go crazy but there are a few blends that are still available that I am going to stock up on. The rest, well hopefully down the road I will get and opportunity here or there to sample some of their blends that I was unable to try during production. Thanks for the information and Of course I thank the McNeils for the wonderful blends that I have been able to enjoy and I wish them all the best.

    Nate
    Posted 9 months ago #
  22. folanator

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    Man, that's sad. Best of luck to a well deserved rest.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  23. lochinvar

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    Very sad, they make my favorite flakes. I hope they have a wonderful retirement, if only it were the trolls at the FDA.

    Posted 9 months ago #
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    theediabeticman

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    Yeah they even sound excited with retirement plans...pretty excited for em

    Inspirational quote to be inserted during an inspirational moment
    Posted 9 months ago #
  25. azpipe

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    Selfishly, I'm sad. For the McNiels, I'm happy. I wish them all the best in retirement. They created a fantastic brand and they deserve all the best.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  26. ben88

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    What are we all going to speculate about now?

    Who will buy out all remaining stock directly from McClelland.

    Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate
    Posted 9 months ago #
  27. woodsroad

    woodsroad

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    Can we please manage to restrain speculation on this thread?

    Posted 9 months ago #
  28. chasingembers

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    Their products have brought me many a happy moment. I wish them much of the same.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  29. seacaptain

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    Well darn. Dunhill, McClelland, and Wessex are my three favorite brands. Guess I'll have to go back to Capt Black.

    Posted 9 months ago #
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    theediabeticman

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    A direct message from Mike

    “Tell them my wife is still looking for leaf but I think there is a better chance of Taylor Swift pulling into Brian Levine's driveway ripping her clothes off and screaming Brian marry me and take all of my money!!!!!!“

    Posted 9 months ago #
  31. fitzy

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    wow horrible news. I think we all knew it was coming.

    Now time for the stampede to finish off whatever McC blends are available.

    "These are ghosts that are more at home in a girdle-filled drawer than one of my pipes." Quote by Neil Archer Roan on lakeland ghosts
    Posted 9 months ago #
  32. gkr1

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    Better buy right now if you're buying, none of the other forums seem to have seen the news yet.

    Sleeper pick of the day #27 .

    The 10 tin limits at SP kill the ability to follow existing inventory.

    True sleeper is the Royal Cajun Dark! That is a great blend the whole line is!

    Before the limits, there were 750 balkan blues, 920 Frog on Town, and 1800 frog Cellar! Those were the ones I was following!

    Its always nice to hear someone is retiring, happy for them!

    As for me I'm well stocked and currently have enough tobacco for 40 years easy! Retire is 15 years and 25 more years enjoying my cigars and pipes!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  33. ashdigger

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    *Minnie Mouse.

    In all seriousness, I wish them well and am grateful for their contributions.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 9 months ago #
  34. azpipe

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    Can we please manage to restrain speculation on this thread?

    Thankfully your decision to call killed all the speculation.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  35. lazar

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    Well darn. Dunhill, McClelland, and Wessex are my three favorite brands. Guess I'll have to go back to Capt Black. [:-)]

    Wessex, too? I hadn't heard about that.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  36. cortezattic

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    Is it April 1st already?

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 9 months ago #
  37. renfield

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    I hope that Mike and Mary have a long and happy retirement.

    Many thanks for all the great blends and for holding to your standards. You’ll be missed and fondly remembered.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  38. coyja

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    True sleeper is the Royal Cajun Dark! That is a great blend the whole line is!

    Ugh, you're killing me... another one I've not tried.
    IDK if I can justify more buying... I bought a 50g tim of Grey Havens (as part of a larger order of 40th) to try out and was underwhelmed, but Dark Cajun sounds awesome.
    They will indeed be missed.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  39. bluegrassbrian

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    I've got enough to last for a few years. Maybe longer..

    An American institution.

    Tobacco's a help because it clears the mind
    But like all your friends it is vilified
    They always say, the right amount's fine
    Posted 9 months ago #
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    oldgeezersmoker

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    I will miss them greatly. Around here, as is true nationally, craft beer is a booming business, even largely responsible for significant neighborhood rejuvenation in one close by city. Too bad the powers that be have made craft tobacco impossible.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  41. yazamitaz

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    Thanks for posting Dan. This is sad news but understandable given the circumstances. I at least have a nice selection of Christmas Cheer from 2013-2017

    Posted 9 months ago #
  42. brian64

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    Too bad the powers that be have made craft tobacco impossible.

    Just another day in the land of opportunity.

    Best wishes Mike and Mary.

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 9 months ago #
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    fabioptrn

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    Such a pity. In addition to the quality of McClelland blends, it is sad to see a piece of history that goes away: McClelland is an institution among the American blends, they are coveted all over the world, and this will not be an empty space, easily filled. I wish them a beautiful future and thank them for their contribution to the tobacco world.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  44. gkr1

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    Ugh, you're killing me... another one I've not tried. but Dark Cajun sounds awesome.
    They will indeed be missed.

    I am really surprised they are still in stock! Cajun Dark is sweet, spicy, tangy, and creamy! Cool smoking and easy to pack!
    Flavorful but not strong. Medium strength!

    3.5 Stars out of 4

    Get them! The Ebony is my 2nd Favorite of the line.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  45. kanaia

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    She told my B&M friend that they might become the Esoterica of the U.S.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  46. balkisobrains

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    gkr1

    True sleeper is the Royal Cajun Dark! That is a great blend the whole line is!

    Never tried the line, so cannot say, but you've got 25 10 "Dark" on hand over at SP, so hit it up before it sells out!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  47. elvergun

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    So sad. My favorite blends are now gone forever.

    Thanks to Mike and Mary for all the great smokes. We will miss them dearly.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  48. elvergun

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    Never tried the line, so cannot say, but you've got 25 10 "Dark" on hand over at SP, so hit it up before it sells out!

    Ha...I would snatch them up before gkr1 does. It is a great blend indeed. It is (was) my change of pace smoke...for those days when I did not want a VaPer, an English or a Virginia...and I didn't know what to smoke.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  49. woodsroad

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    I raise a pipe of 2025 English Cavendish in honor of Mike and Mary McNiel

    Posted 9 months ago #
  50. coyja

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    gkr1
    True sleeper is the Royal Cajun Dark! That is a great blend the whole line is!
    Never tried the line, so cannot say, but you've got 25 10 "Dark" on hand over at SP, so hit it up before it sells out!

    Yeah, you all got me, I ordered three.
    I'm officially done, that'll be the last order of McClelland ever for me.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  51. ravkesef

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    I suppose it was inevitable, but it’s still so very sad. Mary and Mike are two of the finest people, and the quality of their products is simply not surpassed. I suppose it’s a signal for us to buy the remaining blends that we need. There whole thing is part of the nanny state situation that we’re facing. And what will the other blenders do? Will we have to travel to Europe and smuggle tobacco in our luggage? Hire mules? Put the tobacco into condoms and insert into body cavities? What an absolutely unconscionable intrusion of government into the private affairs of honest citizens!

    Eric
    Posted 9 months ago #
  52. seacaptain

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    Wessex, too? I hadn't heard about that.

    No, my post was more of a "one more strike and I'm out" thing.

    Posted 9 months ago #
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    briarbuda48

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    Good for them! They have contributed immensely to our hobby for decades and I will miss them dearly.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  54. wyfbane

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    Got 5# of 2010, and 5 tins of each frog and the Cajun dark. That Cajun ebony and Dark are legit.

    Sad to see them going out of business, but it's time. I applaud their integrity, too. A clean break is better than them selling out and someone trying to make the blends with lesser leaf.

    Hats of to Mike and Mary. Have a wonderful retirement and thank you for everything you did for pipe smoking!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  55. cigrmaster

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    There comes a time in every business owners life when they say enough is enough. Maybe the joy has gone out of the business with all the FDA crap. Maybe it is the status of the tobacco industry and sourcing the right tobacco for the blends they make. The reasons don't really matter, all that matters is they want out and more power to them. Retirement for me has been fun, I hope Mary and Mike enjoy theirs as well.

    Harris
    Posted 9 months ago #
  56. balkisobrains

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    Someone finally loved those 12 cans of Quantum, & 2010 Classic VA stock has been cut in half today alone, down to 286 ounces. If you like #27 and missed it, the Classic VA is probably a decent stand-in, although I'm going by faded memory on that one.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  57. coyja

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    All the Cajun Dark is gone. Good lookin' out gkr1

    Posted 9 months ago #
  58. btp79

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    What are we all going to speculate about now? [:-)]

    Sasquatch, is he an aromatic or Balkan kind of piper?

    Posted 9 months ago #
  59. hiplainsdrifter

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    Well darn. Dunhill, McClelland, and Wessex are my three favorite brands. Guess I'll have to go back to Capt Black. [:-)]
    Wessex, too? I hadn't heard about that.

    Yeah, what? Details?

    On topic- Happy retirement, thanks for the amazing blends!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  60. snagstangl

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    It is sad and i t sounds like they will be missed. I can't remember what I have in my cellar that was made by them. I grabbed pound of Old World Classic Cake yesterday. I will have to go look and see.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  61. bluegrasspipe

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    That is disappointing for sure. I realized that I have more of their tobacco in my cellar than any other, but it won’t be enough.
    They will be missed, but thank you for all the great blends!

    For tho' at my simile many may joke,
    Man is but a pipe—and his life but smoke.
    Posted 9 months ago #
  62. perdurabo

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    Hey, everyone has to retire at some time. Happy retirement Mike And Mary.

    Now, let's give a round of applause to Big Brother, also to all his supporters and fanboys.

    It's not my position nor want to help another man. It's his responsibility to help himself, as where he can learn to dig down deep enough to save himself. -I. Kidd
    Posted 9 months ago #
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    theediabeticman

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    Mike said that if we want to speculate and contemplate- what do you think Brian would say to Taylor swift? Mike’s guess is it’d be something about his stupid Minnie shoes. Mine is probably “oh shit” after his snobbish pipe fell from his lips. Anyone else

    Posted 9 months ago #
  64. prairiedruid

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    Congrats on their retirement; lighting up a pipe full of 3 Oaks Syrian in their honor and in thankfulness for all the wonderful blends they have made!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  65. rhoadsie

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    Sad news indeed. According to SP, stats indicate that McClellands comprise about 25% of my tobacco orders.

    I wish Mike and Mary all the best.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  66. glassjapan

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    I know it must be a very sad time for them both. I hope they can look back and be proud of what they accomplished. They've brought us many years of happiness. I wish them nothing but the best in their time ahead.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  67. balkisobrains

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    I see Drama Reserve is down to 9 tins, and people are still sleeping on the tinned blenders.

    I'd be clearing out their Latakia if I didn't have too much of that and D&R Blenders Bench Latakia already!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  68. gkr1

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    All the Cajun Dark is gone. Good lookin' out gkr1

    Glad you got some, enjoy!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  69. sittingbear

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    I am so depressed about this.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  70. kcghost

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    They earned their retirement. Mary is 70+ and Mike is 60+ with a very recent back surgery in his past. Mike is fanatical about how he wanted to make his product and thus never trained anybody to follow him so selling the company was never an option. The Company was doing extremely well profit wise but with Mike's recent surgery they decided to call it a day.

    Posted 9 months ago #

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