I think Lyles might have been the tip of the iceberg last year when he posted his dissatisfaction with Kellys.
I haven't purchased much in the last year or so, frames and foundation was what I usually bought from Kellys and the oddball tool. Since I first started beekeeping there was a rep that I worked with at Kellys. I happened to deal with her on one of my initial purchases and kept asking for her when I called, or, I would just email her directly. She was *excellent* in helping me out and would ship stuff out to me *fast*. Also, took good care of orders I'd email her for delivery to beekeeper meetings. Then about a year or so ago I emailed her and she responded that she would be leaving very shortly (like the next day) and that she would have to turn my order over to someone else. I sensed "something" in her voice that made me think "things weren't good". Not knowing her *that well* I didn't question her, but just wished her well. Since then, I've heard and read more complaints about negative experiences with Kelleys than ever before (only been beekeeping five years, though!). My mentor and his best friend (both in their 80's) also have had some negative experiences over the last year and no longer recommend Kellys (who they were very loyal to when I first started beekeeping). I don't think Walter Kelley wouldn't be a happy camper if he was still around.
Here's an article about the buy-out of Walter T. Kelly Company:
Here is a link to the company that bought Kellys: http://www.frandsencorporation.com/
And here is a quote from the "Frandsen Corporation" website:
THE FRANDSEN WAY
Frandsen Corporation is an opportunistic, entrepreneurial holding company. We have built, acquired, and managed quality companies in diverse industries for more than sixty years. Explore these pages to learn more about where we came from, the way we operate, and the people who drive our businesses.
When the buyout was first talked about it was mentioned that the takeover would put some organization and better structure into the Kelly business...faster delivery, better customer service, etc.,. Apparently selling real estate, making plastic, and running banks is a tiny bit different from the bee business. Hopefully, for the honey industry/hobby, they *are* experiencing growing pains and will soon have the kinks out of things. Losing customers/money, though, isn't what an acquisition/holding company smiles about...it will be interesting to see what they do with Kellys over the next year or so.
Hopefully Kellys will rise like the phoenix...