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Johannus to cease US operations--dealers and technicians hardest hit

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  • Johannus to cease US operations--dealers and technicians hardest hit

    I learned just minutes ago that Global Organ Group intends to withdraw their Johannus brand from the US market later this year, with all sales henceforth done under the Rodgers name.

  • #2
    Probably, they want to revive and benefit the Rodgers brand in the United States, since Rodgers is a historically American brand.

    The passage of Rodgers from Roland to Vanderweed family has created a moment of doubt and uncertainty for buyers. Global Organ Group certainly want to recover a slice of the market.
    Johannus organs meet the European taste more favorably; Rodgers (except the electronic boards) are built in the United States with American woods and materials.
    Some people seem to prefer this, and Rodgers can offer it.
    Last edited by ahlborn; 03-31-2019, 11:23 PM.

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    • #3
      Well, this is certainly an interesting development! No doubt it will be good news to the Rodgers dealers, who have been hit with a double-whammy in recent years with all the uncertainty about Rodgers and the increasing competition from European builders for the same market. Maybe this will be the long-needed boost to help re-establish Rodgers as one of the pre-eminent American organ companies. They certainly have some nice products to offer.

      Allen might also be pleased to see one less name brand in the mix, as it must be confusing these days to potential buyers, who must choose among not only the two "traditional" companies -- Allen and Rodgers -- but also the various European brands. Viscount might also get a little boost from this, as they might bump up their offerings at the low end to fill the void that will be left without the very cheap Johannus Studio models available.

      I can only hope that GOG will give the HIllsboro service department the ability to now fully support the existing base of Johannus organs. That might in fact make it far easier for us techs to get parts and repair help on Johannus, if they do the smart thing and truly integrate the brands under one banner.

      Looking forward to seeing how this all falls out. Thanks for the news, Don.
      John
      ----------
      *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

      Comment


      • #4
        But it's also the 1 st of April..... ???:-B
        Can't play an note but love all things "organ" Responsible for 2/10 Wurli pipe organ, Allen 3160(wife's), Allen LL324, Allen GW319EX, ADC4600, many others. E-organ shop to fund free organ lessons for kids.

        Comment


        • beel m
          beel m commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah- I had commented along those lines, then removed it thinking I was wrong. If we're right, I'm afraid don60 was 32 minutes early... :-)

        • mrdc2000
          mrdc2000 commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, no doubt April 1 and all the trickery that goes with it !!!
          Johannus / GOG is doing quite well with US sales from what we hear.

      • #5
        Rodgers consoles are currently made in Europe and shipped to the US for stuffing. The Rodgers cabinet shop was sold at auction when the company changed hands.

        I am waiting for one more development: What happens to the legacy Johanni in terms of support. The two options that I see for the company are to abandon them entirely and let an informal network of independent techs try to work with the factory to keep them going, or to move support into the Rodgers dealerships, which have no experience working on these products. If the latter, given the current heavy-handed approach of the owners, I expect that independent techs will be forced to affiliate with Rodgers dealers in the same way that Allen techs are if they want to be able to buy parts and receive information.

        Comment


        • beel m
          beel m commented
          Editing a comment
          don60, you're driving us crazy. IS THIS A 4/1 SPOOF???!!!

      • #6
        Originally posted by John Vanderlee View Post
        But it's also the 1 st of April..... ???:-B
        True. But this was posted well before 6:00 AM April 1st, the official start of April Fool's Day. In fact, it was posted before April 1st period, even on the East Coast. Not sporting. Not sporting at all.

        Comment


        • John Vanderlee
          John Vanderlee commented
          Editing a comment
          Even if it were April Fool; time wise Holland is 6 hours ahead of the US East Coast.

      • #7
        I wish I were joking so we could all have a laugh and get back to business. But I am deadly serious, and so are the owners. I saw a copy of the letter that they sent to one of their dealers, and it was brusque to the point of rudeness. And it was crystal-clear that nearly all of the Johannus dealers have no place in the new regime as the flagship Rodgers network will now carry the load. That attitude is what makes me think that they intend to do the same to their techs and make all support dealer-based. They mentioned a long period of "study," and I will bet that study included a close look at Allen to discern the reasons for their long success and good reputation.

        Comment


        • beel m
          beel m commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you, and I'm sorry to hear :-(

      • #8
        To my knowledge, only Allen and Johannus have digital models that are available for LDS church buildings--I sincerely doubt that Johannus would drop that business completely, as it provides a fairly hefty volume. Unless, maybe, Rodgers is going to try to compete there again.

        Comment


        • #9
          Originally posted by don60 View Post
          Rodgers consoles are currently made in Europe and shipped to the US for stuffing. The Rodgers cabinet shop was sold at auction when the company changed hands.
          I don't know well all the GOG movements; I thought the furniture was made in the USA.
          On the Inspire model page it says: "Designed and built in Hillsboro, Oregon, USA, in the rich tradition of American pipe organs, they boast the highest level of craftsmanship.. (etc)"

          However I am not surprised if it were not so. Globalization also includes this. Thousands of grand and upright pianos built in China arrive in Europe; these are finished in Europe and so are sold as pianos "Made in Europe."

          Comment


          • John Vanderlee
            John Vanderlee commented
            Editing a comment
            See my comment from last year where I mentioned I visited their factory in June in Holland. I got the feeling that their business model leans heavily on "practicality" in this market.

        • #10
          BTW, with Rodgers you already must be a dealer or associated with one to buy parts or get service assistance or use the tech site. Since early 2015 they no longer deal with independent techs. It was a huge blow to many of my fellow members of MITA, some of whom had serviced Rodgers organs for decades, when they made this new policy, but it remains in force even now with GOG in charge. When I need Rodgers parts, I can call the factory to order, and they will "drop ship" the part to my address, but they invoice the dealer, and I must settle up with him. Not terribly inconvenient, but sometimes can be awkward. I do know the factory service guys by name, so I have no problems talking to them or getting them to ship me parts. It's just the round-about paying method that's strange.

          If Johannus parts and service should become available via the existing Rodgers tech department, that would actually be an improvement for me. I rarely need Johannus parts, but when I have in the past, I had to email back and forth with the factory, and never found anyone I could easily talk to on the phone, given the time difference and the (sometimes) language barrier.

          Allen, while notorious for protecting their authorized dealers and techs, treats me differently, though I can't really say why. Perhaps it's because I was once a salesman and later the official tech for Little Rock's long-gone Allen dealer. When we lost our local Allen dealership, I asked for and received my very own account with Allen. I can't order organs, nor even complete speaker systems or Expanders or anything else they choose to consider a "dealer item." But I can order all the piece parts and circuit boards and such that I need to repair any Allen on a 30-day open account. So somehow I have attained "near-dealer status" with Allen even though I'm just a lowly independent tech.

          Perhaps if Rodgers and Johannus truly join forces in the US, they might also reconsider their draconian service and parts policy, and invite some of the disenfranchised techs to rejoin the network. It sure couldn't hurt to have more qualified techs out there, though perhaps the factory service department would need to add staff to handle the increase in phone calls.

          Anyway, we'll have to wait and see how all this falls out, as we did when GOG bought out Rodgers. It didn't all work out exactly as some of us expected it to when we first heard of it.
          John
          ----------
          *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

          Comment


          • D1gichip
            D1gichip commented
            Editing a comment
            I remember sending a note to the Rodgers marketing department regarding the decision to throw away all the technicians they had in the field. I used to fly all over, east of the Mississippi for the Rodgers factory, to assist their dealer's techs fixing Rodgers they couldn't fix. I too, was tossed under the bus! I sent that note advising marketing team to get their Resume's ready for a new job because, (the then president of Rodgers "DK"), was going to put Rodgers out of business since he did so 'well' to Baldwin and Church Organ Systems to put them out on the street. That prompted DK to send me a note telling me all the reasons why I was not understanding what happened with those 2 companies. That back and forth short exchange of emails in January ended with him not disputing why Rodgers was going to discharge all the years of experience of techs in the field, except that "The other companies are doing the same thing" I was told. In August the same year, DK left Rodgers. In September it war rumored that Rodgers was on the 'auction block'. Roland ended the relationship with Rodgers and in January the next year, Johannus bought Rodgers. Funny how that works. NO! Only Allen had Allen authorized techs out there, and for a good reason. They like to keep the customer base happy, and keeping 'sleezy' techs from putting cheap parts in the Allen organs, and to make sure the customers received parts that Allen could support. Good move on their part right from the start! I am an authorized Allen tech, and I can talk and purchase from Rodgers also. Unfortunately, Rodgers cannot support old organs, even 20+ year old ones. "No Parts", despite what DK told me they spent to support the older organs. When ordering circuit boards to repair organs, they have to send them into the shop to repair them AFTER you place an order for the circuit boards... and it takes upward of 2-4 weeks to receive the parts. Allen can have them out within the same week! Also Allen supports nearly 100% of ALL their old organs, both with parts AND technical support. You must be an Allen tech for that level of support of course. I even had an oscillator coil wound at Allen for an old C-2 tube organ which at that time was 50+ years old. They sent the man who wound the coils over to the Allen company museum to the coil winding machine that produced those coils and made it for me for that church! It worked perfectly and I hardly touched the tuning for the note when I installed the year 2000 coil in that 1950's organ.
            Johannus organs are a total waste of time to service when needing parts. They don't last at all. Last little thing.... Have you even seen an organ with a bass pedal snapped in half? I have! Only on a Johannus organ it was duct taped to keep it together. That was a 15 year old organ and was told there was no replacement for it. I fixed it, but really... a bass pedal snapped??

        • #11
          Wow. I get why some might not be too upset since the American manufacturers need business. On the other hand, neither Allen nor Rodgers makes anything that is in the price range of some of the lower-emd Johannus models. Last time I checked the entry-level AGO Allen was somewhere around $25,000 with the non-AGO Historique I model being somewhere around $17,500. Used it is for people, I guess.
          Baldwin: D421A; Allen: ADC-220 - 1986; Conn: 465 Deluxe Caprice w/pair of 144 pipe speakers; Kimball: R-80 Broadway, S-20 Valencia III; Western Cottage Organ Co. Reed Organ
          ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Lots of synths, accordions, stringed instruments, percussion, etc.

          Comment


          • #12
            It's true that neither Allen nor Rodgers has been offering anything at the low price points Johannus (and Viscount) seem to have for entry level models. I'm going to assume that Rodgers dealers may now start selling those low-end Johannus models with a Rodgers sticker on the front, hopefully at the same low prices. Not too different from selling those Italian "Insignia" models years ago. That would be in line with the apparent goal of simplifying GOG's US marketing under just one brand name. I only hope that they will consolidate service and parts for the already-sold Johannus organs into the existing Rodgers factory tech department in Hillsboro.

            Rodgers has until now kept on selling Roland-based organs (unless the recently-introduced Inspire models are an exception), so at least they had some genuine differences from Johannus to talk about. But with the impending changeover to GOG technology inside all Rodgers organs, and given that GOG has in the past used the same innards to build organs with different names on the front (Johannus, Britson, Makin, Wesley, perhaps others I haven't seen) -- it might have soon become hard for Rodgers dealers to make a case for their organs over Johannus.

            The obvious solution is to stop selling organs that are basically the same inside with different labels on the front, as GM had to do with cars some years back. GOG being the gigantic international corporation that it is, they should be able to take advantage of the economies of scale to produce better organs at lower cost if they are standardized rather than tricked out just to satisfy the presumptions of a market segment (folks who have traditionally believed in Rodgers).
            John
            ----------
            *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

            Comment


            • Max the Icie Owner
              Max the Icie Owner commented
              Editing a comment
              Ah, I forgot about Viscount. Yes, I hope they keep supporting the models they did sell too. On the other hand, do you think they'd get rid of all the Rodgers tech in the organs? American-sound ready and all, something has to be superior about the Rodgers tech vs GOG/Johannus tech. So hopefully they won't get rid of all the native tech.

          • #13
            MTIO, my understanding is that the "Rodgers" technology was 100% a Roland creation, derived from their long experience with keyboards, electronic pianos, and signal-processing gear. When Roland divested Rodgers, they lost any incentive to maintain, much less develop, their classical organ components. The current Rodgers organs at the higher end of the line are being built out using a backstock of Roland components. As Johannus integrates Rodgers into their corporate technology, all Rodgers products (as John said) will end up with Johannus innards. I know that the Inspire line is now appearing with Johannus technology very much like that in their Johannus-branded organs; other lines will likely follow very soon.

            I am not so sure that Roland/Rodgers technology is at all superior to Johannus. Although I am plenty ticked at Johannus at the moment, I have to give them credit for developing wonderful-sounding organs on a relative shoestring budget. At least for a time, about the era when the Allen MDS platform was aging out, Johannus had arguably the best-sounding digital organs on the market outside of a few boutique builders like Walker. I am always amazed when I voice one of these older beasts just how lifelike it can sound with proper setup. Even today, Johannus stands near the top for pure organ sound. Thus, I do not view the technological shift as a concern or a negative development. It is the business model that concerns me as a part-time independent Johannus tech.

            John, you are right that if all support moves to Oregon for the legacy Johanni, and IF the company is reasonable in inviting select independents to be part of their service mission, you and I will be sitting pretty since parts availability should improve dramatically--probably on a par with the Rick Bocock model over the past few years. We will have to wait and see.

            Comment


            • #14
              Quite frankly, I don't understand why the OP saw the need to start this thread to begin with, April fools prank or not. Just because a letter happens to be circulating around a dealership desk somewhere doesn't mean it's public information to be spread about the internet. As a Canadian Rodgers and Johannus dealer, I'm not aware of any official announcement from headquarters. Until that's the case, I'd say the less said the better.

              Comment


              • Hamman
                Hamman commented
                Editing a comment
                Could be, because, maybe, just maybe somebody might be listening? Most if not all the posters thus far seem to be some sort of "tech's" or independant dealesr......new or used........ and have expierence and or knowledge of the service model going on with the individual brands. Thus, I would hope that some "said" companies could/would glean some good real working world vital information/ suggestions from these folks (techs) instead of being the stiff neck snobs that they are while going down with the Titanic!

            • #15
              The original poster (I have a name, by the way) saw the need to mention an important development to some of his on-line friends who have a strong interest in this topic. We have been discussing the Rodgers-Johannus-GOG situation for a few years and are hungry for information. I did not see any "Confidential" stamps on said letter. If Hillary can divulge classified information and plead ignorance, so can I!

              This discussion is not just casual gossip. Some of us are technicians who make or supplement our incomes from service work for Johannus. The GOG leadership has lately shown a nasty tendency to snipe their valued and loyal affiliates with this sort of announcement (just ask Rick Bocock), and any heads-up information that we can get to help us make better decisions for our own businesses is fair game, as far as I am concerned.

              Maybe I am parsing your words too closely, Jan, but I wonder whether you might not have received a similar letter already--you say there has been no "official announcement," which is not the same as individual letters to the dealers.

              I stand by my information until proven wrong.

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