D&D Leaves Custom Chrome

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Custom Chrome dealers with a penchant for D&D pipes need to begin ordering directly from the manufacturer. D&D has stopped selling product to CCI, previously its sole distributor. Custom Chrome dealers with a penchant for D&D pipes need to begin ordering directly from the manufacturer. D&D has stopped selling product to CCI, previously its sole distributor.

D&D founder Dave Rash cited increased expenses as the impetus for the decision. Even without a distributor, D&D retail prices for 2008 are slightly higher. "My unit cost is probably higher than anybody's in the industry," he says. "We do more handwork to our pieces than anybody; we certainly do more research and development."

These painstaking processes, along with rising material costs, trimmed D&D's margins to the point that it could no longer afford a middleman. "I'm sure we could have cheapened it up," Rash says, "but that's like selling your children. Going dealer-direct seemed to be the only rational thing to do." He adds that dealer margins for D&D products in 2008 will be higher.

Rash says he has little faith in the distributor model. "They're only concerned about the numbers," he asserts. And the extra advertising received through a distributor deal made little impact. "The majority of the products we've sold over the last 34 years have been sold by my best salesman: the end user," he says.

Still, D&D does plan to expand its Web offerings and online advertising. "I think we're finally of an age and time for a small company like us to get a bang out of our dollars on the Internet," Rash says.

— Arlo Redwine