I will try and clear up some things because I feel enough time has passed and I can say these thing with a clear conscience. Will try and touch base on some common threads / questions above.
Gene got a ton of highly desirable parts in the Williams parts purchase. In addition to the parts received at delivery, Gene showed up at Bloomington one day with four added pallets of parts. These pallets contained lots of highly desirable game specific parts. According to Gene, this had something to do with finding additional warehouses and parts inventories from manufacturers who wanted the stuff out of their way. Gene elaborates some on the podcasts previously posted. Anyway, my point being that at one time, stuff just started showing up. One example is when Gene bought TAG. After Gene bought TAG, he got a lot of the tooling, and paint equipment to produce playfields, etc. A stack of playfields showed up one day on a dolly cart. (Cart you use to move a fridge or a couch.) Kim says to me and my brother, can you look through this and tell me which playfields look good and which can be sold right away. We dig in.
Top of stack has about 25 NOS TOM playfields. OMG.
Next stack of 20 are NOS T2 playfields. (15 are perfect / 5 have some registration issues but very slight.) OMG
Last 10, were RFM playfields. All perfect. Sweet.
The weekend of the parts move, I couldn’t come back and stay all day Sunday. In addition some of the inventory process occurred during the following weeks. Took some time to get everything unpacked. Upon going back and helping throughout this process, I ran into the following cool stuff / OMG moments.
Walking near the pinball legs one day I see a stack of white plastic headers, a stack of decals, and a shiny NOS Whitewater header!!!!!! I nearly shit myself. There was a stack of white bare plastic WWH2O headers. (20) Next to them was a stack of NOS WWH2O header decals. They came on a thick cardboard stock, with a perforated edge. Peel and stick the cardboard decal onto the header. These were the subcomponents to make the header. Next to that was about 5 or 6 completed headers, mint, perfect NOS. I put this in memory because I had recently purchased a routed WWH2O that needed this. I was away for a week. When I got back to Bloomington, they were mostly gone. All went to one distributor. Not sure who. I was able to get one of the last ones before they were gone. Oh man.
I’m digging in overstock one day. Overstock were the parts sub-assemblies that went out to companies and came back with something added to complete to the assembly. Painted artwork, airbrushing, assembly required. Boxes were all sealed up with shipping tape. Kim says see what’s over there that we can sell. I open a box with four NOS Scared Stiff aprons. Prototypes from what I am told. Artwork was different. Open another box and four NOS Monster Bash aprons. Another box, Fishtales mini playfields. (Boat) Another box, WWH2O mini playfields. Another box, NOS Borg ships. Another box, Boom Balloon assemblies. Another box, JY car wall assemblies. One real long box, NOS NBA Fast Break linked games Header, small board and wiring kit to link up two NBAFB games and play against each other. Another day I find NOS TZ clock boards bare. Cherry DMD displays in anti static wrap up the wazoo. I told Kim they have a shelf life and should be sold right away. They sat.
Ok, my point being is that most of these highly desirable parts went to the big distributors spending lost of cash with IPB. Individuals, or small distributors didn’t have a chance. If you were lucky and could talk to Kim and they knew they had something in stock, they would sell it to you. Or if the BC guys could get it and sell it to you, you got it. It was literally like trying the lottery any time you called. Hit or miss. But when you hit, it was big. The added problem is that Kim was running parts, but was getting pulled in many different directions. Gene says he let her run this division, but you have to know that Kim had to justify about every move she made to Gene. He was on top of her at all times, inserting his opinion and telling her to do things differently. Lots of moving targets, attempts at reproducing parts, and Kim had to be the quality control person for parts that came in. This was a daunting task. If she missed something, people screamed then Gene screamed. In addition, when you found something wrong, you got screamed at. Why didn’t you catch this in production? Send it out as is. Kim all the time trying to satisfy collectors high standards. (Example, TAF playfields are run. No one notices the red rug pattern screen is missing. Hundreds of playfields screened and clearcoated.) Now what. OMG there was a lot of yelling for a week.
Backstory of the Bear Cave guys. As the BC guys started to insert themselves into the mix, I had started removing myself from helping IPB. At that time I wasn’t there in any frequency, had less and less time as my family grew, and the vibe was getting bad. The BC guys had an accounting background but were heavy into the pinball hobby. I think they lived in Saint Louis MO. One of the guys got friendly with Kim, and suggested they work and help Kim going forward. They stayed at one of Gene’s slums while they were there. They were there a week or two on, then went back home for a week. So they were on and off. Probably why it took them lots of time to get parts back to anyone. Once they got themselves in place, I got a real strange vibe from them. Maybe it was me being too sensitive, but I felt like they were pissed I was there. They didn’t seem to like it when I cam down to help Kim with her projects. They were also real interested on my compensation structure. Later on I found out their relationship with IPB was terminated. I heard from Kim and Gene some of that story. Since it is hearsay, leave it be that they were promised an exclusive distributorship with IPB, and the terms of this didn’t work out. They say one thing, Gene says something else. Didn’t work out.
At this time BBB was getting up and running. I did see lots of BBB parts in the added on area connected to the parts wearhouse. Gene and Kerry do a good job of explain that whole thing in the podcast. I did know Kerry prior to him going down there from the Chicago scene, and was glad he went. Please don’t forget that his friend Brian also went down there and did a lot of the process work too. He buddied around with Kerry a lot and was a super nice guy. I really liked him. Used to see him at shows and such. Don’t recall his last name but pics of them out there while building BBB.