First thing's first, I need to apologize for the slow shipments and delayed (or non-existent) responses to emails and messages. Second, I've just disabled the store and it won't be accessible until sometime in January. Third, many of you are aware that we're relocating. For those of you that don't know it... we're relocating!
Let's start from the end and work our way back up.
Redpants is a business that I started two years ago. What began with a couple hundred bucks of oil change supplies has turned into an awesome little business. But it's only a side business. My real job is in analytics (among other things). To be honest, I've been feeling worn out lately and much of it has to do with being in northern Virginia. What started off as a great place to evolve my career eventually became a rat race. I was fine with it in general because I've done so well for myself here, but between a deteriorating workplace environment and finding myself growing more short-tempered by the day, I knew it was time to move on. I realized a few months ago that I've become uncharacteristically cynical, which made things that much worse - not only have I had a short fuse lately, I've also subconsciously been causing some of the problems that set me off to begin with. I knew it was time to reset, and that meant moving out of the Washington, DC area.
We looked at two places: Austin and Tampa. Most of our effort went into Austin; we even visited the city a few months ago to scope things out. We were drawn to Austin for all the same reasons as everyone else that has moved there. It's a great city that offered just about everything we wanted (I long for a serious beach, which Austin lacks, but that was the only box not checked off). But in the end, Tampa came through.
(UPDATE: It snowed the night before we loaded up our PODS unit so we had to deal with that, too. Luckily it was just some dry powder, but still.)
Tampa wasn't a random choice. My first visit to Tampa was several years ago when I flew down there from Augusta, GA, where I was living at the time, to buy my grey V8 Vantage. I became great friends with the original owners of the car and we've kept in touch ever since. I've visited them in Florida and they've visited me in Georgia and Virginia.
They even put their wonderful 1965 Porsche 356C on the auto train to bring it to my housewarming party when I bought my now-pending-sale home two years ago. When I first looked into leaving Georgia, I actually wanted to move to Tampa but I got an offer I couldn't refuse in northern Virginia, so that's where I went.
But Tampa's time has come! Or, rather, the time has come for me to go to Tampa. Whatever, same difference. Everything with this move has happened far quicker than I could have imagined. Clare and I had planned to stay in Virginia for another year so we could properly prepare for a major relocation. Unfortunately for us, we got one month.
That's one single month from receiving the job offer to being at work in Florida. We were in a mad rush to get the house ready and put it on the market. Then came the the private showings and open house, and then the appraisal and inspection. Mind you, none of this was simple because anytime something needed to be done, I had to get Wallace and Dexter (our dogs) out of the house so the thing could happen. Add in the holidays and some "wtf" life moments, and December has been, frankly, absolute hell.
We were, however, very fortunate to get a few very competitive offers right away - we accepted one and the sale is pending - but the process is keeping my stress at an all-time high. All this, while also trying to pack up the house (and inventory, and two Great Danes, and four vehicles, and a fucking horse - yes, Clare has a horse lol) and find a place to live in the Tampa area. Let's just say this has been and still is a real challenge. And it won't get any easier once we get to Florida.
Just to make things that much more difficult, I'm also taking a massive pay cut for the new job. This, while also dealing with my parts supply issues, is going to make the next few months a bit painful. Luckily, Clare is unbelievably supportive, far more than I deserve, and I know we can get through the transition together. It also gives me more motivation to get Redpants back up and running at full steam as quickly as possible.
However, I've just closed the online store. Once we've settled back in, the storefront will be accessible again, but for now it's closed while we get moved. I kept it open for the last two weeks despite everything going on but I haven't been able to keep up with orders or emails. Since I've been failing so badly at it lately, I've decided to pull the plug on the store for a week or two so I can stop disappointing you guys so much while we're dealing with everything.
We do still have some orders pending but worry not, all orders that have already been placed are being shipped! I'm also trying to get caught up on emails (still over 100 to go), but please feel free to resend any that I haven't responded to yet in case I miss it.
As for other things pending, we still have our clear and smoked corner markers on the way. They're going to sell out pretty much immediately, but I've already made arrangements for a continuous supply of them, so hopefully the dry spells won't last long.
I've also been torture-testing our lug nuts. I'm going to go ahead say this now... they're really damn beautiful. Here's what the prototypes look like next to a standard OEM lug nut:
The production version will have a slightly shorter top with a rounded bevel to make them look even better, and will be available in both standard (pictured above) and black finishes. Here's a computer rendering of what to expect:
The lug nuts have a two-piece aluminum body with a stainless steel threaded insert. The insert gives maximum durability and prevents any galvanic corrosion between the lug nuts and lug studs. The aluminum body reduces weight and allows for the lug nuts to be hard anodized. Hard anodizing the lug nuts will keep them in amazing condition for a long time, while also giving them a beautiful finish (clear/aluminum or black) that can take a beating. And the two-piece body will help protect the finish on your wheels by allowing the base to sit still against the wheel while the top spins to loosen or tighten the lug nut. No more grinding lug nuts into your pricey wheels!
They're over-engineered compared to a normal lug nut and that's adding to the cost, but they'll be worth the price. Not only are they going to look and act the part, but they're also the just about the same weight as titanium lug nuts, but at 1/3 the price!
Anyway, we hope everyone had a merry Christmas, is having a fantastic holiday season, and has a great New Year! We're looking forward to getting settled into our new home and then getting back to business!
Clare, Rich, Dexter, Wallace, and Donna