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  MONTAUK 170 Canvas Suppliers; Mills Doubles Their Prices

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Author Topic:   MONTAUK 170 Canvas Suppliers; Mills Doubles Their Prices
Macadoo posted 03-07-2008 06:02 AM ET (US)   Profile for Macadoo   Send Email to Macadoo  
Can only find [a forward shelter for a Boston Whaler 170 MONTAUK] made by [Wm. J Mills & Co. of Greenport, New York]. I called and they just doubled their prices. Any suggestions [for alternative sources] of a forward shelter for a 2003 Montauk 170?
swist posted 03-07-2008 06:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Wow, Mills used to be expensive at $1100. How much are they now?
jimh posted 03-07-2008 08:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I cannot imagine that Wm. J. Mills & Co. have enough pricing flexibility to be able to double their prices and sustain any sort of market volume. If they can, then I guess their former prices were really bargains and we never realized it.

Did they raise the prices of all their products? Or just on this one item?

Tohsgib posted 03-07-2008 01:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tohsgib  Send Email to Tohsgib     
Mills has always been a tad high but you got what you paid for. $1100 for a dodger is cheap. Friend paid like $1500 for his 22 Concept 2 years ago.
K Albus posted 03-07-2008 04:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Any decent canvas shop can make a forward shelter for your boat. A local canvas shop will probably make one for you for less than the price that Mills charges.
Marlin posted 03-07-2008 05:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
My experience in the Washington DC area does not support that statement. I got 3 local quotes for a forward shelter for my 160 Dauntless. The cheapest was about $2500, the most expensive was close to $5000. The Mills shelter for the 190 Nantucket, which I adapted to my Dauntless, was about $1000.

-Bob

Buckda posted 03-07-2008 05:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I just called Mills, however they are closed (winter hours) earlier today. (4:00 PM ET).

I have a difficult time believeing that they doubled their prices overnight. Can anyone confirm this?

Did someone look at a forward shelter for a 170 Montauk one week and get quoted $1,000 and then the next time they called back to order it, they were quoted $2,000? Did this really happen?

I understand the strong reaction when quoted a price higher than you were expecting - Mills Canvas is not inexpensive stuff - but doubling your price seems like an unlikely decision on their part, unless they are trying to DISCOURAGE sales of Whaler canvas. I do not believe this is the case. Call the 1 800 number. One of the featured options is Whaler canvas. That means it's a big part of their business still.

Dave

nemored posted 03-07-2008 05:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for nemored  Send Email to nemored     
Bad information. I just ordered a forward shelter for my 19 Montauk for $1134
jamesmylesmcp posted 03-07-2008 05:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for jamesmylesmcp  Send Email to jamesmylesmcp     
Mills recently did some work for me, I felt no price increase,infact questioned the final cost,Sue stated,"I could charge you more if you want". Still the best and worth the extra money.
Macadoo posted 03-07-2008 06:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Macadoo  Send Email to Macadoo     
OK...Things are a little confusing in this thread. I called my BW dealer and was told that another canvas company is now making canvas for BW and that Mills is no longer making canvas for the new whalers produced from the factory. The company that now has the contact " I am told" is Great Lakes Boat Canvas. A bimini top is about HALF the price of a Mills top and they do not make a forward shelter. I am just looking for any other companies that might make a bow dodger for the Montauk 170. Since this post I have called several canvas companies and an told they would have to measure and give an estimate after looking at the boat. Sorry for the confusion.
Marlin posted 03-08-2008 12:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
You are correct, Mills no longer is the OEM supplier for Boston Whaler. It is now Great Lakes Canvas. They provided the factory bimini on my Dauntless, and I'm perfectly happy with it -- like Mills, it is built from quality stainless and Sunbrella. Their web site is http://www.greatlakesboattop.com/ .

Unfortunately they don't appear to offer forward shelters. They do seem to offer custom work, but if it's not a piece they already make and have patterns for, they're probably going to have to measure your boat like anybody else.

I do find it a little odd that Great Lakes Canvas is located in Tennessee...

-Bob

Tohsgib posted 03-08-2008 12:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tohsgib  Send Email to Tohsgib     
Odd??? That is an Oxymoron! Well maybe not but what the heck! $1100 is still cheap for a dodger.
erik selis posted 03-08-2008 02:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
My buddy called Mills last week for the price of a mooring cover. The price has hardly changed since I bought mine 2 years ago.

Nick, have you been checking out HotForWords on youtube? :-)

Erik

swist posted 03-08-2008 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
I am not going to begrudge Mills their $1089 for a forward shelter but I would point out that while they certainly aren't making money on volume, the materials are not that expensive - a few yards of Sunbrella, maybe 25' or so of tubing and a bunch of fittings (all bought at wholesale prices). And I suspect they go together pretty fast if you have the right equipment, which surely Mills does. I am guessing at least half of that $1089 is profit. But that's the way the world works - good for them.
Jefecinco posted 03-08-2008 09:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Low volume with skilled crafstmen and superior quality control does not always equal low overhead. IMO, 100% markup of the type product produced by Mills is not outrageous (pun intended).

As I remember great lakes are in plentiful supply in Tennessee.

Butch

jimh posted 03-08-2008 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The shift in supplier by Boston Whaler to Great Lakes Canvas (of Tennessee) from the Wm. J. Mills & Co. (of Greenport, New York) occurred many years ago. It is not a recent change. The influence of Brunswick Boat Division, which is headquartered in Tennessee, and the influence of Sea Ray, also in Tennessee, may have had something to do with the decision to change to Great Lakes as a supplier of OEM canvas for Boston Whaler.

As has been demonstrated here many times, the information imparted to prospective buyers by salesman at dealers selling Boston Whaler boats is not always accurate, timely, or contains the entire story on the subject.

Wm. J. Mills & Co. canvas products have a long history or good design, good fabrication, good durability, and recognized brand. Wherever there is a large population of boaters there will be local craftsmen in the business of fabricating framing and sewing canvas, however it is not always the case that those local craftsmen will be able to equal Mills in all aspects, including design, delivery, and price.

I saw some fabulous canvas work on a million-dollar custom runabout a few years ago and sought out the local vendor who supplied it. He had a two-year backlog of orders, and the price was something he did not seem interested in discussing.

On the other hand, I found a local guy working out of his garage that can do repairs on my existing canvas at a very reasonable price.

Stinger23OR posted 03-08-2008 03:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Stinger23OR  Send Email to Stinger23OR     
Great Lakes Canvas located in TN, interesting, so is Searay! But then again, Searay was located in Oxford Michigan originally so maybe Great Lakes had been nearby, originally?
jimh posted 03-08-2008 03:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Yes, according to my local guy (still working out of his garage on the west side of Detroit) he used to work with the follow who started Great Lakes Canvas in Detroit. They made canvas for Sea Ray, which was also started (in a garage, no doubt) on the west side of Detroit.
Marlin posted 03-09-2008 11:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised. After all, Boston Whaler is in Florida.
Stinger23OR posted 03-09-2008 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Stinger23OR  Send Email to Stinger23OR     
JimH Further to my earlier post, I should have referenced that both SeaRay and Whaler are BC companies and most likely and issue of economies of scale using single source. Additionally, Great Lakes Canvas may have been nearby, of course, Michigan the "Great Lake" state.

Macadoo I have had 3 Whalers all new and with Mills Canvas either as OEM or boat order without canvas and purchased same from Mills direct. Why, because I liked the Mills quality and the availability of more product such as the forward shelter, connector, mooring cover etc. I am sure Great Lakes does a quality job as stated by other posters, it's the greater selection and perfect match of each item. I don't know how Mills does it (maybe laser) but their seams etc are like perfect and everything fits together, no gaps.
Not like motor mfg. discussions at this site, I don't think you will find much or any disagreement from posters to Mills quality or helpfullness statements. You do though have a price to pay for that quality as you did when you purchased the Whaler. They are not cheap but are consistent in their pricing IMO.

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