Is there any concrete news about Forte?

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by David Henderson, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    Does amyone have any information about whether Forte will survive its troubles? I'm particularly interested in Polywarmtone semi-matt.
     
  2. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    I don't know, but I've been trying to buy some Bergger paper and the reply I got from Freestyle was that since some of Bergger's coatings are done by Forte and Forte had been taken over by the gov't, Bergger paper had been delayed 3 months.
     
  3. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    fibre base papers yes.
    RC papers no.

    Not sure if they will fine tune their product lines or not.
     
  4. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    First off - the information I have is from a phone conversation with a sale rep. Generally, I've found such information to be less than 100% reliable.

    Nevertheless, here goes:

    I spoke with a sales rep. at Freestyle Photo on the evening of January 24th. Forte is in receivership and local Hungarian government is serving as the liquidator. Existing production obligations will be completed in the next 30 days and then the company will suspend operations for good. A buyer had come forth in early December but did not prove reputable and no deal was closed.

    I hope its wrong, but I'm not seeing any re-stocking of Forte papers anywhere.
     
  5. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Now before anybody goes ape over this...it may just be a case of sour grapes on Freestyle's part simply because Forte isn't willing to continue their private-labeling relationship.

    Nevertheless - if anybody has more positive news on this front - now would be a good time to share!
     
  6. eric

    eric Member

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    The semi-matte is my favorite paper. I love it. If I need to do glossy, Oriental Seagull but I grab the Forte semi-matte for most stuff.

    I didn't know Forte was in trouble.
     
  7. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    I placed a fairly large order for Forte in the not too distant past. (Not with Freestyle.) The order was executed and recieved within several business days. Let's bury this thread because it serves no purpose except to start rumors. Since J+C sells rebranded Forte Films why doesn't someone ask them instead. Might actually get a real answer or are rumors so much more fun?
    Regards Peter
     
  8. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Not fun in the least!

    And thanks for posting this information...I'll sleep easier tonight believing that Freestyle was giving me the run-around and that there's still hope for Forte.

    I would have thought Freestyle was (relatively) trustworthy giving their private-labeling of Freestyle products, but I guess not...
     
  9. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Just an update as you say: I tried the rebranded Freestyle/Fote poly paper and it didn't have any black. At least the box I got. If Forte was cutting corners on a great paper so that Freestyle could dump it I don't get it. If a paper has no black you couldn't give it to me. And so it goes.....
    Peter
     
  10. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Actually, I've been through about a half-dozen boxes of 100 of both Arista.EDU VC RC and VC FB without any problems. My experience has been that it was identical to Polygrade V in all respects.

    BTW: Private-labeling isn't "dumping" of paper below cost. Simply put, the retailer buys the stuff direct (no markup from a distributor like Omega-Satter) and incurs the costs of marketing itself. It's a great arrangement for both parties - as long as the production schedules are kept reasonably sane. I've no idea whether or not this agreement caused Forte to come to any grief but I suppose it's possible.
     
  11. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    OK. for those who still insist that there is gloom and doom out there, I speak to many of the vendors. No Forte is not going under! There is an investor that has stepped forward and has helped Forte out. In fact a couple of those investors are apug members. I leave it up to them if they want to say who they are, and what they expect in the future.

    A good diea is to bury this thread and realize that all this does is cause undue panic.
     
  12. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    Earlier, "peters" said
    Why the peevish tone? I don't see anyone spreading "doom and gloom" or having fun with rumors. Sorry, Aggie, but let's face it: several of the principal manufacturers that make the stuff that we need have recently been, or currently are, on shaky ground. Why wouldn't we be concerned. Why wouldn't we be looking for the latest news? Why should this thread be buried?
     
  13. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Thanks for the support Doug.

    But I do sort of see what these folks are getting at. I tried to put a disclaimer on my post to ensure that I wasn't trying to pronounce Forte dead...just trying to get others to chime in if they knew otherwise.

    There's been a lot of "profiteering" by retailers in Canada it seems over Ilford's fate. I've heard tell of retailers claiming that paper price would more than double in the coming months. Doubtless hysteria makes some of these pronouncements more credible than they would be otherwise.

    Right now then, it seems like Forte is living and breathing; but it looks like a very, very attractively-priced source for their products (Arista.EDU) is probably history.

    Oh well, FreeStyle's reward for rumor-mongering over Forte's fate will be that I don't intend to buy so much as a stirring paddle from them in the future!
     
  14. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    On a positive note, I've seen a large influx of Agfa products in my local store, including (at my behest :smile: ) Rodinal! In quantity! I'm starting to get pretty friendly with Agfa papers now that I have a nearby supplier. Since Ilford fired their local rep. the guys at the store say it's more difficult and time consuming to get Ilford products in. It's a shame because that's about all I've ever used, but at least now I'm broadening my horizons!
     
  15. jandc

    jandc Member

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    Forte is in production and under receivership at this time. We just got word that our order for large format Classic 400 films has shipped (8x10, 7x17, 8x20 and 12x20). Paper has also been shipped. We anticipate additional shipments of other films (4x5 and 5x7), roll films and papers in a few weeks.

    As I have indicated on other threads, Forte surviving is dependent on finding a price structure that makes sense. The old way of selling at cost or below to keep the production line going doesn't work anymore. There are potential investors. It's all going to boil down to being able to sell the right quanity of film at a price that makes them a profit. It's not going to be a bargin basement product anymore and the market will decide if the product is good enough to justify the pricing.
     
  16. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Will J&C be carrying re-branded Polygrade V or just the Poly Warmtone under the "Classic" banner?

    If so, J&C can expect to pick up the business from a customer FreeStyle just alienated (i.e. myself).
     
  17. jandc

    jandc Member

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    Our Neutral Tone paper is the Ploygrade. Currently we only carry it in 12x16 fiber. If there is an interest we will add to the offerings.
     
  18. rusty71

    rusty71 Member

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    That's good news about Forte. The 200 speed film is amazing. Freestyle got too big and are not the fun, bargain basement place they used to be. Many may not realize it, but Freestyle were the first to import Efke film here in the late 1990s. They abruptly stopped for no apparent reason and refused to ever import it again.

    A question for JandC; Will Calbe A49 be in stock soon? I swear that stuff is the best fine grain developer out there for roll film.

    Thanks!
     
  19. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    I'm not going to get on a soapbox against FreeStyle, but outside of Arista.EDU their prices aren't any better than the brick&mortar retailers in my metropolitan area and no better than CalumetPhoto.

    Agfa, Kodak, and Ilford are all cheaper from the big NYC retailers.
     
  20. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    Maybe Ilford needs to raise their prices, too. That may be our future, friends: paying more to ensure that we have the materials we need. Agfa and Forte 120 films are $2.00-ish, Ilford and Kodak $3.00-ish. I'm an amateur, averaging maybe 4 rolls a month, so I'll pay what I have to and barely notice. For others who shoot a lot, it'll be more painful.

    Would I pay $8.00-$10.00 a roll tomorrow for some APX25? I might.
     
  21. ElrodCod

    ElrodCod Member

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    Where one spends one's money is their business but to boycott a company because of what a sales rep said is silly. Yeah, Freestyle's prices are not the lowest but their customer service is excellent, they ship orders promptly and have just about the lowest shipping rates out there. They'll even ship most chemicals (including the much beloved Rodinal) without the additional "hadardous Material" fee. All that taken into account, they are quite competitive. Let's not go on a witch hunt here.
     
  22. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    I'm not boycotting them so much as realizing that outside of Arista.EDU they have nothing to offer me. And since they won't be carrying Forte products in any form in the future (their words, not mine) they aren't really in the game any longer as far as my enlarging paper needs are concerned.

    They're shipping is inexpensive, but it still falls a few $ shy of making up for their prices vs Adorama and B&H; at least for the products that I order with some regularity. In fact, once I incorporate shipping they are maybe all of $1 or $2 cheaper for a box of 100 RC sheets for Agfa MCP 312 vs. one of the larger retailers in my area. Hardly worth my wait.

    Besides, they use FedEx to deliver to my metro area (Washington, D.C.) and that precludes the shipment of any chemicals and FedEx's use of local contracters for final delivery invariably means that I have to wait another couple days for delivery vs UPS anyways.
     
  23. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Not a question of maybe, or when - I've been told that Ilford *is* raising prices, and substantially at that. Film and paper around 10-20%, chems (what they're making) upwards of 50%.

    The local shop is due to receive a shipment of Forte paper at the beginning of March - they have no idea what sizes of paper they'll be getting, and nobody can (will?) tell them, but at least production is back up and running.
     
  24. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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    The rise in price of Ilford products in N America is in part because of the continued decline of the strength of the greenback agaisnt the euro and the pound. It is happening on other products imported from Europe. Again, in part, Forte will need to do the same for that very reason.

    As for Freestyle, I have always found their customer service terrible, at least over the last few years. They always seemed to add overly high shipping charges which negated most of the savings made on the purchase, and actually dealing with a human being there was nearly always painful - usually simply rude or ignorant. In addition, last year, the last time I considered ordering, their price for Arista 400 8x10 was only a dollar or two cheaper than I could buy Ilford HP5 locally.
     
  25. rusty71

    rusty71 Member

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    Both Ilford and Kodak tend to raise prices per annum. This is usually the time of year it happens too. I'm really glad to see Ilford is doing better, and let's not forget Agfa black & white. Sure, they've trimmed their line over the years, but the monochrome division as recently bought out by employees. I'm glad to see JandC carrying their films. Now if the would only bring back Portiga and Brovira.....