Tue, 27 Apr 1999 17:27:38 EDT

I received this e-mail from HLJ, its sent to anyone thats on their mailing
list. I am posting this for people that are not on HLJ's mailing list. Its
all good news.

HLJ news: Big Events and Big Changes in May!

    Okay, here we go again. It looks like we've finally got the HLJ News
mailing list up and running once and for all. If you'd rather not receive
these periodic e-mail announcements of Japanese hobby industry news and
special offers, see the bottom of this message for instructions on how to

When I look at my calendar for May 1999, I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the
things that are going to happen during the month, both inside and outside of
HobbyLink Japan.

First and foremost, there's the Shizuoka Hobby Show from May 20 to 23rd. This
is Japan's biggest annual hobby event and our entire staff will be there to
report on the latest announcements and to take photos of the new releases for
our site. Now armed with three digital cameras (good ones), plus our usual
photo gear, we'll have a lot to show you in the last week of the month.

Before that, however, Japan heads home for the so-called "Golden Week"
holidays for the period from April 29 to May 5. Our distributors won't be
shipping during this period, so we'll be limited in what we can get out to
our customers. Some of our staff is taking time off as well, so please
forgive if things seem a bit slow during that period.

Inside of HLJ, we have even bigger things getting ready to happen! One of
these changes will be very obvious to our customers, and one won't. The thing
you'll notice as soon as we implement it is an on-line order status tracking
system. That's right, you won't have to wait any longer for our not-so-weekly
e-mail updates to find out whether the things you ordered are ready to go or
not. You'll be able to check it for yourself anytime you want on our web
site. And what's more, you'll be able to input changes, cancellations and the
like right on the spot! Needless to say, this new system will make life
easier for both you and us. It's in final testing right now, and we hope to
debut it by early May.

And speaking of new systems, the change that won't be so obvious from the
outside is nonetheless going to be literally the biggest change we've ever
made here at HLJ since I created the company in 1995 -- we're upgrading our
entire accounting and order management system to a brand-new, customized
software package running on state-of-the-art servers and PCs. Up until now,
we've done everything with a fine little accounting package called "Big
Business"; that I'd heartily recommend for any small business operator
( But thanks to you, we've simply outgrown it and must
have a customized package to handle the order volume you're giving us. This
new system is also in the final stages of programming and will be installed
during the week of May 10 to 16. The custom-designed features it will include
should significantly boost our order handling speed and capacity, and that
will mean blazingly fast turnaround times on orders for in- stock
merchandise, and faster restocking for those orders for harder-to-get items
(we'll be linking product databases with our distributors for faster
ordering). By mid-June, assuming we figure out all the bells and whistles on
the new software quickly, you should see us offering nothing less than the
best customer service of any hobby-related site on the Internet.

While all of this is great news, the time away from the office due to
holidays and the hobby show, plus the system down time that will occur when
we switch accounting systems are both going to bog down our order handling
during the month of May. There's really no way to avoid this. Rest assured
that we're doing the best we can -- we always do -- and please extend us your
patience and understanding while we make what are just about the last major
changes we need to make in order to turn HobbyLink Japan into the Web's
ultimate hobby store.

As always, thanks for your never-ending support!

Scott T. Hards
President, HobbyLink Japan
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