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  #1  
Old 09-19-2011, 05:24 PM
Bill Wood's Avatar
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Location: Johns Creek, GA, USA
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Post The Webmaster is retiring!

Yes, the Webmaster is retiring...

I'll be around for awhile helping out Pelican with the transition but, I thought that some of you might find the history of "MercedesShop/PeachParts" interesting.

So here goes...

The Early Days
It seems like only yesterday when Benzmac (Donnie Drummonds), Lee Scheeler and I sat down in Donnie's dining room and sketched out a plan on a big sheet of brown wrapping paper. Donnie had the Mercedes technical knowledge, Lee had the energy and desire to write articles and do whatever was needed and I had just retired from GE, had some IT and management knowledge and was looking for something else to do. This was in February 1999.

We all owned Mercedes vehicles and recognized that there were several other owners out there that liked to wrench on their cars or just understand them better. With Benzmac's knowledge of Mercedes and my knowledge of the internet we built a small website. It had a crude little bulletin board that I named the "Shop Forum".



Benzmac posted several technical articles, Lee posted some reviews and to our surprise we started getting web traffic. M.B.DOC joined us as our first Moderator to assist in answering technical questions in the forums. It didn't take long before we exceeded the capabilities of the bulletin board software. I did some research and moved us over to the "Ultimate Bulletin Board" (UBB). A better platform for the Shop Forum. This was in March 1999.



Let's Sell Some Parts
As web traffic continued to grow we realized that people wrenching on their Mercedes needed a better source for parts than just their local dealer. Most of the large parts stores were ignoring German cars and just focused on American and Japanese vehicles. We decided we needed to get in the internet parts business. The only problem was that none of the wholesale parts dealers wanted to sell to us because we didn't have a shop or physical building. We finally found a small wholesaler in Louisiana willing to listen. Donnie and I jumped on an airplane, flew down there and came back with an agreement. I put together an online shopping cart and PartsShop was born. Phil Reinhardt joins the team shortly thereafter. This was May 1999.

By now, web traffic was growing by leaps and bounds. We needed faster servers and more bandwidth. Costs were rising. The young parts business was helping to offset costs but, not completely. We needed more income to keep things going so we decided to try and sell some banner ads. Two companies saw value in us and bought ads. TireRack and Meguiars. This was June 1999.

What about a Shop?
Benzmac and I decide it would be great to have a physical shop to go along with MercedesShop. So, we formed the business, MB Autowerks, and start planning to buy land and build a building. This was May 2000.



More growth in web traffic is causing the flat-file based UBB software to strain in handling the load. I decide to move the Shop Forum to vBulletin. This was Nov 2000.

At this point we are starting to really get known in the Mercedes community. We have attracted the attention of DaimlerChrysler who registers a complaint with WIPO about our use of the domain "mercedesshop.com". We contest the complaint and win. This process began in Jan 2001 and ended in June 2001.

Finally, after years of planning, development and construction, MB Autowerks opens for business. MercedesShop world headquarters moves from my basement to the new facility. This is Feb 2002.



The changing economic climate after the 9/11 attacks have taken their toll. Benzmac decides he would like to exit MercedesShop and MB Autowerks. He sells his share of MercedesShop to the remaining owners in Aug 2004 and we both sell MB Autowerks in Nov 2004. What started with so much promise has ended abruptly.

Enter the Pelican
Wayne Dempsey, owner of Pelican Parts, contacts me and said he's looking for companies to acquire in the Mercedes area to complement his current Porsche & BMW business. This is May 2008.

The change in ownership of the domain "mercedesshop.com" from Benzmac to me allows Daimler AG an opening to once again challenge our domain in Nov 2008. This time they win and we change our name to PeachParts in April 2009.

Wayne and I continue to touch base every 6-months or so to discuss a possible Pelican/PeachParts combination. We decide to sign an NDA in Oct 2010 and get more serious in our discussions. Nothing much develops until Wayne assigns one of his key people, Trinidad Winters, to the project in March 2011. After months of analysis, due diligence and discussion we reach an agreement. The deal is closed on Sept 9, 2011.

During our history, we were approached several times by individuals and companies interested in buying us. However, their interest was in getting our forums, loading up every page with advertising and dumping the parts business. These weren't car people...they were just looking to make money. I could never bring myself to agree to turning our vibrant Shop Forum into an advertising whore. I felt it would betray the founders, Moderators and especially the members of the Shop Forum to do such a thing.

A Bright Future
Wayne and the Pelican team ARE car people. They DO understand DIY'ers and they know how important the Shop Forum community is and how the parts business fits into the equation. Pelican has the resources, knowledge, energy and determination to take PeachParts to the next level...far beyond anything that I could do.

It's time for me personally to focus on family and other interests. PeachParts could not be in better hands than with Wayne and his team. It's somewhat sad for me to walk away from "my baby" but, there's no doubt in my mind that PeachParts will grow and thrive.

Thanks!
I want to thank all of the Moderators for their hard work over the years and especially our many Shop Forum members and FastLane customers. Without you, this website would not be here.

Regards,
Bill

Attached Thumbnails
The Webmaster is retiring!-mercedesshop1999a.jpg   The Webmaster is retiring!-mercedesshop1999b.jpg   The Webmaster is retiring!-layout.jpg   The Webmaster is retiring!-mb_autowerks.jpg  
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2011, 05:31 PM
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awesome! Have a great retirement. I feel that this move will be great for the community.
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2011, 05:38 PM
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Have a happy retirement Mr. Bill.
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  #4  
Old 09-19-2011, 05:41 PM
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Thanks for "The Rest of the Story". There were a few "I never knew that" moments. Thanks for everything you did to get things up and going. I'm still an MB newb so the technical expertise has been invaluable.

Best of luck with with your future endeavors and enjoy your family time!
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  #5  
Old 09-19-2011, 07:23 PM
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Congratulations, Bill. I doubt you'll retire to a porch. Maybe a Porsche and a new venture. Whatever it is, I wish you all the best.

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  #6  
Old 09-19-2011, 08:33 PM
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Thanks for all the kind words Bill - we will take great care of your baby!

-Wayne
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  #7  
Old 09-19-2011, 08:44 PM
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It has been a pleasure to see where things started and it is a pleasure to see where it is going with this new combination. I've actually been studying Errie's postings on Pelican Parts because it has gotten my interest up in regards to maybe rebuilding a Porsche engine some day.

Thanks Bill for everything you have done to get PeachParts to where it is today and I hope you enjoy your retirement. Anytime you are down I-16 plan on stopping off at exit 71 for a visit.

Jim
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  #8  
Old 09-19-2011, 10:59 PM
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Best wishes Bill!
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2011, 01:20 AM
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Thank You!

For all Y'alls efforts over the years.

Enjoy!
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2011, 02:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampYankee View Post
Thanks for "The Rest of the Story". There were a few "I never knew that" moments. Thanks for everything you did to get things up and going. I'm still an MB newb so the technical expertise has been invaluable.

Best of luck with with your future endeavors and enjoy your family time!
X2

Have a great retirement Bill.

What will you do?

(I hear taking an old Mercedes to bits is de rigueur)
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I'm here to chat about cars and to help others - I'm not here "to always be right" like an internet warrior



Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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  #11  
Old 09-20-2011, 05:31 AM
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Posts: 3,126
Bill, thanks for the ride. I can't believe time has flown by so quickly these many years.

All the best to you and your family!
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  #12  
Old 09-20-2011, 08:17 AM
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Happy, happy, joy, joy!
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  #13  
Old 09-20-2011, 08:57 AM
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Have a great retirement Bill.
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  #14  
Old 09-20-2011, 10:01 AM
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Its been a wonderfull run. Enjoy the sunset
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  #15  
Old 09-20-2011, 10:27 AM
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You have built a wonderful community of friends here and a huge body of knowledge and a great source for Mercedes Benz parts to be purchased.

Thank you so much for all that you have done.

Have a wonderful SECOND retirement, now that this "baby" of yours has grown up!!

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