The end of the reseller era

My friends at Robot Mesh have announced their closing.

For many of you, your favorite reseller will be stopping VEX products.

And STEM Robotics will also not be a reseller after Saturday.

Since 2008, STEM Robotics has been a reseller. Thanks to Bob M @Bob_Mimlitch_III and Paul C @Paul_Copioli1 , we were able to sell VEX products at a discount. We applied that discount to shipping for teams to help them out. We also stocked parts (motors, brains, gears) to be able to deliver Same Day service in SE PA and in Delmarva. We took parts to events to help teams out when it was a disaster day. We took profits to run events. In the early days this was all a big deal. STEM Robotics just does the RMA process, we give you a new brain for bad and we take the hit on the time. All of your resellers did awesome customer support for you.

And while we get grants to help teams, the support from VEX allowed us to grow SE PA from 4 teams to the current levels and then repeat that in Delmarva. I can’t tell you how happy that I am to have watched SE PA and Delmarva grow from a hand full of robot teams in 2006 to the wave of today. And looking at the Worlds list, to see so many of those teams going to Worlds. So Cool.

While I’m sad that STEM Robotics isn’t able to help teams in our area, I’m deeply saddened by the posts by Sam.

Robot Mesh Studio has been my goto programming environment for years. It’s had features that the VEX Code team are just now catching up on. By building on Blockly, they have made the transition to and from their platform so easy for roboteers and builders. Thanks guys, I’m going to miss you.

I get that VEX needs to make these changes as a company to support them and offer growth. But I’d like to see some applause from the VEX community for your VEX resellers that have made it possible for you to achieve the success you have enjoyed.

Place your last few orders now. Or just post your thanks to you reseller here.

Paul and Bob, thanks for 14 great years. I’m super happy to be part of the ride that was making VEX the number 1 in competition robotics. I was there when FIRST decided to screw you and I’m very happy that I make the right choice.

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This is overall a very bad decision for the community, but honestly I’m not surprised but very sad about it.

I can think of many instances where Robotmesh and the like carried VEX and I will say without Robotmesh software effort we would not have VEX code as it exists now, and I’m not sure it will be pushed forward in the long run without competing options……

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Of all the Taran posts across the years, I think this one may become my favorite. Direct, to the point, no extra verbiage, Succinct. So munch nuance in a single character. Very nice job!

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I very much would like to know the rationale behind VEX shutting down resellers. Increase profits? Decrease accessibility of parts? Who is to say. You all will be missed.

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I would personally like to thank Robot Mesh, as in past years, they were the only reason we and other teams on our little island could afford to do any kind of competition robotics, with their fair pricing and free shipping. Not being able to have free shipping anymore has been very hard on all of us.

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I would also like to personally thank Robot Mesh for the years of excellent customer service, free shipping, reliability, and free advice. We will really miss them and I will make sure to order as much from them as I can until they close.

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ALL resellers? Will Robosource.net also be closing down?

I never personally used Robot Mesh, since they don’t ship to my area, but it is still very sad to see them go nonetheless.

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Robosource is not an official VEX reseller, they mostly sell VRC-legal commodity parts such as screws and rubber bands, plus tools, storage solutions, etc. Those are all things that can be bought wholesale from normal vendors.

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Gotcha. Thanks for the clarification.

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So to get this straight… Robosource.net is ok. However, RMS is shutting down? Now is the coding platform for RMS shutting down? Or just the supply site?

From what I understand, the coding portion of RMS is going to stay up for now, however it won’t be updated, and if any major V5 updates happen to the firmware that would cause RMS to break, then RMS won’t update to fix it.

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Thank you to Robot Mesh for everything they have done for the VEX community, including my team while Robot Mesh was still allowed to ship to my state. I remember my dad liked Robot Mesh the best (likely due to the website interface and their free shipping), and we were very disappointed when the rules changed and they were no longer allowed to sell outside their region.

I understand that VEX probably needed to make the decision to stop having resellers for business reasons, but I hope that they change their minds if at all possible, and even allow all resellers to resell to all regions again. I feel that this would greatly increase the number of teams who are able to afford VEX, and also improve VEX’s reputation by allowing customers to bypass any flaws that may exist with VEX’s own shipping system (other than ones which affect the resellers and where the reseller can’t avoid passing a delay on to the customer), and allowing anyone who would do a good job as a VEX reseller to be able to use these skills (or their optional generosity) without requiring VEX to hire them all directly (and likely not lay off any of their current employees either, unless they had to do so as a result of the decrease in business).

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I just talked to iDesign Solutions (Our reseller out of Buffalo) and as of 11 am this morning they will no longer be a reseller either.

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That’s a shame. Definitely pour one out for RobotMesh and their friends/competitors who helped make the market a better place for everyone.

RMS being deprecated is especially unfortunate; even though I didn’t prefer it, it’s a nice piece of kit that I’m sure is beloved by many. (And I know I’d be pretty sad if the plug got pulled on PROS, as an analogy.)

Nah, with their track record, I’m 95% confident that it’s just greed. Hopefully I’m wrong and it is actually that 5% genuine need, but…

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