Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The End of an Era

This past week BioQuip Products announced to their customers that the company will be closing its doors permanently as of March 11, 2022, after more than 75 years of service to museums and universities, individual entomologists, botanists, naturalists, teachers, and many others. BioQuip, located in the Greater Los Angeles area, California, USA, employed scores of individuals skilled in the craftsmanship necessary to produce high quality goods like insect drawers and cabinets. The loss to the local community, as well as to clients, is nearly unfathomable.

My relationship with BioQuip dates farther than I can recall, but it was certainly the company I dealt with exclusively for decades, beginning when I learned how to make a proper insect collection. Back in Portland, Oregon where I grew up in the 1970s, we had our own biological equipment dealer, Carolina Biological Supply, in Gladstone, Oregon, but their selection of products for entomology was limited, and the quality was nothing to crow about. BioQuip always came highly recommended by my mentors, and I returned the favor by suggesting the company to students I mentored myself in later years.

When I struggled financially, I went to the owners of BioQuip and asked if they might be interested in sponsoring this blog. Without hesitation they agreed, and the revenue generated from their ads helped to keep me afloat. When the pandemic hit, I kept the ads up for no charge. It was the least I could do. The company has carried my books ever since their publication, and last year even invited me to do a virtual signing at an annual conference in Arizona.

BioQuip was a major exhibitor at the annual Bug Fair at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, and their presence there will be sorely missed. They were regular exhibitors at the national meetings of the Entomological Society of America as well, even when the convention crossed the border into Canada for a joint international meeting. BioQuip's offices were also the site for monthly meetings of the local Lorquin Entomological Society. These are the activities I know about personally, but no doubt the company was a major fixture in many other organizations and events.

I am personal friends with the owners of Bioquip, and I know it pains them deeply to have reached the decision to close. My understanding is that they did entertain offers to buy the company, but that nothing materialized in a timely manner. Managing a company in the best of times is stressful enough, but in our ongoing health and economic crisis, it is borderline impossible, especially when your major clients are public institutions that understandably had to make their own hard choices.

It is my wish for BioQuip owners, employees, and customers to find renewed success in every facet of their lives, with minimal hardship along the way. Thank you to all who have been affiliated with the company, you have had a far greater impact than you know.