NewHaven Software is a 22-year-old company that provides software to the catalog, mail order and electronic commerce business communities. Our legacy extends back to the mid-1980’s when Bruce Holmes founded a small company in Evanston, Illinois called Haven Corporation. Haven developed the Mail Order Wizard, a DOS-based software program that rapidly became the industry standard. Thousands of small to mid-sized catalog and mail-order companies chose the Wizard to successfully run – and grow – their businesses.
As the internet began to grow and create a new sales channel for direct marketers, the Wizard began to fall out of favor due to its legacy design limitations. Despite numerous attempts by Haven to produce a Windows-based solution (“Castle”) that would allow greater flexibility and increased growth potential for its customers, Haven failed to deliver. In August of 2000, Holmes sent out an e-mail to some of his customers, telling them that he was out of money and was shutting Haven down. All of Haven’s loyal, patient customers were suddenly left without a software migration path and no support for their beloved Wizard – and Haven’s employees were left without jobs.
Tom Danner was one of the recipients of that fateful e-mail. As one of Haven’s customers for many years, he too had been waiting for the long-promised but never delivered Windows-based replacement for the Wizard. He immediately got involved with a few other Wizard users in an attempt to find a way to move forward. To make sure that the valued Haven team members didn’t drift apart, he hired them as contractors to one of his companies in order to keep them all together until a solution could be found. He worked with other users, owners of competing companies and business brokers to try and find a way for Haven to move forward.
Ultimately, Ecometry Corporation (then of Delray Beach, FL) bought Haven’s assets from Holmes and hired Danner to form NewHaven Software in November of 2000. NewHaven officially set up shop as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ecometry Corporation in Rosemont, IL and began work on a new SQL-based Windows software package that would eventually be released as Commerce Management System the following year. Many of the former Haven employees were hired by NewHaven and continued support for the Wizard while development for CMS got underway. (For an interesting look at the NewHaven saga, take a look at the article that Inc. Magazine wrote in February 2001 and a follow-up article June 2002 (scroll down on the page to “Hope Floats”).
Less than a year later, Ecometry began to go through significant changes and decided to sell or shut down all of its external divisions. Once again, the future of this small software company, its customers and employees was in doubt. Danner negotiated with Ecometry to buy NewHaven and continue the work that had been started. In November of 2001, the deal was completed and NewHaven emerged as a privately-owned independent software company.