Do you guys who've been around a while find yourselves ordering more
from magazine ads and/or net sites, and going to the LHS less? I've
noticed that as traffic increases around here (Portland, OR) I'm less
and less inclined to drive the eleven miles to the only well-stocked
hobby shop in the area, and more inclined to order direct. Buying
balsa, plywood, etc. from places like Lone Star or Superior is way
cheaper than going to the LHS, and often kits, engines, adhesives, etc,
are not enough cheaper, considering gas and frustration with traffic, to
make it worthwhile to buy locally.
While I WANT to support my LHS, I'm doing it less recently. Driving 28
miles into the country to fly is bad enough; driving eleven miles
through city traffic is too much. What about you guys in other parts of
I did Tower for lots of stuff at first. Since there's been a hobby
shop/pawn shop about 46 miles away. He'll meet or beat Tower and he flies
and he's a nice guy so I buy MOST from him now. Less online/mail order.
So what part of Portland do you live in? I'm figuring by well stocked, you
mean Tammies. There are others.
I myself don't like mail order. I like to touch, feel, & hold things b4 I
buy them. Price isn't an issue, since my LHS matches Tower's prices. I also
don't like waiting a week or so for the UPS truck to show up. Then there is
the hassle of returning some thing that didn't fit or work out right.
Paul in Redland
You return stuff? You're supposed to save it for the next model!
Is Aero Sports on Glisan still 'well stocked'? It used to be my LHS
when I lived in Damascus and it was on 122nd and Division. I stopped
going when Leon retired.
If I know I'm going to need it I mail order balsa, paint and other bulk
building materials -- the good suppliers will select balsa for you, at
the LHS you get what's left after all the good stuff has been picked out
(unless you're early -- then you can pick out all the good stuff yourself!).
Honestly- I haven't bought anything from a mail order house since I
ordered a bunch of hard to get 1/16 x 1/8" spruce, from Sig, around
1970- ! So I guess I'm not the one keeping all these places going...
Geoff Sanders wrote:
THATS NEW ONE ON ME!!!
but i like to do both(support LHS and mail order) because most of
the shops in My area all cater to the car, trucks rc'ers and for
good reason- they spend big money...
fliers(heli too) don't. it's as simple as that.
Redland, as in the Oregon City suburb?
SE, near 39th and Powell.
The new one in Jantzen Beach is a joke; Coyote in OC is good, but
small. And RC Modeler NW is waaaaaay out there.
For some things, you're right. But when you buy $100 worth of balsa?
I can usually sneak off during work hours to hit my LHS as I work outdoors
and am citywide. Simple task to detour a couple of blocks on the way back to
the city yard at the end of the day.
I do order things online from time to time but since nobody is home to sign
for things during the day I really weight the decision. Quite often I have
things shipped to my father's house. He is retired and home during the day.
He then brings whatever it was to the field the following saturday or I drop
by on the way home from work.
(This is also handy when you buy that kit that comes in a large, hard to
explain to the better half, box)
I try to support my LHS whenever I possibly can. The owner will usually
match or beat large item prices for me.
The thought of the only hobby shops remaining if he goes under being Slobby
People or Hobby Clown is too depressing to contemplate even tho we have both
here in Santa Clarita and the Slobby People is within walking distance.
They mainly cater to the car dudes so getting help at the plane counter
I've been intentionally trying to do the opposite. I spent a lot of money
at Tower Hobbies last year, but I also patronized a couple of the LHS pretty
This year I'm trying to spend more locally to support the local hobby
stores. I'm only web ordering stuff that they either don't have locally or
that I can't get locally, for the most part.
I'm back in the hobby after a 36-yr absence.. There is a very good hobby
shop 23 miles (ea. way) from where I live. I was surprised to see the price
of today's electronics was so in-expensive, compared to 1970. However, I was
'shocked' to see the price of ALL other RTF, ARF, kits and supplies.
Needless to say, I started to shop from the internet and mainly from Tower
Hobbies. Since last October, I've spent $1700, saving $210 in discounts and
freebies, $128 in St.tax, and $75 on S.& H., for a total savings of $413.
Now the other guys in our chapter tell me the DHS (distant hobby shop), will
match any internet prices. Maybe too late, but Great!
I realize, it's important to support the DHS, but a $ is a $. I'm retired,
so I don't have that much to waste. It cost me $6 to drive my truck both
ways to the DHS. Then there's the St. tax of 7-1/4%. At my age, I hate to
pay any more tax!
The reason I like Tower Hobbies is....They are just a few hundred miles away
and it takes three days to receive an order. If you read their web-pages
carefully, you should know, 'And Can See' EXACTLY was you're getting. Yes,
I've made a couple mistakes and so have they, but THEY have always corrected
the mistake at NO extra charge for S.& H.. If I call them on Monday, I
usually receive the replacement by Friday, just in time for a week-end of
flying. Being a reitred design engineer, I also plan my projects so I don't
overlap buying accessories, such as; chargers, connectors, terminals,
battery packs etc..
If I need something in a hullava big hurray (which I rarely do), I'll drive
the 46 miles. For what it's worth, the DHS is owned by a bunch of hobbyists
that don't rely on it for a living. I buy ALL my fuel from them because it's
too expensive to have it shipped by UPS. In the end, I'll probably spend a
few hundred dollars in their shop each year. EXAMPLE: I needed a electric
connector to charge a battery pack. The DHS charged me $1.79 + tax, for ONE
terminal, when I could have bought FOUR of the same item for $1.79 over the
Finally, most of my projects are planned AHEAD, so I don't mind the UPS
delivery time. At this time, I'm working on a ARF EP Helicopter. This may
take awhile because I'm the first to try a Heli in our chapter.
Enjoy the flying season. I am!
Earl Scherzinger, AMA #40329
I am afraid the trend is increasing. Our local hobby shop no longer
carries kits and although he sells lots of balsa, he is going towards
electric cars, electric planes, ARFs and so on. Poorly stocked
monokote, too. The proprietor says he can get what you want
on special order, but his performance in that area is poor as he
sometimes takes a few weeks to get what you wanted.
Other than that, we have Hobby Lobby in the area, but they are rather
high priced IMHO and are 99% electric.....so...the
mail order houses that carry what the long time modeler wants are
doing better all the time...go figure...
disappointed in Hendersonville, TN
of course the nearest hobby shops are
40 miles north
60 miles southwest
90 miles east or 80 miles southeast.
Yes, I buy all my stuff over the Internet.
Now back when we HAD a LHS, I bought virtually everything from there.
30 years ago I ordered mostly from mail order because it was way cheaper
than local hobby shops. These days the LHS prices are close enough to tower
prices that I prefer to give my business to the local guys. I do order
occasionally from web sites though. If I need something not in stock, the
LHS will order it and pick up the shipping, so If I'm not in a hurry I'll do
that. If I am in a hurry, I'll order it myself and pay the shippng to get
Absoulutely. Went into the LHS yesterday since I needed emergency CA and
other glues,. Christ it was expensive,.
Looked at a spare folding prop. 20% more expensive than I got the last
one posted to me even *including* postage.
To buy just diesel for that trip would have cost me around £6 ($10) Ad
in wear an tear on the motor and its nearer $20...that covers a LOT of
And when I got there, there was not a single kit of interest,all gasser
ARTFS of the same or similar looks, the electric motors were overpriced
and crap, he didn't carry a spare switch for my futaba tranny 'special
and frankly, its probably the last time I will bother to go.
I can pone up tow or three UK mail order companies, and get the stuff in
the post by the next day. I sill like to select balsa by hand
though...but thats a once a year trip..
I tried going to the local hobbyshops, but they never have what I want in
stock, other than little parts, which I do try to buy locally. I would buy
fuel from them too, if they ever had what I wanted in stock without a half
inch of dust on it.
We have a local hobbyshop "Just R/C" in northwest Georgia which I will try
to buy from more frequently. He supports our club, so I'll support him. The
grouchy old fart. Hi, Bob!
I pretty much hate to order stuff online. I hate having to pay for shipping
and I also hate having to be home to sign for it when it comes. I live in
the L.A. airport area of S. California and believe it or not, the only shop
around is a "Hobby People" and they act like they are a small Mom and Pop
store and can't afford to have much of an inventory. If you want a prop ...
you get a choice of about one of three made .. a crystal for your receiver
... oh, don't have that one .. even though there is a blank space on the
hook marked for it. Come back a week or two later ... still blank. It's not
like they had a run on that frequency. It's hard to believe how little they
stock. I look through their catalogue and see what I want, go over there,
and they never have it. I pretty much just use them for small parts and
balsa and HAVE to order the other things online. Is this typical for "Hobby
People" or is it just the A-holes that run this store?
To me, it is typical of every hobbyshop I've been to in my entire life.
There was a time when there weren't that many choices in the hobby product
line, but even then the hobbyshops didn't stock all that much. I had one
shop owner tell me that the largest container of glow fuel available was a
quart. I went out to my car and brought back in a Gallon container of Fox
Missile Mist and showed it to him. He insisted that his distributor did not
sell fuel in containers larger than a quart. This was the days before the
word discount had invaded the hobby and everything sold at MSRP. Naturally,
four quarts cost a lot more than a single gallon container. I learned early
on to shop via snail mail for most of what I wanted. America's Hobby Center
was my hero of the day.
With all of the choices of products that are available today, but with only
so few customers in a given area, is it any wonder that hobbyshops cannot
meet our needs unless we are rank beginners and do not know what we are
It would be heaven on Earth to walk into a large hobbyshop that had
everything that I could possibly want, but that simply isn't going to
happen. It isn't financially doable. Our hobby is about expression and
creativity, not buying the same ARF as everyone else. The present hobby
supplier paradigm is on the edge of collapse, if I read the owner's
abandonment of the Hobbico/Great Planes/ Tower conglomerate to their
A large part of our hobby has moved into the toy arena. The original core of
modelers still exists, but it is not worthy of big business' attention.
After the shakeout occurs, we may have real hobbyshops again, but the low
prices will have disappeared. This is just the way that I see it.
I think its typical for all the Slobby People stores. They seem to mainly
cater to the car/truck crowd. I suppose they have more disposible cash. Of
the 3 stores I have been in, Santa Clarita, Pasadena, Encino, there are
always clerks behind the counter on the ground side and tumbleweeds rolling
behind the counter on the air side.
If I need 3 or 4 servos of a particular type (Futaba J or Hitec S) the odds
of getting them all the same is never good. Man, I HATE having to get servo
I only hit the place if I find I need something today right now, usually CA
or something like that.
If I can wait, I will hit what I call my LHS, Robins Hobby, and get it
there. Sloppy People is about 6 blocks from my apt. Robins is about 25 miles
away. Robins is my LHS.
Up to a couple of weeks ago, we also had in Burbank, T&A Hobby and Gizmos
but Tony is closing T&A and Gizmos is for sale.
The writing is on the wall, gentlemen. Mail order may soon be the only way
to get anything RC related.
Last week I needed a 2 rolls of Goldberg striping tape. Went to the
local hobby shop in Largo Fl. and they wanted $8.65 a roll. Said no
thanks, went home and checked Tower's price. $4.49 a roll.
Sometimes you are forced to mail order when it is obvious the local
shops are just out to gouge you.