Attn: local hobby stores. Please earn my business

-- The Gratiot Valley Railroad Club bi-annual train show and sale November 2, 2003, at the Macomb Community College Sports
and Expo Center. Macomb County Michigan. Please visit our Web Site at: www.gvrr.org

boss.
You just happen to ask the right questions.

Thanks. Can I show him this? course, he might have to raise the prices. (G)

If you come in on a Tuesday or Thursday between 11 and 3, let me know. I won't be back, however, until the first Tuesday in October.

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Frank: How did you come about taking a job at the store? I'm sure many modelers dream of such a job, and would like to hear how you were able to connect up on such an opportunity.
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It was an off chance remark.
Mark, the owner, was talking to another customer as I was paying for my purchase. Mark said "Good help is hard to find." I piped up and said "I'm available". Mark and I had talked some years ago about the job, but since I am an 'at home dad' and my main focus was my two children, (then in 6th and 3rd grade) I felt that I really didn't have the time to spend working. Last January, with my son in 9th grade and my daughter in 6th, I felt that they could be home alone for a half hour or so, and told Mark. Mark and I talked again, and he told me that he needed me Tuesdays and Thursdays. I told him that I could work till 3pm and need school vacations off. I've been there ever since.
My only regret is that every third Thursday the PTP at my daughters school has a bake sale during lunch. I bake for it, but can't stay and kibitz with the kids.
Otherwise, I love the job and just sign my paycheck back to the store. (G)
-- The Gratiot Valley Railroad Club bi-annual train show and sale November 2, 2003, at the Macomb Community College Sports and Expo Center. Macomb County Michigan. Please visit our Web Site at: www.gvrr.org

up
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On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 16:27:36 -0700, Scott Ellsworth wrote:
=> I =>am not pleased that said store has not replaced the stock I bought six =>months ago, though, because when I go in, there is very little N scale =>to browse. Browsing is a big part of what I like about brick and mortar =>stores. This lack of stock has dropped the worth of window shopping in =>that store.
What percentage of the stuff you browse will you actually buy? If the store has to get in ten items in order to sell one to a browser like yourself, the store will lose money.
IOW, just how much are you willing to pay for your window shopping?
--

Wolf Kirchmeir, Blind River, Ontario, Canada
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If they have anything I can even remotely consider needed, I am glad to. I try to make sure they know what I need, so that they can order it if they want. As I said in my letter, I am willing to pay a premium for service, the amount depending on the kind of service.
For example, I usually pick up at least a little rolling stock on each trip, as there is no harm in having some around if I want to run a different period than the line models.
Scott
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wrote:

Sure, and for every person like you (and I don't doubt your intentions) there are 20 who demand the same high level of selection and service so they can browse for three hours deciding what to order from Standard Hobby.
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On 14 Sep 2003 07:41:09 -0700, Jason Lowe wrote:
=>Sure, and for every person like you (and I don't doubt your =>intentions) there are 20 who demand the same high level of selection =>and service so they can browse for three hours deciding what to order =>from Standard Hobby.
Yes, and in the trade publications, this is a perennial complaint. One store told of a customer who expressed interest in an item. When it came he said, "Thanks, now I know what it's like, I can order it from [discount mail-order]. Your price is too high." !!!!
The other complaint is that many mail-order discount operations are either owned by or are the retail segment of a distributor -- which means the distributor competes with his own customers.
The fact is (and I've said this before, ad nauseam), many discount mail-order shops sell to retail customers at standard wholesale discounts, plus s&H (plus a restocking charge for returned merchandise.) IOW, the distributor gets his cut whether he sells to a hobbhy shop or to a retail customer.
Many customers believe that they should be able to get full retail service for a discount price. There are enough of these around that the existence of the local full service hobby shop is threatened.
--

Wolf Kirchmeir, Blind River, Ontario, Canada
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Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:

Its a problem. I go to my local full service hobby retailer but all I usually buy is a few Kadee couplers, a bottle of paint, some rail joiners, and maybe Model Railroader. He isn't going to get rich off my business. But I'll miss him when he folds and I have to order even nit noy little bits and pieces over the internet.
David J. Starr
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My local hobby shop uniformly charges 20% off list. It's the right discount point for me and, I buy most of my stuff there. Full list price would turn me away from any hobby shop.
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I think of it as a "tax" to keep my LHS in business so I _can_ see stuff before I buy it mail order (if I ever do; haven't yet).
I grew up in Lake County, IL, and had one train shop within 20 miles (not counting Kenosha County). Now there are at least 3 in Lake County and two that I know of in Kenosha. In other words, living where I do now, I have 6 shops within about 12 miles. I _like_ having that many shops around, so I spend my dollars at the closest one for most items. Another has old mags and a junk drawer. Another sells ballast by the gallon jug... They each have their uses and I want to keep each one around for different reasons.
Jay CNS&M Wireheads of the world, unite!
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JCunington wrote:

And, uh, you load up on it, eh?
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I haven't yet, but I'll be needing a substantial amount of grey/white ballast for my North Shore Line mainline, so when I do, I'm off to Hiawatha Hobbies in Waukesha, WI (shameless plug).
Jay CNS&M Wireheads of the world, unite!
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comjkelm (JCunington) wrote in message

That's terrific. I like shops that have stacks of old magazines and used and consignment merchandise. In my travels I try to frequent shops that cater in used stuff. You are very lucky to have so many shops in one area.
Sal
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I realize I neglected to supply my location. I am in California, near Irvine. I have not tried every store near me, but have hit a surprising number.
Scott
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The hobby shop is not as significant a source for hobby products as it once was. I remember when hobby shops were full service places where you could get "professional" hobby advice. I even remember when some shops had employees wear bowling type shirts with the employees name and the hobby shop name on it. What was the alternatives back then (50's & 60's)? There were no train shows, no major mail order houses, and no internet. The hobby business is more competetive and the consumer is more sensitive to price. 40 years ago there was a quarter of the model making companies as there is today and selection was limited to mostly craftsman kits. I do not know what the solution is for hobby shops but I do know it is barley more than a break even business for most shops. Today a lot of guys who start hobby shops like the hobby, have some extra cash, and are looking to do something they think they'll like.
With so many other places to buy it is natural the number of hobby shops will start to shrink.
Sal
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My experience with "hobby stores" as opposed to model train stores hasn't been all that positive.
Perhaps I've visited a non-representivie example of the former, but those I've visited don't view model trains as a primary area. They'd be good places for R/C cars, and possibly R/C planes, but not trains.
Model train stores are a different matter. Unfortunately, I've long since given up on having a local store keep current N scale items. Thus, I use one that's on the opposite side of the country. It is, however, a real store with a substantial mail order business--mostly N scale.
Two stores get the majority of my O business. One is a local store that I generally visit every week or so. I buy stuff there. I don't just visit to see what something looks like and then order it elsewhere. They, too, have an internet site. The other is half the continent away, but also is a real store.
My primary point is that many mail order sources are also real stores. I suspect that this helps them know their products and is probably one of the reasons they're able to provide a level of service that encourages me to be their customer.
Carl Heinz
On 14 Sep 2003 19:31:59 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@Yahoo.com (Salinas McGee) wrote:

-- Carl Heinz - snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net
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A few hobby stores in my area, LOng Island, haven't restocked for years. A couple, when I last checked in, did away with trains altogether. RC cars, helis and planes dominate, and model planes and cars.
Robby
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robby wrote:

I've been flying RC heli's for about ten years and I would love to have a local store that supports the hobby. However my area doesn't have enough helicopter fliers to make it worth the cost of stocking heli' parts in the local hobby store, especially when some parts are quite expensive. A typical crash can cost $200. I'm usually grounded while I wait for a mail order. Now that I'm getting back into the model train hobby I appreciate having a local shop with a lot of stock.
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I live in West Los Angeles and have several model train shops within 75 miles. The closest (largest on the West Coast) does not discount, but hey, they are there. Others, (15 to 60 miles distant) do discount, but of course the governor (whoever he turne out to be) gets 8.25% which can offset a substntial shipping charge.
But my Mother, Grandmother, Sister, and two nephews live in Ashland, Oregon. Last time I was there, January, 2001, we went to check out the local hobby shop. This is in Medford, 15 miles away with virtually no way for those without private automobile access to get to. (That would include the nephews)
It was a halfway decent shop for the square footage. About half was devoted to trains with the rest to automobiles, aircraft and ships. But this was the only model shop within 150 miles. Everything was at MSRP. Of course, in Oregon there is no sales tax which automataclly equals a 8.25% discount for me. But they didn't have anything I wanted or needed. Pretty basic stuff mostly.
I ran into a similar shop in Santa Barbara on a recent Amtrak trip. Nice shop, but nothing of interest to me. If I wanted a big ticket item (Kato engine or such) I'd most likley go to the more local discount shops. If I wanted smaller ticket stuff, I'd more likely go local.
So, I understand the situation of those folks in rural areas or for that matter, urban areas with few local choices.
Conclusion, it AIN'T EASY RUNNING A SHOP THESE DAYS!
Regards
DAve Fan of the late, great Southern Pacific Railroad and Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe.
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Joe's Hobby Center in Farmington MI has heli's. Sales and service.
-- The Gratiot Valley Railroad Club bi-annual train show and sale November 2, 2003, at the Macomb Community College Sports and Expo Center. Macomb County Michigan. Please visit our Web Site at: www.gvrr.org

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