Another hobby shop bites the dust

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by spitfire, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    It's all or nothing...

    I was just up at Keith's Hobby Shop to look for some supplies...

    They specialize in R/C cars, Boats and military stuff...

    They've gotten completly out of Model Railroad stuff. Not even Flextrack or roadbed (Which is what I was looking for...)

    Talking to the guy at the counter, he suggested George's Trains or another one out in Scarborough. (East End of City which is too far away...)

    He also said that the only way to make money on Model Railroading is to carry everything possible, or else don't bother.

    It's all or nothing...

    Is that the curse of having too many choices and products available???

    The one thing that really strikes me as far as retailing Model Railroading is this...

    When I was a kid, you could get train sets and supplies from the department stores. Woolco was just down the street and there was a lot of Model Trians in the Sears and Eaton's Catalogues. Especially at Christmas, but year round too.

    Now, you can't buy any Model Railroad stuff except from Hobby Shops. It's like the manufacturers have painted themselves into a corner, because they won't authorize anyone except Hobby Shops and toy stores to sell their products...

    I remember a thread on the "Ask the Bachmann" message board a while back about this.

    The supposed logic behind this is that the department stores cut into the smaller Hobby Shop's sales/profits. So the manufacturers are trying to protect the LHS's. But, to me, it is not working out that way.

    The way that I see it is like this... You should be able to get the basics at a department store. Some Track, Turnouts and low end rolling stock, as well as trainsets at Christmas. This increases the exposure of the Hobby to the common Joe on the street.

    BUT... For service, advice, conversation and top end stuff, go the the LHS.

    It's like going to the corner store to get bread and milk, but to the grocery store for the rest of your food.

    Go to the department stores for convenience to get some basics, and go to the LHS for the rest...

    The other arguement is that the Internet sales are killing the LHS's. If this is the case, then maybe the manufacturers should be stopping internet sales. This won't happen, because the manufacturers are more interested in sales than in protecting LHS's. Even though they say that they stopped supplying department stores to protect LHS's.

    Ultimatly, perhaps, the manufacturers should stop interfering altogether. Eliminate "Authorized" and/or "Licenced" distributors and retailers altogether and let the market decide who can sell what.

    hmmmm.... Looks like this is turning into a rant. :D :D :D :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
  2. rcwatkins

    rcwatkins Member

    Used to be at my LHS (Hobby Lobby) they used to have a halfway decent stock of locos & cars. Now they've cut back on model railroading stuff. In HO they have some cheapy LL structures which come with even cheaper cars. Then they have Atlas track, no flextrack, the train sets, & the occasional cheap power pack. In N scale, they have Atlas track, B-Mann Train Sets, & the occasional structure. In O scale all they have are train sets, which BTW aren't even Lionel! All of this is stocked in 3/8 of an aisle in the back of the store. Their only saving grace is their selection of HO & Woodland Senics stuff. :(
  3. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    You MUST go and visit RAILVIEW, He is at the railway crossing on 14th ave just West of Warden, ALL TRAINS, no toys.
    Dave Morgan is the owner and a good guy.
    Check out my thread ,,,, Welcome to my LHS. I will bring it to the top again, you guys are missing out!!!!!!!
    He has sold of most of his N gauge:( as no one was buying, but you got to see his H O and the rest, he also custum paints:D
  4. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Yes, but...

    He's not Local...

    Sorry Chris... I'm very much West End Oriented. Any thing East of Yonge Street is foreign territory... :D George's Trains is even too far East for me... :eek:
  5. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Hi Tin Goat I brought it back to the top in Photo and scenery.

    Its North East away from the City.:)
  6. storm

    storm Member

    Re: It's not so much a case of

    pantherhobbies in on dundas and 427. that is the west end of toronto it would take like 10 min to get there from Down Town TO.
  7. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Re: Re: It's not so much a case of

    It would take a lot longer than 10 minutes by transit... But I am in that area often enough to take a look...
  8. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    It's a shame in many ways what's happened to 'small-business-retail', not just in our hobby, but in so many other areas.
    It's part of the whole changed demographic of shopping everywhere, and it was all driven by the buyer/ consumer.

    From small towns all the way to big cities, the former 'downtown cores' died, or are still dying, and the big boxes and big malls in the 'burbs took over.I think this killed retail more effectively than mail-order discounting or eBay did...[personal opinion only ].

    Stores downtown that were as often as not owned outright by the merchants, lost much of their theoretical property value, and could not be sold. Retail space in the new areas was available only by expensive lease, unaffordable to niche-market businesses.

    There's a large and ongoing trend towards 'home-businesses' for such specialty retail as our hobby. Entrepeneurs who operate out of their home basements or garages, most have an established client list/mailing list/emailing list, some have tables in 10-20 train shows a year in a 250-mile radius, and some have website selling.
    Even so, there's not much profit in this type of business, mainly due to inventory needs, but at least these folks avoid the crippling occupancy costs of retail lease locations.

    Like I said, it's a shame.... but the so-called First World inflicted this wound upon itself, in the name of 'progress'....... Second and Third world countries still have the same type of retail now, as they had a hundred years ago.
    regards / Mike:(
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Basement business

    further to some of Mike's comments.
    A number of the small dealers that I know are not really trying to live off the business. Some are altruistic, trying to provide a service. Others are using it as a way to participate in train shows, hoping to make enough to pay their expenses.
    I know a few who are using it to supplement retirement income.
    (Most of these comments are from the delears that supply British models.)
    And Free Trade was not meant to benefit the likes of us. :rolleyes:
  10. cpr_paul

    cpr_paul Member

    Toronto gets a new LHS?

    Hornet hobbies is located on O'Connor Drive, between Bermondsey and Eglinton and has been open for about two months now apparently. I was driving along with the wife when I happened to notice it there - pretty much slammed on the brakes and swerved into the lot.

    Pretty big store, but they still seem to be in the process of "stocking up". Not much N gauge right now - but they do have a fair bit of scenery stuff.

    Had a quick conversation with the owner - seems like a nice guy.

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