Hobby Shop or otherwise?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by LarryGarrett, Jan 23, 2003.

  1. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    More and more retailers are operating out of their homes now, which avoids the runaway rental costs of commercial space, and the problem that the space can't be where you'd like it to be, to attract the most customers.
    All of these home-based retailers do mail & phone orders, and most have tables in trainshows as well. Some of them do internet order business also.They build up a client list, and by-and-large, they serve those clients as well, or better, than they could out of any commercial retail location.
    Long term, I think that's where retail was heading back in the 80's, and it is there now, to stay.:) [IMHO]
    regards / Mike
  2. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Provided you are prepared to...

    Provided you are prepared to pay all expenses- name what you want regarding model railroad items- I'll deliver it personally- in a Limo (said expenses being covered).

    The last time I offered that option- I omitted the "model" railroad statement and am now in hiding from a modeler "nicked"- Deliver or Die.

    If it's not "commercially " available- we'll convince you what we have to offer is what you want.:eek:

    Gotta have fun!:D

  3. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    The only way i can have any type of selection in equipment in S-Gauge is to use the internet. There's only one REAL railroad modeling shop here in town, the other just closed. Before that we had a "Great American Train Store" at the mall, and y'all know what happened to them.

    The remaining shop has to cater to the gauges with the greatest number of modelers. N, HO and O, or it'll perish too.

    I also purchase a lot of supplies and equipment at train shows. There's a lot a good stuff out there, it's just spread all over the country.

  4. Rusted

    Rusted Member

    Our state governments are very concerned about the lost sales taxes due to mail order business. Give it time, it will be taxed.

    I have a local hobby shop. As a higher volume buyer, I get a 15% discount off retail or off his inflated retail - pretty nice gesture, much appreciated. His service is weak and his selection is poor - nonetheless I spend some money there on a regular basis.

    On my work travels, I go through Minneapolis/St. Paul. One local chain retailer has an awesome selection but really makes you work to get a volume discount.

    But the real treat, and worth the stop if you are ever in the area is a little combination bicycle, hobby and garage door shop! It's called Mendota Bike and Hobby - everything is 20% off retail, every day. Pretty good selection, great service and they will order anything. Plus they've got a great little 4x8 HO layout they'll let you run to pass some time.

    (Local hobbyshop story: they've had a P2K SD60 behind the glass for $110 for 2 1/2 years now. I've purchased 3 on ebay for less than $60 each delivered. His cost is $55 - I would have paid him $65 plus tax but he wouldn't do it.)
  5. Ravensfan

    Ravensfan Member

    Not a quirk, merely a reality. There is no national sales tax. In states where applicable, an online retailer, catalog as well, typically only collects state sales taxes on shipments to the states in which it has operations or distributions (I just order something from Barnes & Noble to Pennsylvania and paid no sales tax. Had I lived in New Jersey, I would have paid sales taxes). Otherwise you are on the honor system, which is known as the Use tax. This is when you purchase something from out-of-state, like online, and voluntarily submit the sales tax to your state treasurer. Theoretically, you, as a consumer in the state, are legally required to make such payment. In reality, it does not happen unless there is an effort by the State. For example, about 8 years ago New Jersey targeted lawyers who bought office supplies and equipment from out-of-state vendors by sending a reminder of their obligation under the law and supplying the appropriate forms for submission. Essentially, it was a tool by the Governor to bring in some cash to help fill holes in the budget. There was never any intention to pursue the matter any further. I think I've talked too much.
  6. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    Ravensfan;Did the New Jersey lawyers pay?
    New Jersey lawyers buying out-of-state ?....surprised they didn't get a visit from Tony Soprano's associates reminding them to 'shop locally':D :D :D
  7. I really don't have much of an option when it comes to buying. I have to mailorder simply because the nearest hobby shops are about an hour's drive away. I can't see spending two hours driving time plus gas just to go to a hobby shop.

    If I had a nearby LHS, I would probably patronize it exclusively. I'm a browser and can always find stuff besides what I really need. :)

    Back in the 80's one of the best train stores I ever saw was located in North Kansas City. It was called "Preston's Trains." Saturday morning was a great time to be there because all of the regulars would gather there and talk model and proto railroading. Preston made sure there was always a fresh pot of coffee, and usually one of the guys would bring in some donuts. It was a good time for the modelers, and it was good business for Preston. Unfortunately, the recession of the late '80's caught him - as it did many small business owners - and he was forced to close the business. Shortly after that, my life went through some changes, and I bought my home at the Lake. So now, as I said, the nearest hobby shop is an hour's drive each way. :(
  8. grumbeast

    grumbeast Member

    Pretty much all of my buying is done through the LHS
    except for a few things that he can't get hold of. We're
    lucky in Halifax having a reasonably well stocked store
    without a really large population. Oh.. and one thing a
    mail order place can never do. Our LHS has made his
    basement available to our BendTrack group so we can
    permanently setup and work on the it, plus he's
    contributed a large module and all the materials to go
    with it. What does he want in exchange?.. nothing really
    he knows he'll get business from us and if he chooses
    to take potential customers to look at the layout in order
    to encourage them, then good luck to him :)

    Most of the time I can't afford to buy, but pop in for a chat
    as many people do here, its encouraged, we have a place
    we enjoy and people passing or visiting see a place that
    seems to be alive (hopefully) making them curious about the
    hobby. There are many intangibles about LHS's that I think
    we miss in the all-consuming hunt for the best bargain

    and finally.. no I don't mind paying the higher costs for this
    I think its a good deal, I'm paying a little extra for things that
    mail or internet orders cannot and will never deliver.


    Graham (all in favour of LHS's)
  9. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Val, since I don't model any Canadian roads I find that fact more annoying and frustrating than anything else. I go into my LHS (or even peruse through our national modeling mag), and all I see is CN and CP. ACK !!! If you're trying to model anything US, it's very rare to see 'em.
  10. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Railery, I used to order from internettrains too, but I'm looking for a new discount mail order supplier. An order I placed on December 26 with internettrains still hasn't even been SHIPPED, never mind arrived, despite a number of emails. They have lost my business for good, and I'm not the only one that's had the same trouble in the last month or so.
  11. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    rockislandmike is right on about how difficult it can be to model a US road up here in Canada...I've been a B&O modeler on H0 for over 45 years, and getting anything from a LHS has always been understandably difficult. Sometimes though, it's even worse, when you are willing to special order something, but the dealer won't do it !
    I've had this happen twice, with 2 different LHS where I was doing business...both times, I saw advice of a new P2K B&O diesel,and I ordered 2 different road numbers....I DIDN'T CARE ABOUT THE PRICE, AND THEY KNEW IT.
    Advice ?..weeks later, nothing.
    Then more weeks, more nothing...I finally got P.O. enough to ask what the h*** was wrong... and you know what?
    I got this.."I can't get the B&O items from Life-like Canada, they only carry Canadian road names!" I asked why he didn't tell me this sooner, and got a shrug.
    The next year, another announcement, a different dealer, the SAME result, only this time I went in only 4 weeks after the order, and said: "You deal with Walthers, don't you?"...[yes]....Then why don't you order my engines from Walthers ?!!!???"....[ok, but I sttod right there while he phoned Walthers]...but by that time, they only had the one road number.
    Just great, so because the dealers got a better markup by dealing with a Canadian wholesaler, I got one engine out of the four I wanted.

    Here's another one....very small town, few model railroaders, a new hobby shop [ no longer here]. He knew I was a B&O modeler, regular customer, known me for years.
    Athearn Genesis came out with a nice Mikado. He had a total of ZERO customers who ever bought NYC or Pennsy equipment. So he gets two of the new 2-8-2's in ...guess which two...NYC & Pennsy, even though it was available in B&O. ...wow!
    I envy the situation of the Halifax-Dartmouth modelers.
    regards / Mike

    :( :(
  12. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Yeh, there's one guy "Richard" at an LHS; he knows I'm a ROCK fan, so he does bring in ROCK stuff from time to time - doesn't hurt that he's somewhat of a fan too. Also, when I mentioned I was looking for Rio Grande coal hoppers, he pointed me in the right direction, and I told him to bring in SIX for me, and I'd take them no problem. I also informed him I wanted those Cyprus (sp?) tank cars from Atlas, he wasn't totally sure what he could, but he definitely will try he said.
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I remember when you couldn't get Canadian stuff at all; even American prototype repainted. Now try to convince them to get something for the London Brighton and South Coast.
    I tend to use the LHS because I don't really trust mail order and I like to see before I buy. I will order some things if I've actually met the dealer.
  14. Ravensfan

    Ravensfan Member


    I think most did pay and got the message and it did occur during the Florio administration, so it was almost like getting a visit from your friendly neighborhood chamber of commerce.

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