you know whats sad about lionel!

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by ozzy, Jan 24, 2007.

  1. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    they are now letting , target, macys, and even menards of all places sell lionel trains now. but wont let my LHS sell them, the ONLY train shop in about a 100 miles .
  2. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Why not???
  3. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    i dont know, there picky i guess,,,,,, maybe its becuase they say MTH
  4. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Well, I know that certain guitar companies tell music stores that they have to sell so many of their guitars a month otherwise the store loses it's "authorized dealer" status or has to buy the difference.

    I wonder if Lionel is doing the same thing with hobby shops? If they can get Wal-mart to move something like 300,000 train sets a year, they aren't going to deal with a local LHS that can only sell 2 or 3 a month.
  5. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    They're selective about what they'll allow the large retailers to sell, but it's no secret that the majority of Lionel's sales in the '50s were through the big department stores. Lionel needs to reach the people who wouldn't think to go into a hobby shop if it wants to grow, and I suspect that's a big part of the reason why Lionel's sales are up 40% over the last couple of years.

    I know Lionel has requirements of hobby shops, but I don't know the specifics. There may be different levels too. I know one hobby shop by me can sell sets and track, but that's all they have. The others have a larger selection of sets and track, along with cars and higher-end locomotives.
  6. Geno

    Geno Member

    It's too bad a company like Lionel has a condescending attitude towards the smaller 'Mom and Pop' hobby stores, since that's the first place a hobbyist goes to buy more equipment to add to their train set or layout. The larger chain stores may be selling sets at the holidays, but they won't be selling most items out of the catalog all year long.

    I guess that's Lionel's way to drive you to buy from the big mail order distributors.

  7. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    Unfortunately many small mom and pop stores are behind on their accounts. In fact even some distributors have this problem. So it is not as cut and dry to the fact that Lionel is the bad mean company that doesn’t want to add all the small hobby shops in America.

    A strong requirement of most good manufactures is that their distribution market also has good financials to become a dealer. This is even more important since depending on what information you review Lionel has its own financial problems.

    I’m not sure if Lionel provides a marketing territory for some of their larger dealers but this is another common approach that could limit the locations for new dealers. Then there is the direct or distributor approach with Lionel. If you are a direct dealer you deal with Lionel, if you’re the other than you deal through a Lionel distributor or middleman.

    In my opinion Lionel has too many small part time dealers and not enough fully stocked mid to large size dealers. I think the decision to re-market through the larger box stores is a good thing even if they deal with the low-end train sets. This expands the future market for trains and related accessories.

    [FONT=&quot]Just be happy that the train business has not gone the way of the photography business. Remember when every small town had a photography store?

    Now they are hard to fine even in the larger cities across the United States.[/FONT]
  8. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    In defense of Lionel, all of the hobby shops near me that carry Lionel are family-owned stores. Some bigger than others and some carry more than others. One's run by the family of a guy I went to school with.

    So there are mom & pop stores selling Lionel.

    I know what you mean about photography stores. One of my best friends worked at a photography store for a number of years. It was a small family business. It got to the point where the family was making more money selling random stuff on eBay than they were from the store. The store got robbed one night, and they were left with none of their high-profit used inventory to sell. The insurance company was slow with their payment, and they were forced to close the shop. They laid off their workers, paid unemployment until they got other jobs, and became full-time eBayers. And this was in St. Louis.

    I think there are more authorized Lionel dealers in St. Louis now than there are dedicated camera stores.
  9. gfmucci

    gfmucci Member

    I certainly would not blame Lionel for selling in large department stores. And I wouldn't blame them for not selling where their product is not selling - e.g. small shops that do a marginal business. In fact, I would suggest that they remove the Lionel dealers from their website who have little if any Lionel product. That is just misleading.

    In the Florida Panhandle, there are also more train shops than there are photo shops.

    I'm surprised at this because photography is a bigger deal to more people than model or toy trains are. Perhaps train and hobby shop owners are more devoted to their hobby and have a more dedicated following than photo shop owners. Most professional and amateur photographers buy on the net. The snapshooter/casual photographers just buy the camera and are done with it - the Walmart and Target will do for this.

    Railroaders are comprised of first time buyers and hobbyists. First time buyers will buy from the department or toy store. The hobbyist will buy from the hobby/train store and internet. I would guess the hobby/train stores are surviving becasue of the desire of the customer to see and touch the product - plus the nostalgia of the product combined with the nostalgia of the hobby shop - and especially the helpful nature of most hobby/train shop owners and their enthusiasm and love for the hobby which can be contagious.

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