Your Local Hobby Shop

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by hooknlad, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. Relic

    Relic Member

    Due to a condition of near terminal poverty ,the oppressive price of fuel and the fact that the nearest "local"hs is arround a hundred miles away limits my experience but the two shops I have dealt with Georges in Dartmouth and Maritime Hobbies in Halifax have both bent over backwards to help me.
    I try to save most of the year and hope to find what I need/want at a show.
  2. diesel

    diesel Member

    Hello All,

    We have 5 local hobby shops in the area. 2 being Trainworld and Trainland, the same org. but about 20 miles apart. I visit them for my major purchases. If I just want a few Kadees ect. I hit Red Caboose, even though....... some of you out there know what I mean. I order from Klien ( too, they are having a great sale right now. Also 1st place hobby, and because of their extensive parts dept. Anyone need spare Athearn parts 1st place will have it at a discount. LHSs are fun to just be in. But sometimes getting stuff in the mail is fun too. I want both to stick around.

  3. diesel

    diesel Member

    I forgot to mention I don't order from ebay, but when I do order online the shipping usually is about the same as the tax would have been. With the discount online it is still less expensive.
  4. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Herc Driver, you should blow through Charlotte and take the extra hour to go to Spencer for a visit to the Little Choo Choo Shop (and the NC transportation Museum).

    I either have to drive an hour north to Mt Airy or an hour south to Spencer for all my LHS needs.
  5. zedob

    zedob Member

    Massachusetts is loaded with HS's, but I can only attest to two of them. Pioneer Hobbies, which is across the river from my house and Tuckers in Warren. Pioneer is a mixture of hobbies, but they have all of the basic MRRing stock and the peole are pretty freindly. Tuckers is a true MRRer's hobby shop. Just trains, all crammed into an old house. Very reminiscent of an old hardware store, which from what I understand, it was one before it became a HS.

    I try and spread myself between the two. Pioneeer usually gets my materials and supplies purchases and tucker is the place to go for specifics.

    I do visit "The Time Machine" HS in Manchester CT, which used to be strictly MRRing when it was "The Train Exchange", but they expanded to cover every other hobby since they first opened. It's still a good store, but not as quaint as it used to be. The scratch building and high end kits section has dwindled down over the years.

    I do use the internet stores and ebay, but except for finding that special something I was looking for at the LHS, I still try and give my LHSs most of my business.
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I buy probably 90% of my hobby supplies at F&M Hobbies in Denville. Good pricing, lots of interesting stock. Very well stocked details section, 4 paint lines (large military section) lots of scratchbuilding stuff. Lots of tools, Woodland Scenics, Chooch, etc. I do always call before driving over tho cause even tho it doesn't happen often, he occasionally takes the day off! This is a one man operation.

    The other hobby store I visit a few times a year is MRPO. They're almost an hour from me but they are also a well stocked, competitively priced store. They do mail order and have ads in RMC every month, or did, I haven't looked recently. The owner is a great guy, despite me only going every 6 months or so, he remembers my name. I don't know why, but that impresses me. I guess because it indicates care in maintaining his business. He stocks handlaying supplies which is my main draw.
  7. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    91rioja - Been to Spencer and had a great time. Took the family there for my son's bday...paid for the "Cab" ride in the restored GP30 and he got to blow the horn at rides' end. I was only sorry that there was no Nscale to buy at the train shop - unless I totally missed finding some.
  8. caellis

    caellis Member

    I shop about twice a month at Roy's Trains in Mesa, AZ.

    I buy my large dollar items on the internet. Th local hobby shop rarely discounts but they do carry most items I need/needed to complete a layout, scenery, etc.

    Good selection of rolling stock, paints, books, hardware and three major brands of DCC in stock.
    They cover all scales but HO and N have the largest inventory for HO.

    All of the employee's are railroad modellers and helpful as well as friendly.
  9. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    My shay was $275 at the hobby shop but less then $125 with shipping and duty online. The porter was under $50 online and $100 dollars at the cheapest store.
    I bought 40 dpdt switches for under 40 dollars online with shipping and the stores charge 2.50 up to 5 dollars each. For 40 that would be 100 to 200 dollars.
    So far online has been 50 % or more cheaper INCLUDING SHIPPING AND DUTY.
    The ONLY thing the local hobby shop has that is even vaguely comparable it strip wood.
    Also IF they have what I want it is available right now.
    Used stuff is also available right away.
    For me anyhow, I have found online a blessing and tons cheaper.
    When I go to the LHS they are ussually out of what I want and have to order it. If I buy online they send it to me faster then the LHS can order 90% of the time.
    Considering my dad had a hobby and aquarium shop when I was a kid, I would love to support the local guy but when they charge 2 to 5 times more then I can get it online, well I just don't have that type of money to throw away.

    There are about 6 or 7 LHS's within ten miles of me [at least that many]. Today for instance. I phoned over a dozen of them and NONE of them had what I wanted and if they did it would cost 2.5 to several times more then on the net [including shipping].
    Also the wait was anything from 2 weeks to 2 months although most said they were unsure how long it would take.
    One store has been waiting for saws [the atlas hobby saw] for over three months now.

    So for now, for me online is the best for price and speed.
    So far I have been blessed and not had to return anything, and if I did I imagine it would be as much a problem as most stores. Some are good and some suck.

    Sorry if I put a damper on all this back slapping. Just saying what my own experience has been.
  10. Harpo

    Harpo Member

    I've had all kinds of experiences with LHS's. The last place I lived, Alexandria, VA, had two pretty decent shops. One was a bit of a mess, not fantastic on N gauge but the owners were absolutely great. Always had time to talk, discuss, whatever. Prices? Pretty close to MRSP, but oftentimes bargain bin items. Anything ordered would get there quickly and he seemed to have a regular scheduled process for that. Trains Etc., I'd gladly recommend them.

    Now for the other shop. About the same, but a few much less friendly types on duty. Some OK, some not. Most stuff at MSRP. Bought an atlas N shay there for 200. Drive line came apart. Later discovered it was "fixed" by bending the drive rod so it wouldn't fall apart. Also asked why the one I bought was 30.00 more than the other one in the display case. Answer: "Gee, I don't know." That's the other shop in northern Virginia. Never went there again.

    Now I'm in Raleigh NC. Seems to be one fairly good shop here, Tom's Train Station. A great selection of N rolling stock and other gauges. Maybe a little shy on scenicing materiels, haven't spent too much time there yet. Prices seem about the same as anywhere else. I'll be able to tell more once I get back on my feet after this last hospitalization. Still prefer to use the LHS when possible. I like looking at the real thing and handling it before I buy.

    Thats my take on it.

  11. Bill54

    Bill54 New Member

    Harpo, what are the two places in Alexandria, VA that you referred to?

    I work at Fort Myer in Arlington, VA only a few miles from Alexandria.

    There is a place in Fairfax, VA, "Grandad's", that has a large inventory. I've been there a couple of times. The first time was to learn about the hobby so I wanted information mostly. I briefly spoke with the owner who seemed to want to steer me toward "O scale" even though I explained my lack of space. My second trip there I spoke with one of the employees that was more helpfull and more friendly. Biggest problem was they sell everything at list or more.

    At home in Fredericksburg, VA my "LHS" sells trains but they are not very friendly and lack intrest as well as inventory and knowledge of trains. Therefore, I purchase most of my stuff from online sources. So far I have only had a couple of problems which were resolved without any problems.

  12. Harpo

    Harpo Member

    Yep. That's the other one. Trains Etc on Backlick Road is the one I much preferred to do business with.

  13. pennman

    pennman Member

    Just a little update, stopped by that little shop in Nashville the other day again Nscaletrains & scenery, I was supprised the guy was still there and he actually remembered me. We spoke told me about how hes increasing inventory and all the new stuff he had on the shevles. Hes growing and I'll do my little part to keep him around you just cant find that personal touch on the internet.
  14. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hey Tony, where is his shop? I haven''t heard of it, would like to go there!!:)
  15. pennman

    pennman Member

    Hey cid, we need to get together, Didnt even know we where nieghbors, Live right by grand pa's.
    The hobby shop is on 24 just south of nashville, get off at harding place make a left at the top of the ramp go to lights make a left. about 2 miles on right is space park pull in hes all the ways in the back.
    his hours are I think noon to 5pm try and catch him on sat.
  16. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Jim, that's a neat "hole in the wall". I had the opportunity to stop in there, before flying home from my daughter's wedding.
    Here, in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago, I have the fortune of having several hobby shops to choose from. In Kenosha, Wi. there's Don's hobbies. In Waukegan, Il. Friends hobbies. In Mundelein, Il. Ron's Mundelein Hobbies. And there's B&G train world, in Elgin, Al's Hobby shop in Elmhurst, Des Plaines hobbies in Des Plaines, Chicagoland Hobby, Ram Hobby shop, Grayland Station, in Chicago. For the ship models, there's The Shipchandler, in Mt. Prospect. All of these within 30 miles of the house.
    The taxes, and traffic congestion, in Lake County are enough to drive a saint to drink, but these shops this close are a fair enough trade off. Besides, I can actually get to Ron's by bicycle There's always good service, and good conversation at all these places, and many times if one store doesn't have a product, another will, so there's no wait for ordering. Yes, I try to do a little business with all of them.
  17. BraveGary

    BraveGary New Member

    Unforutnatly my in-laws store (Hobby Center) is closing in San Antonio, Texas. They have all sizes and types of trains. Currently if you buy $50 or more they give you 20% off. Some items Like MTH and Lionel are marked just above cost so there are lots of good deals. They will ship to you if you are intersted. (210) 735-4218. The internet has killed us after 40 years.
  18. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    My LHS is Silver Spike Hobbies in Denton TX. It's 30 miles away (not considered a great distance in Texas), but it's a great place to shop/browse. It's a one man shop and Chuck the owner knows his customers, knows their preferences, and can obtain anything available from any major manufacturer. Everything is 20% off MSRP without minimum purchases, customer history or secret passwords. I've been dealing with him for about 13 years and my wife thinks my purchases have singlehandedly kept him in business all that time. I've attached a picture that shows that it isn't Horizon/Athearn, but it's your LHS that determines whether you can still purchase the bluebox kits. I counted over 300 of them yesterday, mostly new, not 10-year old stock. His margin is lower, but that's what the customer wants so that's what he stocks..

    Attached Files:

  19. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    1 fo my LHS, Arnie's Trains, has a huge amount of Blue Box kits 2. It is great and they are great prices. And most of them are new as well and most have the Knuckle style couplers and not the old horn hook ones.
  20. NCMRailroad

    NCMRailroad Member

    hi Michael.
    Although I find that you're BANG on about the hobby shop vs. internet faceless ppl I have the unfortunate ability to only order off the net because of first of all, Living in a place that isn't big on the hobby and that the economy here is not that great. I too visit my "walk in" hobby shop where I am met with someone that has NOOOOO idea of what they are selling... go figure!

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