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Thread: Hobby Shops need to rethink their store hours

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    @wombat457 I don’t know how you think your experience was purer than any of ours. I grew up with three fantastic hobby shops. Great selection, great inventory, and helpful employees. As time passed the one became less customer focused. They still have items on the shelf that were there when I was 8. The prices haven’t changed. If they have they’ve gone up. There is still one good employee. Most have no clue what is in the store. I’ve gone in looking for a specific item, was told “no, definitely don’t have that” wandered around for a bit and found said item. The most common employee hates customers. I shop early and he will often unlock the doors late. He doesn’t turn all the lights on in the store and he gets upset when you go to check out. I don’t have any of these problems online shopping. The other two stores used to be serious hobby shops, but they transitioned with the times. They realized the profit margins are higher on toys. They still have a small model train area, but they shrunk it to the end of usefulness to make more room for plush toys.

    Now that I live in Vegas the real hobby shops are a joke. I have more in my inventory than they do. The staff are useless. One of the shops is closed three days a week.

    I shop online by choice. I can price compare without leaving my chair, double click and have everything to me by the weekend. The internet is a glorious thing. Heck, it allows all of us to have this conversation here.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    You just deduced that or you know exactly what store I'm talking about? In any case; yeah I'll be going for sure!

    Quote Originally Posted by kingmeow View Post
    @Borrokalari, so you're going back to that warehouse in mid December for the liquidation sale?

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    This is a common reaction the "back in my days things were better" reaction.

    My post has nothing to do with age and everything to do with reality.

    Here's the joy of shopping online: I can sit down in front of the computer on my comfy chair, in the comfort of my house a few feet away from my layout and a few more feet away from my wife with access to an unlimited information source. I go to ModelTrainStuff and look at the description of a locomotive I'd like then go on google and search that locomotive model and make and add review and select the video filtering option. At the same time I open up an other tab and go on Spookshow.net to look at what he thinks of that loco and at the same time I open up a third tab to google what decoder would drop in that same locomotive. Before my wife has had the time to bring me my coffee I have found the average price, DCC compatibility, video review and best shipping price for that locomotive. 3 button clicks later and it's on the way to my house. A week and a half later it'll be sitting on my layout and I know it will be working all good because thousands of people including me have already ordered countless times from a well known online shop.

    Within the span of 10 minutes I found the locomotive I want at the price I like and I already know everything there is to know about that locomotive and I haven't even touched it yet. All of that in the comfort of my house without having to take the car and go anywhere. I didn't have to talk to anyone to deduce if they were bull****ting me no, the majority wins and most people on the internet agree that the locomotive I just ordered up will be all right for me. All of that at the command of my fingers. I asked for specific information and it was all given to me in a matter of seconds, for free, in perfect clarity with very little bias.

    This is the power of online shopping; you can find anything you want and know everything about it and get it at a very good price without leaving the comfort of your house.

    No brick and mortar can compete with that and online shopping is not going away. If you feel you had a better store experience when you were young and that online shopping should go away that's your opinion. If you feel that because I'm younger than you I ruined your brick and mortar shopping experience that's also your opinion but the reality is online shopping is here and it's here to stay because it gives an amazing user experience.

    A brick and mortar store cannot compete with the power of information online shopping gives you but it can compete with the coldness of dealing with a website. Store owners shouldn't do like you and wish online shopping would disappear, they should accept it's here to stay and adapt their shopping experience to be something you can't get on internet and it starts with the human factor.

    If a brick and mortar treats me like a friend and fellow hobbyist even if they don't know me, if a brick and mortar store owner doesn't care that I'm not as old as him and treats me like equal just like I treat him and if a brick and mortar store wants me to feel like we're all part of the same group of train enthusiasts just like this forum mostly does then it'll get my loyalty and I will happily spend a little more and leave the comfort of my house for them and shop a little less online because they make me feel like they see me for who I am and I belong to a larger group of train enthusiasts.

    Brick and mortar stores that are cold and make you feel like you don't belong are the reason why I shop online and not the other way around. Give me a good user experience and you'll see me.


    Quote Originally Posted by wombat457 View Post
    Exactly and not just kids.

    What I find amusing about your post is your complaint regarding brick and mortar shops being impersonal, wanting to have security measures in place and not offering you free coffee and donuts. Online shopping where you have absolutely no say in anything, have to trust the idiot packing your order to get it right, no test track available, no coffee or donuts, no personal attention or the ability to ask the sales person questions, in fact you get absolutely nothing that you say brick and mortar shops should provide.

    Your in your mid 30's so you wont remember what "real shopping" was like. You probably have never even experienced it, if you had, you'd know the internet, or to be more precise, the ability to use the internet to shop online is what has caused brick and mortar stores to go out of business because people now a days are more interested in expediency and the "easy way out" than taking the time to ensure they get exactly what they want, when they want it and when they need it.



    You want a better shopping experience ... tell the internet mob to go to hell and support the local hobby shop. Give the brick and Mortar shop the business and give THEM then incentive to carry more stock, offer competitive prices and be more accessible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Borrokalari View Post
    When you come in, you have to take off your coat, jacket, vest, bag, purse, backpack and give it to them. The staff is not friendly at all unless you're a friend of the family and they are far from helpful.
    THat is positively ridiculous!
    Quote Originally Posted by wombat457 View Post
    What I find amusing about your post is your complaint regarding brick and mortar shops being impersonal, wanting to have security measures in place and not offering you free coffee and donuts.
    There's 'wanting to have security measures in place' and then there's 'There are jails with less security than this'. Borrokalari described a place that takes security more seriously than many county lockups. It's absolutely ridiculous that customers would have to give up all of their personal effects and, frankly, if I ever visit a store of any sort that requires me to do those sorts of things I'll tell them to eff off and go shop online or somewhere else.

    Hell, I think the TSA is excessive and infringes on my right to privacy and my right to not be subject to reasonable search-and-seizure so severely that I refuse to fly anywhere just so I don't have to be subject to it. Yet the TSA screeners are less strict than that hobby warehouse Borro described. What in the hell are they thinking?!

    If a shop wants to be that anal about it they deserve to go out of business. Even without the internet they'd be doomed to failure. People aren't going to go through those sorts of hoops and put up with rude staff only to pay twice what the stuff's actually worth. They'll go somewhere else, as they should do.




    Online shopping where you have absolutely no say in anything, have to trust the idiot packing your order to get it right, no test track available, no coffee or donuts, no personal attention or the ability to ask the sales person questions, in fact you get absolutely nothing that you say brick and mortar shops should provide.
    While true, also irrelevant. Prices online are much lower. You're not paying for the overhead that you're paying for when you shop at a physical location. Also, and this may just be because I primarily do my shopping at places like WalMart where the help is dead inside and so laughably underpaid that unemployment would pay the same, but I don't really care much about trying to get help from the staff. I don't expect the $9.50/hr half-time teenager behind the counter to know his arse from Kansas, so I do my own research before I come in. I don't begin to actually shop until I've already sussed out exactly what it is I want. I already have a sufficiently good idea of what is and isn't going to do the business for me that, even if I'm just looking at something generic...like, say, a new steam loco...I can choose on my own without having to rely on the shop staff who may or may not even know where they are to try to choose for me.

    Your in your mid 30's so you wont remember what "real shopping" was like. You probably have never even experienced it, if you had, you'd know the internet, or to be more precise, the ability to use the internet to shop online is what has caused brick and mortar stores to go out of business because people now a days are more interested in expediency and the "easy way out" than taking the time to ensure they get exactly what they want, when they want it and when they need it.
    The internet isn't putting Brick and Mortar out of business. The internet is just removing the near-monopolies that prop up bad stores. Before the internet, if there was only one hobby shop selling N trains in 50-odd miles, you really didn't have any other option but to put up with whatever high prices they care to charge. Now, they have to contend with eBay, with MTS, with Trainworld. They have to contend with other B&M shops that offer better prices through online storefronts. They either adapt or die. That is the way of business, and if those shops can't handle it, oh well. As someone who barely has enough money to enjoy the hobby at all, I'm not going to bankrupt myself to prop up a failing store that can't adapt to the times.



    You want a better shopping experience ... tell the internet mob to go to hell and support the local hobby shop.
    If they have good hours, good prices, good availability, and don't treat me like a sodding criminal when I walk in, sure. If they can't manage those four things? I have no sympathy. A new shop will pop up in their place.

    Give the brick and Mortar shop the business and give THEM then incentive to carry more stock, offer competitive prices and be more accessible.
    They already have that incentive. It's called 'The customer's right to shop wherever they feel they get the best deal'. If they want my hobby dollar they have to give me a reason to spend it there. And, sorry, simply existing is not a reason for me to spend it there. I'm going to go wherever I get the best deal. If the best deal is spending the minimum and getting the item on eBay, then I go to eBay. If the best deal is maybe spending a few more dollars but getting it locally, seeing it run first? Then I'll get it in their store. They have to give me, the customer, a reason to patronize their business, just like every other business from which I buy things.

    I don't buy my groceries at WalMart because they're the cheapest game in town. In fact, they're not, that honor goes to Dollar General. And they sure as hell don't win on 'helpful staff'. As a former Associate of this very store, I know full well the people in the Vest of Shame want nothing more than for quittin' time to show up, that they've likely only been there a few months, that they probably don't know where X is, that it's quite annoying when someone asks for X because it's not on the shelf thus forcing them to either go find a crash-prone Tel-Xon or traipse off into the backroom only to not find it there either. If I wanted helpful and cheery staff I'd go to Publix or Kroger. No, I shop at WM for my groceries because the selection, price, convenience all balances out to what feels to me to be the best deal. I don't have to drive all over town and visit four other shops if I also need to buy an extension cord, grass seed, a couple pairs of sweatpants and an HDMI cable. I can buy those things alongside my usual food shop, in the same store, in the same purchase. They earn my grocery dollar by being the best overall deal, even if they're not the cheapest game in town. Hobby shops can compete with online just fine, they just have to make me feel like I'm getting a better deal spending more money in their physical shop than I get by browsing online.

    It may sound cold and uncaring, but I'm not a charity, and I'm not about to prop up a failing hobby shop simply because it's a physical hobby shop. They can compete with the internet, and if successful, they will get my business. If not, oh well, someone else got my business. But hey, I speak from the perspective of someone who A: Can barely afford hobbies in the first place and B: Hasn't had a MRR hobby shop within a reasonable drive of their house for over 20 years now.
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    I suppose I'll chime in on this.

    I have two hobby shops in what I would consider a reasonable distance from me. People familiar with my area will probably know exactly which ones these are without me giving their names. The closer one is in a more suburban setting, the further is in a downtown shopping district.

    I rarely go to the one in the downtown area because of difficulty parking. On-street metered parking is virtually impossible to get, paid parking lots are expensive, and free non-permit parking is about a mile away. All of these are deterrent. They operate five days a week, with one sort-of late night. That store not huge, but is well-lit, clean, and reasonably well-organized. The selection is varied but otherwise not particularly remarkable. The staff is friendly and willing to help as best they can. The store has a touch of "split personality" as they do cater quite a bit to science project kits, plane and military plastic kits, and slot car racing, though trains are the main event. They send a delegation to table at many local train shows, where one can usually get discounted N rolling stock and discount coupons to use at their store. I have a stack of these I because accessibility means I don't go there much. They have the usual token online presence but no e-retail footprint. Their blog at least let's you know what shows they're going to be attending.

    The usual shop I go to (the suburban one) is one of the oldest train shops in the US, but their operation really frustrates me at times. They operate 5 days a week, down ftom six, with two late nights. Accessibility is not an issue, but they don't have very much parking which is occasionally an issue. The store is not terribly big, but feels claustrophobic because of tight aisles, poor organization with clutter everywhere, and dingy decor. They are often understaffed with only one man (not the owner) running everything. He's pretty helpful but you can tell he's spread too thin. I've seen people get angry or just leave because he can only adequately help one customer at a time. The shop's poor organization and inventory management means people often can't find it and the staff often don't know what they have and exactly where it is. The concept of discounts and clearance also seem foreign. They seem more content to sit on stale merchandise and clog their shelves than take a hit to get fresh merchandset they can actually move. The selection is vast and diverse, but some brands are clearly favored. They seem to have inventory shortfalls in what should be obvious, like flex track and paint colors for popular local railroads. They are at least almost 100% devoted to trains, with only a small space devoted to model fire trucks, a weird niche they seem chuffed over. Their online presence is rather weak. Again, no retail done online.

    Really, my biggest observation is that physical hobby shops need to streamline their operations. They need to be organized, first and foremost. Online hobby retailers are inherently this way and therefore have big leg up on processing customer requests efficiently. They need to move product, and having specials, clearances, and a relevant online presence can help and it's not hard to do if you have good organization. They need to differentiate themselves in a positive, meaningful way. This should be high quality service first and foremost, but can also include community engagement and exclusive products. If physical hobby shops want to stay in business, they need to move forward rather than pretend nothing has changed in thirty years.
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    Wow! Major thread drift...

    As the OP pointed out, LHS DO need to adjust their business models.
    I'm not talking just about price as that subject can widely vary as seen in this thread.

    The LHS we had in town was what I consider a good store, 90% trains, knowledgeable staff, had a test track, had a layout and a repair station.
    The owner was very good with business but lacked Internet knowledge. This hobby shop closed down about 10 years ago mainly due to retirement and was also tired of dealing with the public for several reasons, plus his health declined fairly quickly, heart problems. Thankfully he's still with us, just retired.

    His store hours were good, he was open 6 days week, mainly M-F 10-6 and Sat 9-4 and late on Wed nights till 9.
    I don't ever remember having any issues of not getting there when he was open. Nor was it a big deal as there was always the next day.
    His prices were fair, he never gouges and always tried to match on line prices when he could. If we special ordered something, he offered a 15% discount off MSRP and better if your order was larger or if you weren't in a hurry so he could combine it with other orders.
    He did offer clinics at times, we sat our Bend Track modules up for a display several holidays in a row until the other local club demanded they have an equal amount of time to show. We did it to help him draw the crowds in for the holidays and never asked for $. it gave us somewhere to setup and play so we figured it was an even swap! We were all happy.

    But he had the same issues as other stores do. One in particular was being overstocked with stuff he didn't want or need and couldn't get rid of it very easily, therefore it kept his working capital tide up.
    Example: Micro Trains. In order to stock MTL and get a better deal he had to get an order from them of everything they offered that month. Most of which wouldn't sell and didn't, a case in point: Their two car pack of Snow Maid cars. I remember when he first got that set in, he tossed it on the counter and said "Well those will never sell!" And he was correct! Years later when he actually closed the store down, there they sat! It was one of his biggest gripes about owning the store, he was told what he had to buy and how much on certain items from certain companies. So for one thing he wound up with a lot of MTL cars that never sold to the locals. This is where the internet and eBay shines. Anyone from anywhere could find out what you have in stock. And you can usually dump it and regain your working capital.

    He also had to put up with the whiny little b!tches who came in and spouted off about the few bucks they could save by buying stuff online!
    That really got to him! Remember, he would basically match any special order which by the time you figured tax against shipping, it was close enough to a wash! There was one jerk who had no common sense and would come in and brag about this ALL THE TIME!!! Finally one day this jerk came into the store in a panic asking if he could order a full undec set of KATO smoothside passenger cars cause where he ordered it online from something happened and he couldn't complete his order? I think he said they ran out of stock?

    So the store owner said "Sure, I can do that for you!" and did. Before the owner got the set in, the jerk came back and told him to cancel the order as he found it elsewhere EVEN CHEAPER! Now the owner was a little ticked cause it was too late to cancel the order and he was stuck with the set of Undecs. Now things did work out for the owner, it just so happened that the jerk never got the CHEAPER set from the second online outlet! LMAO! Thankfully I was there when the jerk came back and told the owner he never got the second set and wondered if he had the set he had originally ordered? The owner said "Yup, still have it". But he charged him the full MSRP on the set and then all hell broke lose! Ha Ha. The jerk walked out without the set and never came back. The owner did actually sell the set within a few months.

    The moral to this story is the doors swing both ways! It's not always the owners who are jerks or who couldn't give a sh!t about their customers. They have things they have to put with as well. It isn't just about US the customers!

    When his son got involved in the store (as part time help) he was knowledgeable about the internet and got a webpage up and running for the store. It didn't do bad but he was always trying to improve it. Remember! that stuff cost money and it takes a lot of time and effort to keep them up to date. The Next thing his son did was to open and ebay account, which he used to move the unwanted stock like the Snow maid cars! While he didn't get full list or close to list price for the items he placed on eBay, it served the purpose very well. It moved the stock that wasn't moving and he got back the biggest share of his capital back to which he could reuse for better store stock. Basically if it wasn't moving, on to eBay it went.

    Overall the store was good! And if another store was in town or close by, I'd be visiting there as well and probably would reduce my online purchases a bit. I like having a store where I can go to for the sake of going to and browse, bullsh!t and hangout with other like minded individuals. But if it doesn't work out or I need to feel that I need to save several bucks or get something the store can't offer, then I'll go online.

    One thing I don't understand is how everyone says an online store can sell stuff cheaper than a LHS?
    They both have overhead, they both have to keep the store heated and cooled, they both have lights to turn on, they both have property taxes to pay for their B&M storefront or a large warehouse and they both have to hire help and pay them?
    The only difference I see is the amount of goods they order and can sell. The more you order, the cheaper the wholesale cost is, which means they can sell it for a bit cheaper than a B&M store who only orders the minimum amount.

    So what does one do? You either have to think big or stay small.
    Bottom line is... coming here and complaining about your LHS ain't do you any good, you need to take it to your LHS and let them know, maybe offer some ideas in how they can help themselves and in turn help you and the rest of their customers out.




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    Quote Originally Posted by P-LineSoo View Post
    I guess if I were running a LHS, I'd be open from 3 pm til 9 pm weekdays, 9 to 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am til Noon, and probably close on Mondays.
    In my former life, you forced me to only come on weekends. You just blew off the entire second shift crews.

    Not everyone works a M-F 9-5, so if these shops are still up and running with their current hours, do they really need to change their hours?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post

    One thing I don't understand is how everyone says an online store can sell stuff cheaper than a LHS?
    They both have overhead, they both have to keep the store heated and cooled, they both have lights to turn on, they both have property taxes to pay for their B&M storefront or a large warehouse and they both have to hire help and pay them?
    The only difference I see is the amount of goods they order and can sell. The more you order, the cheaper the wholesale cost is, which means they can sell it for a bit cheaper than a B&M store who only orders the minimum amount.


    The overhead required for a purely online presence is far FAR lower than for a B&M storefront. You don't need to pay clerks to stock and staff the store, you don't need to worry all that much about climate control(Most warehouses lack this), you don't need to worry about customer parking or enforcing dress code for employees or whatever. An online retailer doesn't have to worry about displays at all, no advertising signage to post, no rent on pricey storefronts...it's a LOT cheaper to run an online only shop than it is a brick-and-mortar shop, and that's why online shops can sell this stuff for so much less.
    coming here and complaining about your LHS ain't do you any good, you need to take it to your LHS and let them know, maybe offer some ideas in how they can help themselves and in turn help you and the rest of their customers out.





    I'd do that if I had one to complain to. But I don't. Last time there was an MRR hobby shop in my town I was a wee kid and DCC was still a fringe tech that hadn't yet taken hold. It's literally been 20 years since that place closed down.

    The kicker? IT didn't close down because of the internet. No, it died long before the dotcom bubble even surfaced, before Amazon and eBay were market powerhouses. It died because the guy running it found himself unable to do so anymore for some reason...I was 7 or 8 at the time so I don't know exactly why. I do remember it was run by an EMT that wanted a side gig.


    What sucks is the town I live in is a black hole for hobby shops in general. We've had a couple more pop up out here since then, catering more towards RC than MRR. Neither lasted more than 5 years. Both of them got my business, too!

    Nashville? Cookeville? They've both got plenty of hobby shops that thrive and have been thriving for some time. Lebanon? I doubt even a Hobbytown USA could survive out here, much less a mom-and-pop shop like we're all referring to in this discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennyC6 View Post


    The overhead required for a purely online presence is far FAR lower than for a B&M storefront. You don't need to pay clerks to stock and staff the store, you don't need to worry all that much about climate control(Most warehouses lack this), you don't need to worry about customer parking or enforcing dress code for employees or whatever. An online retailer doesn't have to worry about displays at all, no advertising signage to post, no rent on pricey storefronts...it's a LOT cheaper to run an online only shop than it is a brick-and-mortar shop, and that's why online shops can sell this stuff for so much less.
    OK, let me ask you this then?
    How many ONLINE stores do you personally shop at and buy from, that is PURELY an online store?
    Can you name me three of them.

    And remember this also has to do with the lowest or best prices...
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    Mike Fifer's shop might be a great example of both online and store front, but unless i'm mistaken, I dont think he has any employees (excepting family) and it would be interesting to hear his input on this.

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    Yeah , im curious too about how many purely online only stores you know of @JennyC6 ? Not counting ebay and amazon . Ive not seen on the internet a online retailer that dosent have a store front as well . Im sure their is a few , but all the big names that come to mind also have a B&M too . Please correct me if I'm wrong . And while we're here , i dont have a local shop , and the ones i could drive to are outrageous in pricing . So i order online 99% of the time , and could care less if they were open till midnight . But then all hobby shops in Canada are way to expensive , and not just because of our dollar , which was a few years back near par .
    For someone who lives in a rural area , online is a blessing .

    Steve

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    @Allen H.

    The local hobby shop I go to orders from HorizonHobby or Walthers when it comes to train stuff.

    He also gets the retail price from Walthers so the same as if I was to buy it myself except he doesn't charge shipping. So let's say I wanted to get that: https://www.walthers.com/ge-es44ac-g...es-boxcar-logo

    That's 130$us so 165$cdn. So 165$cdn + tax makes a grand total of 189.71$cdn

    Now if I order it myself online and not from Walthers it's 99.99$us + 10$us shipping so 109.99$us which is 140$cdn and no tax.

    So essentially, by shopping online I save 50$ per locomotive. That's a major difference! Maybe it's just for Canadians but there's a big price difference between buying online and at a retail store.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    Now that I live in Vegas the real hobby shops are a joke. I have more in my inventory than they do. The staff are useless. One of the shops is closed three days a week.
    And the one shop out of the 3 that does have a semi decent selection, and actually gets new stock in...is Hobbytown USA.

    I've thought about it a few times of getting a business loan through the VA and starting my own hobby shop...but I'd make the shop mostly an online presences as that is how my generation shops.

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  21. #54
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    Years ago, I used to visit Allied Model Trains in Culver City, California, just a few miles from where I lived. I wasn't as invested in the hobby back then, but it was always a pleasant experience. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable, and had attracted many celebrity modelers. It was one of the oldest and largest train stores, yet sadly, they had to close their doors in the summer of 2015, just a few months prior to me re-entering the hobby.

    As far as I know, there are only three model train stores in the Los Angeles area: The Train Shack in Burbank, The Original Whistle Stop in Pasadena, and one in Orange County. I live south of LAX, so visiting any of these is quite a trek, and in traffic, a total nightmare. I've only been to The Train Shack in Burbank, which has pretty decent hours:

    M-F 10:00 - 6:30
    Sat 10:00 - 6:00
    Sun 11:00 - 5:00

    Though, I agree, it would be better if they shifted their hours to say, 11:30AM-8:00PM. I've only visited the store a couple times and picked some Faller items and some Kato track. Though, it'd be a challenge for them to compete for my loco-buying business: They had listed two Kato FP40PHs with pre-installed DCC decoders on eBay for $188 each (add to that our insanely high 9.5% sales tax). The listing remained on eBay for months.

    Though it's difficult for brick-and-mortar retailers to compete on price with online and eBay sellers, and as others have stated, Model Train Stuff and eBay offer great pricing and excellent availability, I wish Allied Model Trains was still here. Certain things like scenery products are much better chosen in person, as I can attest. A fair portion of my "online savings" have been wasted by buying such products sight-unseen (e.g., finding that colors are wildly mismatched compared to the online catalog photos).

    Southern Pacific | Santa Fe | SPSF | BNSF | Metrolink | CalTrain | Chicago Metra | TGV Lyria

    railways by Kato Unitrack + Unitram | electric light-rail by Tomix | construction by Kato Diotown & Tomytec Co., Ltd. | vehicles by Busch GmbH & Co. KG
    ambient sound design by Fantasonics | digital command control by Dynamis Ultima | layout automation by RailController

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metrolink View Post

    As far as I know, there are only three model train stores in the Los Angeles area: The Train Shack in Burbank, The Original Whistle Stop in Pasadena, and one in Orange County. I live south of LAX, so visiting any of these is quite a trek, and in traffic, a total nightmare. I've only been to The Train Shack in Burbank, which has pretty decent hours:

    M-F 10:00 - 6:30
    Sat 10:00 - 6:00
    Sun 11:00 - 5:00

    Though, I agree, it would be better if they shifted their hours to say, 11:30AM-8:00PM.
    I had a store selling stuff for the sport of Paintball in San Francisco, from 1989 to 2003 and I found very quickly that you had to be open hours when your customers were not working.
    Giving them time to get to you for purchases.

    M-F 11:00 - 8:00, this let them get items needed it playing on the week end.
    Sat 8:00 - 7:00, this let them get to and back from playing and buying a wanted item.

    Ken Price
    Ken Price
    http://s567.photobucket.com/albums/s...ice/?start=all

    It's around 1996-1999. UP, MP, SP. South Valley Railroad. Some where in the west of Texas. Near San Angelo.
    Started in 2007, Super Empire Builder with radio throttles.

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    I'm in a white collar town with a government and high tech employment base, this is primarily a nine to five town except for retail and bar staff -if you're trying to sell train stuff, please be open when everyone is finished work for the day.

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    Here in Vegas’s there are no standard hours. There are dentists offices open 24/7 to accommodate odd hour workers. I just wish we had a decent hobby shop to complain about being closed when we want to shop.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Borrokalari View Post
    @Allen H.

    The local hobby shop I go to orders from HorizonHobby or Walthers when it comes to train stuff.

    He also gets the retail price from Walthers so the same as if I was to buy it myself except he doesn't charge shipping. So let's say I wanted to get that: https://www.walthers.com/ge-es44ac-g...es-boxcar-logo

    That's 130$us so 165$cdn. So 165$cdn + tax makes a grand total of 189.71$cdn

    Now if I order it myself online and not from Walthers it's 99.99$us + 10$us shipping so 109.99$us which is 140$cdn and no tax.

    So essentially, by shopping online I save 50$ per locomotive. That's a major difference! Maybe it's just for Canadians but there's a big price difference between buying online and at a retail store.
    Are you ordering from the States or Canada with that 50 buck discount? And how are they shipping it where you're avoiding tax/duty/etc?

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    There are a lot of people that DON'T work 9-5.............I work 7-3, and there are a lot of people who work night shifts, graveyard, ect. And A LOT of the customer base around here is retired. Not saying it wouldn't be nice to have at least one evening a week when they are open, but I doubt they'd see a big jump in sales. And my "local" shop is 150 miles away, so the only time I get there is when we make a trip there (usually for other things). I have to plan ahead, and order the items I need ahead of time........just be happy you actually have a hobby shop.

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    The 50$ discount is when I order from MTS in the US directly.

    Sometimes I have customs charges to pay which is about 20$ but more often than not I don't. I just select the shipping quote with the lowest price and that's it.

    Quote Originally Posted by parccedres View Post
    Are you ordering from the States or Canada with that 50 buck discount? And how are they shipping it where you're avoiding tax/duty/etc?

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