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Thread: Hobby Shops need to rethink their store hours

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    Default Hobby Shops need to rethink their store hours

    Do hobby stores think we can all leave our jobs to go to the shop during working hours? If your shop is only open until 6 m-f, you have given yourself one hour to get your clients in after work. Where are you located? How long does it take people to get to your store during rush hour? The good train store in my city is a bit east of downtown, for anyone working 9-5 it is virtually impossible to drive to the store m-f before it closes. So that leaves Saturday, because this guy is closed Sundays. So I have one day a week to go across town to the one train store and of course this might be an issue if I want to watch football or go to an event etc... Easy solution, open your Hobby shops from noon until 8 pm a couple of days a week to encourage us to go out before or after dinner, a nice escape during the week is a welcome event for most of us. And yes, if we can actually go to the shop Tuesday night, we might not buy that stupid part/thing/boxcar on the internet. Please, shop owners, make an effort to attract us to your stores by actually being open when we are off work.

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    I agree.

    To be successful in business you have to be available to your client base. I do not see a need to be open till 8-9 5 days a week, but maybe one night a week stay open till 8. Have an event at the shop that one night a week and have a demonstration on products etc. Show off how easy a Kato starter set can get your kid into the hobby etc.
    We are not here to argue, we are here to support fellow modelers...

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    And who goes hobby shopping 8am on a weekday?
    Bryan
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
    And who goes hobby shopping 8am on a weekday?
    That would be me..... I agree with the general sentiment of a hobby shop staying open until 8:00 one or two nights a week (and getting the word out). But as a fellow who has risen by 5:00 am for the last 40 years, I really hate that stores don't open until 10:00. Bunch of slug-a-beds. Why, the day is half over by then.

    But staying open late won't do any good until the target customers know that it is a regular thing - "discount Thursday nights," for example.
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    Who can get to the Hobby Shop when it's open 9-6 on a weekday? Unless you work or live right by it, then the only one walking into that shop is unemployed or retired. Not a smart way to run a business, having it closed when the people who have money to buy are actually able to visit. Are they actually selling anything from 9-noon?

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    My LHS use to have a later night during the week, I think Thursdays. But they never really saw much of a bump in traffic so they got rid of it. They're open 10a-5p Monday-Saturday, 1p-5p on Sunday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    That would be me..... I agree with the general sentiment of a hobby shop staying open until 8:00 one or two nights a week (and getting the word out). But as a fellow who has risen by 5:00 am for the last 40 years, I really hate that stores don't open until 10:00. Bunch of slug-a-beds. Why, the day is half over by then.

    But staying open late won't do any good until the target customers know that it is a regular thing - "discount Thursday nights," for example.
    I'm going to guess you're retired No one with a nine to five can do that.

    And yes, use signage and the internet to tell people the hours have changed.

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    So if you have a job it's Saturday or Sunday only lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by parccedres View Post
    So if you have a job it's Saturday or Sunday only lol
    If that was in response to my post, I usually don't have much time during the week to work on stuff anyways. On occasion, I get out early or have a day off, I might make a run if I need something. Otherwise, I plan accordingly to pick up what I need ahead of time. If it's something I need, and can't get there, I have friends that make a run and pick up, or just shoot them an email letting them know I need such and such and they'll put it behind counter for me.

    Shop owners have a full time job as well, wife covers couple days during the week while husband drops by after work and weekends. Staff of 4-6 or so help run store during the week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mu26aeh View Post
    If that was in response to my post, I usually don't have much time during the week to work on stuff anyways. On occasion, I get out early or have a day off, I might make a run if I need something. Otherwise, I plan accordingly to pick up what I need ahead of time. If it's something I need, and can't get there, I have friends that make a run and pick up, or just shoot them an email letting them know I need such and such and they'll put it behind counter for me.

    Shop owners have a full time job as well, wife covers couple days during the week while husband drops by after work and weekends. Staff of 4-6 or so help run store during the week.
    Why would you only have your hobby shop open when everyone who can afford those 200 dollar engines is still at work? It makes no sense to me.

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    Indeed, and to add to that, we need better coverage in general. I don't have an LHS. For anything. I have to go more than an hour from my front door to reach a hobby shop of any kind, much less one doing model trains, and I don't consider that local.

    My MRR LHS is modeltrainstuff and eBay...
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    We had one years ago that was open late on Wed nights till 9-10.
    It was real nice. It also became a meeting place for a lot of the locals.

    Later they started to have little "How To" seminars in the back room each week. The owner was doing fine with this as it brought him some good business, until the beer started showing up! It got so bad that one night they had two kegs under ice.

    Mind you, I have nothing against a few beers, but it got a little out of hand and someone who dropped their kids off heard about it (from their kid I assume) went nuts over it. The owner had to put a stop to it quick!

    The one we have now is open late on Wed night and on Sat as well. It's nothing more than place to hang out, but there's no beer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by parccedres View Post
    Why would you only have your hobby shop open when everyone who can afford those 200 dollar engines is still at work? It makes no sense to me.
    Well, it seems to make sense for them because they do a pretty good business. Prices are 10-15% off retail, they do 25% off on pre-orders. And have a great inventory of HO and N scales, and some O and G scale stock. I'd say it's about 60%, 30% and 10% respectively store space wise. If they don't have it in stock and it's available, they'll get it in for you. A good retired population of model railroaders in the area so they have good flow of traffic during the week most days. Plus with peoples schedules, not everyone works M-F 9-5.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mu26aeh View Post
    Well, it seems to make sense for them because they do a pretty good business. Prices are 10-15% off retail, they do 25% off on pre-orders. And have a great inventory of HO and N scales, and some O and G scale stock. I'd say it's about 60%, 30% and 10% respectively store space wise. If they don't have it in stock and it's available, they'll get it in for you. A good retired population of model railroaders in the area so they have good flow of traffic during the week most days. Plus with peoples schedules, not everyone works M-F 9-5.
    Certainly not the case where I am. Grateful there's a good shop, but annoyed he's basically open one day a week (Saturday).

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    Quote Originally Posted by parccedres View Post
    Certainly not the case where I am. Grateful there's a good shop, but annoyed he's basically open one day a week (Saturday).
    Have you told him/her that this is an issue for you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotian_Huntress View Post
    Have you told him/her that this is an issue for you?
    Yes and it didn't seem to concern him lol I'm just very surprised shops don't realize they are closed by the time their audience is off work.

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    Heck, the closest LHS to me is open Mon, Wed, Fri Noon-5 and Sat 10-4
    Tim

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    I love my LHS (Hub Hobby). Located just five blocks away and open pretty much whenever I need them -

    Monday-Friday:10:00 AM-9:00 PM
    Saturday:9:30 AM-5:30 PM
    Sunday:11:00 AM-5:00 PM

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    Quote Originally Posted by parccedres View Post
    Who can get to the Hobby Shop when it's open 9-6 on a weekday? Unless you work or live right by it, then the only one walking into that shop is unemployed or retired. Not a smart way to run a business, having it closed when the people who have money to buy are actually able to visit. Are they actually selling anything from 9-noon?
    You would think that it is common sense. I have not run into any stores that are this limited in hours. I would raise the issue again and ask the owner if they would be willing to stay late, make an appointment for a specified time, when there is something you need. There has to be some flexibility for their customers.


    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    We had one years ago that was open late on Wed nights till 9-10.
    It was real nice. It also became a meeting place for a lot of the locals.

    Later they started to have little "How To" seminars in the back room each week.
    This is how a shop in this day and age must engage its customers. I came close to buying into a hobby shop. I had plans for for after school clubs, seminars, group purchasing, etc. But it was a franchise and they were very specific on what you could offer and how you could price items. Once I found out the actual profits from several store owners, I was turned off. It is not a business for the casual owner.
    2 of the 3 owners I reached out to, did it as a retirement hobby/extra income. Made just enough to be more comfortable. But had to work 7 days a week, 60 hrs, for roughly $50K. Not enough to raise a family on.
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    This is the nearest and most convenient MRR hobby shop to me. Few lights to get to it, no need for any freeway interchanges, easy in easy out. And they do great stuff with the prototypes, too, as this shop is part of a historic society that operates excursion trains in the area(Currently featuring an E8 and some of the first and second gen hood unit locos) and are working on restoring a 4-8-4 that's been sitting in Centennial Park for nearly 70 years(She's in great shape, too, well preserved!).


    Their hours are.....unpredictable. Reliant on a volunteer to be there to even be open, the hours are atrocious to boot.

    I really want to shop there, support the restoration of that Dixie, but I'm not in a position to drive an hour each way on a chance that a volunteer might be there to run the shop...it's also the local MRR club, I might join they have a snazzy layout.
    Welcome to the AHHR, where Steam and Diesel work together!


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