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Thread: R.I.P. M.B. Klein, Inc. (1913-2023)

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    Default R.I.P. M.B. Klein, Inc. (1913-2023)

    As some of you may or may not know, M.B. Klein (a.k.a. Model Train Stuff) was sold to British hobby and toy retailer Hatton's in September. Today MTS announced that they will be closing their Cockeysville, MD warehouse operation and discontinuing their frequent-customer Rewards program on December 14, 2023. The modeltrainstuff.com website and online retail business will still continue, albeit as presumably a drop-ship operation. They already closed down their physical hobby shop in Cockeysville in 2019.

    Morris Benjamin Klein opened his hardware and locksmith shop in downtown Baltimore, MD in 1913. After the store moved a block south due to highway construction in the 1960s, Morris' son, Ted, slowly developed the store into a hobby shop, selling exclusively model trains in the 1970s, and becoming one of the largest model railroading-oriented hobby shops in the United States. The company moved to suburban Cockeysville in 2007 and their web retail portal modeltrainstuff.com became one of the largest in the industry.

    Though the Model Train Stuff name continues, the new management has laid off employees and will be severing its ties to the Baltimore area, effectively ending the original 110 year-old M.B. Klein Inc. business. Hatton's is running the show now, and the "Model Train Stuff" brand name and web domain is basically their foray into the U.S. market.

    I was glad to have had the opportunity to visit M.B. Klein's physical hobby shop in January 2015. It was one of the most impressive hobby shops I've ever seen, especially for N scale. My report and photos are on this thread: https://www.nscale.net/forums/showth...le-MD-(Part-1)

    Metro Red Ln (Metro Red Line)
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    What an end of an era in Baltimore! Those pictures of yours were of the newer store. You should have seen the original. You would have been even more impressed on how much can be fit into a small store!

    BTW, does anyone know where they will be drop shipping from?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingmeow View Post
    What an end of an era in Baltimore! Those pictures of yours were of the newer store. You should have seen the original. You would have been even more impressed on how much can be fit into a small store!

    BTW, does anyone know where they will be drop shipping from?
    That was my first visit to Baltimore, and honestly, though I have been a model railroader since 1980, I had never heard of M.B. Klein until the MTS website.

    From what I heard on another forum, someone who got their MTS order recently received their package from a Fremont, Nebraska address. There is a distributor called Heartland Hobbies that has a warehouse in that town.

    Metro Red Ln (Metro Red Line)
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    A shame that such a legacy will end but times change and likely this was in their best interests(?)
    My recent order came from the Cockeysville location.

    I've picked up/ stockpiled quite a bit of railroad items from them over the years. I especially took advantage of clearance sales when I could.
    Prior to their website re-do, they had some big clearance opportunities. Think I picked up multiple bin-worths of MiniMetals and Walthers Modulars at one point.

    Hopefully they remain a viable source for model railroaders.
    Steve - Jugtown Modeler - Don't know enough about railroading yet, but scale modeling is my life - Web-Folio
    Blog: American Revolutionary War Diorama:https://www.nscale.net/forums/entry....onment-Diorama
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    80% of my stuff came from them. Was No 1 in price which can not be beat. In the past few years, stock pile of model trains was droped drasticaly. I was almost convinced of a future isue or shifting of management. Not the best news.
    Last edited by gamitzu; 16th Dec 2023 at 06:52 AM.
    I LIKE TO WORK WITH BIG SHIP ENGINES BUT I SPEND MY FREE TIME AROUND N SCALE TRAIN MODELS.

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    Since Ted died a few years ago it has been going downhill. The manager they brought it dropped all craftsman kits and only did plastic, other than a few of the big names like BarMills rest were dropped know I was one of them and they did sell a good number of kits.
    rich

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    I gotta be honest: I'm mostly curious if/how this is going to affect international shipping. I mean, Hattons is not in the EU either, but they have sorted all the import duties stuff - and of course shipping is way lower than from the US.

    Heiko

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    I have had good experience with Hattons shipping to me, and I'm in Kentucky. I was getting items within 3-4 days of ordering but it's closer to a week now, but still isn't bad.

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    I had to use up some rewards points I had with them - their new shippings costs are wild and close to $30 USD. And now they are shipping stock from many sites so 3 packages for 4 items. I am looking for a new go to store for item my friends a hogtrainz.com don't carry.
    Just another n-scaler.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schedule22 View Post
    I had to use up some rewards points I had with them - their new shippings costs are wild and close to $30 USD. And now they are shipping stock from many sites so 3 packages for 4 items. I am looking for a new go to store for item my friends a hogtrainz.com don't carry.

    Yikes. $30 in shipping, and I assume this was the cheapest rate? Kind of offsets the savings a bit, even if their items had great prices. I still had some Rewards that I wanted to claim, but there's hardly anything in MTS' stock that I really want right now, so farewell, it was a good run. I also appreciate them <sarcasm> letting customers know just a week in advance that their Rewards program was ending.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schedule22 View Post
    I had to use up some rewards points I had with them - their new shipping costs are wild and close to $30 USD. And now they are shipping stock from many sites so 3 packages for 4 items. I am looking for a new go to store for item my friends a hogtrainz.com don't carry.
    Yeah, the shipping is bad. That's one of the main reasons I rarely ordered from them even though they are shipping from Baltimore down I-95 to northern Virginia. I would shop around and I'd get shops in the midwest, ordering the same thing, with less shipping. That said, I did take part in their sale, hard to not.

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    Wolfs. To sad to say more than 80% of what i have from papa McKleine was at best price of the market at that time. He know to do bussines and to keep customers in his garden. At the peak, if you buy over 200$, shipping was free. All the time he was the champion of lowest prices on train market. Less than 10$ than any another shop. He win an beat market with a good way to make customer happy and to fill up his revenue. This kind of person which combine passion and bussines are very hard to find. RESPECT FOR HIS WAY TO DO BUSSINES, GOOD MAY BLESS HIM AND TAKE CARE OF HIS SOUL. After his pass away, imediately was clear the lack of intrest and lack of knowlege of bussines on his succesors.
    Last edited by gamitzu; 16th Dec 2023 at 05:01 AM.
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    To add to this story, Hattons just announced today that they will be closing down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimRacin14 View Post
    To add to this story, Hattons just announced today that they will be closing down.
    Yeah, just found out earlier today!

    For those who haven't heard, here's the official notice from Hatton's UK (the parent owner of Model Train Stuff):
    https://www.hattons.co.uk/newsdetail?id=1498

    Obviously the big question is - how does this affect MTS? Is MTS going away too (all this for nothing!), or is Hatton's simply moving its operation "to the colonies" and continuing as the new MTS? I haven't heard any definite answers either way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroRedLn View Post
    Obviously the big question is - how does this affect MTS?
    Well this is an unsettling turn of events.
    This morning, 4:00am EST, I ordered a BLI stealth Duplex, from MBK. Paid through PayPal including USPS Priority Shipping.
    No mention of any problems or closings on that site at that time.
    I received the standard order conformation email from MBK with my order number.
    Also received PayPal “Payment Status COMPLETED “receipt.

    Current status, this evening, from MBK website is showing “Awaiting fulfillment”.

    Now I’m wondering if I’ll get it or if they will cancel and refund my purchase?
    Or if I’ll just be SOL?
    Hmmm…..

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    Quote Originally Posted by donzi View Post
    Well this is an unsettling turn of events.
    This morning, 4:00am EST, I ordered a BLI stealth Duplex, from MBK. Paid through PayPal including USPS Priority Shipping.
    No mention of any problems or closings on that site at that time.
    I received the standard order conformation email from MBK with my order number.
    Also received PayPal “Payment Status COMPLETED “receipt.

    Current status, this evening, from MBK website is showing “Awaiting fulfillment”.

    Now I’m wondering if I’ll get it or if they will cancel and refund my purchase?
    Or if I’ll just be SOL?
    Hmmm…..
    I wouldn't worry just yet. Give it another 24 hours. Maybe the new Model Train Stuff only works a M-F schedule and they had to spend their Monday catching up on orders made during the weekend? Even in the pre-Hatton's days in 2022-2023, it took a couple days for my items to ship out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donzi View Post
    Well this is an unsettling turn of events.
    This morning, 4:00am EST, I ordered a BLI stealth Duplex, from MBK. Paid through PayPal including USPS Priority Shipping.
    No mention of any problems or closings on that site at that time.
    I received the standard order conformation email from MBK with my order number.
    Also received PayPal “Payment Status COMPLETED “receipt.

    Current status, this evening, from MBK website is showing “Awaiting fulfillment”.

    Now I’m wondering if I’ll get it or if they will cancel and refund my purchase?
    Or if I’ll just be SOL?
    Hmmm…..
    You will get it. Read the notice on Hatton's website. They are NOT insolvent and will be closing down in an orderly fashion. I don't think anyone will be screwed.

    They might keep MTS running in Nebraska as one possibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingmeow View Post
    They might keep MTS running in Nebraska as one possibility.
    I was wondering if this is in fact the owners of Hattons emigrating to the US after Brexit distanced them from the EU market. Sort of a "if we have that much trouble with customs, we might just move to another market" strategy.

    But that's pure speculation, and we may never know. Probably worst for the Brits - both in the EU and the US we are lucky to have a lot of other options, but I don't know the British market.

    Heiko

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    Exactly! I was thinking the same.

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