Is The Hobby Shop A Thing of The Past?

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Is The Hobby Shop A Thing of The Past?
Posted by wallyworld on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 7:04 AM

Having lived long enough, I recall the local hobby shop with memories of what kids did for entertainment. Toy trains, erector sets, balsa wood car and airplane models stuck with glue, slot cars came along, Revell and Monogram plastic car, ship and airplane  models, that nasty testors paint, then RC cars, etc ...all of this was based on physical activity, largely "doing it yourself"..and taking some pride on what was built...the model trains of Plasticville, scratch building, Champ Decals etc. The arrival of the internet, the Playstation, the simulated realities..games..all of this is comparatively passive, pre-built, packaged, with the exception of Lego. I think for what it's worth, kids are richer, but yet poorer in some ways, and so my question I would like to hear others comment on, is the concept of a hobby shop, a waning enterprise?  ..If so, is there anything to be done about it? Why do some still thrive and many, at the same time, continue to fall by the wayside?

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Posted by phillyreading on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 7:24 AM

From what I have seen, hobby shops that cator to the remote control cars don't suffer from financial set-backs as much as train related hobby shops. At least this is true for southeast Florida. BT&L Railroad, in West Palm Beach FL, went out over three years ago just after Thanksgiving day. Also Lee's Hobby shop in Stuart FL went out over five years ago, but the owner got a divorce a year before closing.

The hobby shop in Jupiter FL may become an online dealer as he is losing money with the store rental space. He has items from over eight years ago that are still on his shelf.  This was about six months ago.

My local hobby shop south of WPB FL has an inventory reduction problem or very little new stuff for sale. Any expensive train items(engines mainly or over $80.00 retail for any item) he wants you to prepay to order. Also the owner installed hurricane proof glass and that stopped a break-in as the theives could not get through the glass after smashing an SUV into the window.

Off Topic Toys R Us quit carrying Lionel a few years ago, didn't sell enough they claimed. May even have stopped carrying H.O. train items as well.

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Posted by Seayakbill on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 8:00 AM

I live in a city of about 800,00 folks, the 3 train shops that catered exclusively to O gauge are gone.  There is one general purpose hobby shop close by that has a smittering of electric trains, mostly HO. Their Lionel O Gauge which is very limited, very expensive and very dusty is mostly in the traditional / start-up category. Their biggest draw is RC airplanes and cars. There is an HO shop that has been around for as long as I can remember that has a couple shelves of O Gauge.

In my opinion if the train shop caters to the O Gauge market they better be very compatitive to on-line shops and they need to supplement their customer base with national sales via the internet.

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Posted by Major on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 8:44 AM

I am fortunate to live in the Baltimore area and there are multiple hobby shops within a 100 mile radius. Many are diversified and have a variety of products for sale.  Only a few are strickly train related and most that are carry all scales.  However I have seen some older hobby shops close and many of the exsisting ones have a large internet presence.  I enjoy stopping in each one and making a purchase even if it is small to support them.  I prefer touching an item or ordering through a local establishment than buying from the on line sites. 

I don't think the hobby shop will ever completely go away but if you do not have a presence on line your sales will be limited.  There are a couple of stores in my area that do not have a brick and morter location.  They operate their business from their home.

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Posted by arkady on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 8:51 AM

A lot may depend upon where you live.  When I was a kid, there were no hobby shops at all in the town where I grew up.  The nearest ones were each about 45 miles away, in different directions.

I moved to a city soon after I got married, and discovered a wonderful train shop.  That was 42 years ago (how time flies), and that shop, though it has changed its location, is still in business.  There were also a couple of "straight" hobby shops (not specifically train-related), but I don't know if they're still around or not, since twelve years later, we moved to a rural area in the Northeast.

Although the nearest town is centered around a major university (or maybe because of it), there are no hobby shops here.  We had one, but it kept changing locations and finally folded altogether.  There's a Lionel dealer, but it's not a true "hobby shop," since it shares space with Lego and Playmobil toys.  Nor does it carry other hobby supplies such as brass/plastic shapes, adhesives, hobby tools, etc.

So the answer to the question isn't as clear as it might be, and it seems to be aimed mainly at residents of cities, large or small.  Few of us outside of urban or semi-urban areas ever had much in the way of hobby shops to begin with.

 

 

 

 

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Posted by cnw1995 on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 9:05 AM

I think these days any retail real-world store that offers products that can be found online is in some sort of transition. Their challenge is to make their buying experience 'better' - however that's defined - cheaper, more personalized, whatever. This is a big 'ask' from store owners who may not know how to do this or what would work best. The ones who figure it out  - make their store a 'destination' - will make it - the others will close....

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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 8:38 PM

My mom is a bookkeeper and some time back in the mid 90's she came home and told me she had aquired a new client through a lawyer's office she also worked for.  The place was called Parma Hobby and of course I was excited to hear there would be a new LHS a mile from my house.  Over time we became friends with the owners and in the summer of 1999 I even helped remodel their house.  In fact, I was just there today to pick up a few magazines since the only one I subscribe to is CTT.

Anyhow, when they got started in the LHS realm the building they're in was owned by someone else and every office was filled.  Today in 2011 Parma Hobby owns the building and every unit besides theirs is vacant.  The owner of the camping supply store next door died and the offices upstairs either closed or moved out over the years for various reasons.  There was a tennant for a year for the old camper store but in the end my friends at the LHS are not only now responsible for all building maintenance, but are dealing with trying to rent all that empty space.  So, they've decided to try to sell the building and the business en masse.

Another "LHS" I frequent was originally located in a small summer tourist area.  I put LHS in quotes because it started out as a pure train shop.  But today in it's new location in an area with much greater year round traffic it's half train store and half craft shop.  There's a good sized display layout in the front window but all the trains are in the back.  Also, "craft shop" as-in pre-made finished items rather than arts and crafts supplies.  I go there to look at and hopefully purchase some of the pre and postwar trains they have.  Other than magazines, track and new cars it's not really a "hobby shop".  But it's a cash business and as we all know all too well them greenbacks aint as easy to comeby.

Of course there's still the Trading Post in the same location on West 25th Street in Cleveland that it's been in forever.  And if you love old trains, this place is a classic!  Like the previous store I mentioned they too were a cash business until just recently.  Their attempt at survival in this bad economy was to start accepting credit cards.

What I've seen from being associated with the owners of an LHS is an attempt to diversify as best they can while the national economy and waining interest in hands-on hobbies has declined.  One thing they did is they now utilize their empty office space by holding classes on everything from scenery techniques to airbrushing.  They were also a part of the Cleveland National Airshow for several years but had to quit when the airshow organizers made them pay 100% for the goodies they gave away.  Parma Hobby also works with schools and scout groups by stocking the rocketry kits, pinecar derby kits and even the "mousetrap racer" supplies many students have to build.  (If you've never seen a "mousetrap racer", it's a physics experiment utilizing the slingshot effect of the trap.)  They carry a good stock of plastic kits and every spring they hold a competition for the builders of model cars.  Airplanes have always been big with them so of course they stock a fair number of kits, parts and scratch building supplies as you would expect.

But in the end the roof, the parking lot and the diminishing clientele are outweighing their ability to keep the shelves stocked.  They special order about 35% of everything they sell but fewer customers are willing to wait.  They have a website but it's far from effective in my opinion since it's not a real-time inventory listing.  So, this LHS may have to liquidate to keep the owners from going broke.  Only time will tell.

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Posted by Dannyboy6 on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 10:15 PM

Hi becky,

 

My wife and I love Cleveland...I lived in Mentor 25 tears ago and my son finished Jazz study stint at Tri-C 3 years ago, which afforded us many opportunities to explore Cleveland and the trains stores. You should check out Wings Hobby Shop in Lakewood. They still have a great selection of items for model railroading. They're bigger on books and HO, but I still found enough scratch building supplies to make this a must stop shop as I make my way to Mentor each year on the way to Boston. BTW...theres a terrific model railroad museum expanding in Mentor, OH!

Check out the Western Reserve Model Railroad Museum...My wife and I went there an hour before closing, and were the only non-members there. The curator called out to everyone that they had guests and we were treated to an hour or so of great conversation and viewing some really great modeling efforts. Cheers!

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Posted by submmbob on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 11:04 PM

When I first came to Tucson in the mid 1980's, we had at least four different hobby shops that stocked model trains, two of them exclusively. One was even the Lionel dealer for the state I believe. 25 years later they are all gone. One of the few hobby stores left in town specializes mainly in R/C cars and aircraft. While they have a number of supplies, their train inventory is pretty minimal. At one point I thought there was no place left in town where I could buy Lionel tubular track.

Then I discovered that the hobby portion of the largest Ace Hardware in town. Almost half their inventory is trains, and yes they sell tubular track. Anything I buy that is new I now try to get from them, even if I have to special order it. Anytime I can support the LHS I will.

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Posted by Joe Hohmann on Wednesday, May 04, 2011 2:41 PM

The hobby shops in the 1950s, when I was growing up, were primarily model/toy trains, plastic kits of cars, ships, and planes, and some gas powered planes. In the 1960, race car sets and rockets were added to the mix. Today the trains are on the "back burner", and radio-control stuff seems to be keeping the hobby shops in business. But at least they can adjust somewhat for the times.

What is REALLY a thing of the past is the corner camera/photo shop. No more film to develope, and people would go into the shop to decide on a camera...then they would buy it at a discount store or on-line. There was little the Mom&Pop camera shop could do to stay in business.

About 15 minutes from my house is one of the largest train stores in the U.S., Nicholas Smith Trains. They are still going strong after 84 years.

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Posted by billbarman on Wednesday, May 04, 2011 3:12 PM

Heres on long island theres suprisingly alot of great hobby stores that have extensive O scale stock very close to where I live.

Theres Trainland/Trainworld (you probably now the adds in CTT)

Nassau hobbies (another big one, also has adds in  CTT. also get some custom run LIRR stuff from MTH from time to time)

Willis hobbies, which has cars planes boats and everything else but has a floor for trains and is extensive in every scale.

Gold coast hobbies, which has a decent amount of stock mostly from the early 2000s but has a few gems. more of an mail order store in terms of trains. alot of people order through him and not but the stock.

There are many more such as extreme hobbies in dear park, bay shroe hobbies, and another great place in New Hyde Park.

basically... theres no shortage of O gauge train on Long Island :) I'm sorry ot hear all these stories of hobby stores closing down leaving nothing. I know the city of Boston has not one Hobby store even close to it...

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Posted by SantaFe158 on Wednesday, May 04, 2011 3:16 PM
Well, when I think about it, the hobby shop I go to isn't usually full. They carry trains, cars, plastic models and regular toys too which seems to keep them in business. I buy a few things from them a year but my major purchases are usually made online or at train shows. Another all O gauge store here is a cool place to look around but the staff isn't so friendly. The one guy isn't so bad, the other is kind of rude. The first guy replaced the E unit and re-quartered the wheels on my 2037 steamer for $25, which is less than the labor would normally cost for that kind of job. I like being able to see items at hobby shops, but usually the higher prices turn me away but I try to get a few cars or accessories a year from my local one.
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Posted by dougdagrump on Wednesday, May 04, 2011 3:25 PM

One of the problems hurting the "O" gauge hobby shops, especially in the smaller markets, is the pricing structures. The shop I deal with is a craft shop as well as various hobbies, since it is not in a "major market area" he has to buy his inventory thru distributors as opposed to buying directly from the importers. First thought is well what's wrong with that, the distributors are also in the retail side. Guess what kind of a margin that leaves the "mom & pop shops" to work with in competition with the internet sellers and E-Bay. Add to that he doesn't "own" the property so there is a landlord to contend with. At one time he had two stores but a few years back the other store died on the vine when the anchor, major grocery chain, in that shopping center had a rather rankerous labor dispute, no foot traffic due to protesters = closure.

Granted that there are a great many in our hobby that don't have a lot of choice in where they buy their toys as a result of where they live. But there are also others that are close to a "local hobby shop" but prefer to get their toys on-line because they are cheaper. Again there is nothing wrong with that as long as they don't turn around and start lamenting the ever increasing number of local hobby shops closing. My 2 Cents

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Posted by hscsltb on Wednesday, May 04, 2011 7:18 PM

I buy pretty much all my new stuff from my lhs.Yeah I pay a little more but service and treatment I get from him more than makes up for it.I have a small budget for trains but am treated the same as customers with deep pockets.Only shop the bay for parts and deals on postwar.He has added a little R/C but suffered a smashed front window for his effort.No trains stolen though.

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Posted by DMUinCT on Thursday, May 05, 2011 8:34 AM

Brick & Mortar Store in the age of the Internet?

It goes like this: The answer is no.

" Hi, I'm looking for some trains for my kids, I see you have Lionel and MTH Catalogs on your counter."   "Nice looking trains, could you show me this one ?"

"No, I won't have that in stock for one to two years, the Catalogs are for advance orders".

"This PS3 system looks good, do you have any train sets with it?"

"No, I only have 2009 and 2010 sets with PS2."

"Do I get a discount if I buy old stock?"

"No, It's not "old", I only received it a few months ago."

"I see that HO gauge is about half the price of O gauge, I can understand that, but why is the much larger G gauge the same or lower price of O gauge?"

"No reason, some are made in the same factory in China."

"Can I buy a train for less online?"

"YES, THEY DON'T HAVE THE OVERHEAD OF MAINTAINING A STORE AND CAN WORK WITH A SMALLER STAFF!"

Do you have an "online store"?

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Posted by RockIsland52 on Thursday, May 05, 2011 10:59 AM

Sadly, DMU, I think you are right.  I have Northeast Trains (Peabody MA) and Charles Ro (Malden MA) both within 12 miles of me.  The former has been my mainstay, and I have been willing to pay more because of their friendly and expert service and the convenience.  The latter may make it longer term because of their large internet presence.

Northeast will continue to be my choice.  What is the price tag one puts on being able to see, touch, and operate a potential new or pre-owned piece?  Sometimes more expensive is cheaper.   

Jack

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Posted by tailpipe62 on Sunday, May 08, 2011 12:19 AM

I can remember in the 90's visiting a train shop in Parma Ohio.  There is a nice shop in Amherst Ohio at Ben Franklyns.  They carry all scales.  It is a lot of inventory for such a small place.  However the knowledge and help you recieve cannot be had online.

There is also a very very large train shop with anything you can dream in O guage in Oberlin Ohio.  The people here also are very helpful, and yet can service anything.

I know that I am in the minority, however I prefer brick and motar.  I like seeing a face over a computer monitor.  I also am very thankful for their knowledge.  And while I say this I do worry about their longevity.  As someone else pointed out, the store that makes it will have to have something very special to draw the customers in.

 

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Posted by fifedog on Sunday, May 08, 2011 7:13 AM

Internet train sales are to the hobby shop, what Wal-Mart is to the small town business. My 2 Cents

That being said, there's nothing like a trip out to Catoctin Mountain Trains to get my "fix".  It's an hour's drive, and I gladly make the trek several times a year to give them my patronage.

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Posted by rtraincollector on Sunday, May 08, 2011 9:19 AM

I'm in the in between group here I like a hobby shop and all but a lot of times because of there overhead I can't afford it. I myself am on a tight budget when it come to what I spend my money on. But I do have periods I can buy trains but most of the time I'm like no funds for trains so when I can I look for the best bargains and sometime the bargain ain't what it looked to be and I end up spending more fixing it but I don't get upset as I enjoy fixing my trains when I can do it. It a kind of therapy for me. I love the idea of local hobby shop but I can see there demise is coming if they can't grow and be a big internet part of the picture. I hate to put it that way but thats the actual bottom line as I see it.

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Posted by Seayakbill on Monday, May 09, 2011 5:10 AM

When Hobby Lobby discontinued their O Gauge electric trains I asked the store manager what was the reason. He stated that the sales did not meet minumum requirements for the amount of shelf space the electric trains required. He stated there was other hobby / craft items that had better profit margins for the space required. 

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Posted by phillyreading on Monday, May 09, 2011 10:27 AM

I talked to a hobby shop owner at a train show in south central Florida, and he said that Lionel wanted him to place a $5000.00 minimum order before they would ship to him directly or pay a much higher non-dealer percentage fee. Another guy he ordered from wanted only $1000.00 min. order and that was who he used more often. Sometimes Lionel would send him the $1000.00 engine to sell and not the lower priced items.

Also another hobby shop wanted me to place a $500.00 order for Gargraves track or switches, he don't get a discount unless you purchase a certain dollar amount. Needless to say I didn't need $500.00 worth of Gargraves track and switches.

It is not the hobby shop owner who wants to have their hands tied financially, but it is the vendor or company that sells to them that ties their hands up financially. It may boil down to the old principle that it is more paper work and time or shipping work for a smaller order verses a large order, and that is why it is cheaper to buy from internet giants, than from directly from the company.

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Posted by wallyworld on Monday, May 09, 2011 4:51 PM

That is a squeeze, sort of boxing in the retailer, that boxes in the buyer, all of which seems counter intuitive if your retailer is your customer front line representative, but then again, as these shops are being dominated over by the volume of internet sales, perhaps they are looked at as "small peanuts" ..it still seems sort of well..like extortion..do this or we wont deal with you..which must mean the manufacturers themselves are not responsible for the demise of the mom and pop store but certainly are a contributing factor. I miss the social aspect myself, where a bunch of us would gab about trains at the store..

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Posted by vsmith on Monday, May 09, 2011 5:40 PM

Given that the general trend is towards more expensive trains aimed at a older deeper pocket consumer base who dont want to built anything but just open the box and put it on the layout leading to more and more RTR items that are 50-100% more expensive than there kit counterpart along with more and more items pre-loaded with digital controls, digital sound and special effects, is it any wonder a locomotive can easily approach 4 figures. This is typical in all scales. the average mom and pop stores can't stock alot of these higher prices besides not alot of people in general can afford these items. Starter sets usually only appear at LHS around Xmas and what ever doesnt sell then stays dusty on the shelves until it does. One dealer told me that after Xmas he stops stocking alot of train stuff as it just doesnt sell well enough.

Part of the problem has been stated before, most of us in this hobby are not spring chicken, I'm in my late 40's and I consider myself a young whippersnapper whenever I go to shows, its good to see kids at the shows but aside from Thomas theres not alot of trains in their lives these days for these kids to connect trains into their daily lives. As more young people use light rail and commuter rail services maybe we will see that reconnection once again (but for myself I'll freely admit I find modern trains homogonistic and lacking in appeal compared to what I grew up watching and riding). I think some manufacturers of late have placed too much emphisis chasing the rich old guys and not paying as much attention to growing the hobby.

As the market gets pricier it drives out the mom and pops who often cant meet the manufacturers minimum order requirements and eventually drop trains entirely or simply shut down. It's kinda a vicious cycle.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Monday, May 09, 2011 7:53 PM

"Big money got a heavy hand, big money take control.  Big money got a mean streak, big money got no soul."  Neil Peart, The Big Money 1985.

Remember them good ole' days when Lionel salesmen had to pound the pavement everyday to even get their products in the stores at all?

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Posted by wallyworld on Monday, May 09, 2011 8:06 PM

I suppose I am a good example of this demographic. I turned 60 this year and I got fascinated with all this and began running trains at 5 years old with a Marx Commodore Vanderbuilt set back in Chicago and Ive come full circle having gone back to Marx for a variety of reasons, one of them was what you described as a contributing factor, not the central issue with modern toy trains, but cost did come into play when I had to get off the fence about "the next step". I rediscovered DIY and am having a better time I am retired so I have the time to tinker...it's more rewarding than out of the box for me. What happens elsewhere in the hobby still interests me I think simply because I have been in it for so long, and these current trends ..well I have a lot of empathy for some of the .issues like cost, availability etc for my younger cohorts, Which is probably just an example of my comparing then and now. There were informal layaway purchases when I was younger, more personal service, catalogs that rarely cancelled an item, advice and mentoring that came from the mom and pop store.and maybe it's just nostalgia..but I can't help but wonder what people do when they don't have the internet. I guess we don't hear from them. ..

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Posted by Joe Hohmann on Saturday, November 03, 2018 8:29 AM

phillyreading

Toys R Us quit carrying Lionel a few years ago, didn't sell enough they claimed. May even have stopped carrying H.O. train items as well.

 

I think Toys R Us did more to discourage the toy train hobby by offering cheap HO trains that stopped running after a few weeks.

 

 

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Posted by phrankenstign on Saturday, November 03, 2018 1:58 PM

I think hobby shops are a thing of the past.

I blame LIONEL (since they've been the O gauge leading manufacturer for more years than anybody else) most for making it happen.  Their prices have more than doubled this century, despite reusing the same molds over and over.  It's smarter and more economical for the average model railroading fan to buy new old stock, than it is to buy new current items.  Hobby shop owners end up selling their new old stock after years of the stuff languishing in their inventory.  Why?  The prices on the new old stock usually remains stagnant, while the new current items carry newer and higher MSRPs despite having the same, basic features.  Customers ask themselves, "Should I buy a new coal dump car for $75, or should I buy a NOS dump car for $25?"

Hobby shop owners can't keep stock for years before selling it.  They need quick turnarounds on their inventory investments. The huge price increases Lionel has implemented fostered a slow turnover for inventory in the market for trains.  How can Menard's charge a lot less for comparable products?  Surely they've had the same basic costs that Lionel has had.  Many of Lionel's molds have been reused countless times over the years.  Sure they may have to do some maintenance on them occasionally, but that doesn't compare to creating new molds entirely.  How can Menards undercut Lionel?  Lionel's policies for manufacturing on demand stuff is great for rich people, but crazy for the average family who doesn't have a lot of money to spare.  When my kids were young, there's no way I would have wanted to order expensive items one or two years in advance for my kids for Christmas or their birthdays.  Timeliness is much more important for toys than it is for a lot of other things.  Cabbage Patch Kids, Teeny Babies, Tickle Me Elmo, etc., are items that had huge demands manufacturers couldn't keep up with.  What's the hot item for the year?  Have Lionel Trains ever had a huge demand kind of customer fervor associated with them?  Not in my lifetime!  It'll never happen either.  As long as buying NOS is a much more economically preferable decision, owning a hobby shop to try to sell Lionel trains (or similar type of long shelf life item manufacturer) is a thing of the past.

I've always liked the Lionel name, but I can't remember the last time I bought one of their products that was featured in the current catalog.

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Posted by anjdevil2 on Monday, November 05, 2018 3:53 PM

Well, I for one, don't not think the Hobby Shop (or LHS) is a thing of the past.

My train stores (Trains and Things, Ewing, NJ and Holly Beach, Wildwood, NJ) service my needs very well.  I have the ability to do a layaway on things that I want but cannot afford by doing a depost and paying overtime, and to Phranks comment, I have purchased a LionChief Plus Blue Comet, and more than likely the First Responders GP38 (Which I happened to have trained (pun intended) on).  I have bought a LionChief CamelBack as well.  Pricing?  I think the pricing on the new stuff is reasonable and considering what you get in the LionChief line a bargain.

Rolling stock and accessories, I buy a mix of old and new.

The role of the LHS has changed as there is more marketing and doing mail and web stuff, being active in buying and selling of train collections.  I have bought my share of special runs from Holly Beach and Larry, a former firefighter, is a great guy.  Same with Tony at Trains and Things, I used to service Tony's car dealership when I worked for Enterprise.  

Tony has, about 2 years ago, moved into a bigger store in the same shopping center.  And when I go, I'll spent a couple of hours there.  

So, just like the demise of the hobby theory, which I feel has been debunked, the LHS can and will thrive as long as the owner(s) cater to their customers wants and needs and can market their services to the community.

Unleash the fury, free the beast.  You must heed the story told by the priests.

Ring the doomsday bells, raising hell!!! - Yngwie Malmsteen


  • Member since
    January, 2013
  • 851 posts
Posted by lion88roar on Wednesday, November 07, 2018 8:34 AM

Like anjdevil said... I don't think the LHS is dead. We just had a second LHS open in town a couple years ago and both are still up and running. For train stuff I go to one (the new place has some train related items, but is more 'genera' than train focused) the LTS (Local Train Store), as I call it, is all trains of all scales. It is a great place to go and talk with like minded people about trains, the state of the industry, etc and the owner will match the pricing from the big online retailers. This cuts into their margins and has resulted in their on-hand inventory being reduced. They also no longer do consignments, you have to sell to them for a rather reduced price and then they resell it for a profit... kind of a give and take, depending on the item I either go that route, or sell it myself.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 3,023 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, November 07, 2018 8:37 AM

We have had a few new shops specializing in trains open in Florida.

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They are not dead down here.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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