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Terminal Hobby Shop

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Terminal Hobby Shop
Posted by NP2626 on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 5:27 AM

What happened to the above?  Did Walthers simply absorb this store?

NP 2626 "Northern Pacific, really terrific"

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Posted by Railphotog on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 5:32 AM

Terminal Hobby Shop is Walthers.  It is in their building.

Bob Boudreau

CANADA

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 5:42 AM

NP2626

What happened to the above?  Did Walthers simply absorb this store?

Back in the day, when it was not really publicly acceptable for manufacturers/distributors to also be in the retail business, Walthers used this name for their retail/mail order operation.

They sold retail and mail order to serve those who lived in remote areas with no LHS.

Like their retail activities now, pricing was basicly full list to protect (and not anger) their dealer network.

As the internet has changed this business, they have gradually dropped the name and the distiction between "Walthers" and the Terminal Hobby Shop.

At their rather large facility in Milwaulkee, they have nice sized retail storefront from which you can buy anything that is in stock in the warehouse. And as we all know, they sell direct via their web site.

I visted their store and several other area train stores on a business trip to Milwaukee some years ago. 

Sheldon

    

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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:37 AM

Walthers gradually phased out the use of the Terminal Hobby Shop name and it is hard to say exactly when it ceased -- I think the ads in MR continued the name longer than they did at the shop itself.  At one time the space it now occupies was pretty much filled with shelves of stuff much like any hobby shop. It truly was a hobby shop of a sort, although the "big back room" was always the main attraction.  Now the focus is on desks with computers so you can fill out your order card and take it to the desk.  There are some shelves with stuff, and more shelves with damaged or discontinued stuff, as well as  two train layouts and a slotcar/train set layout.   But if you go there expecting to browse you might find it to be rather slim pickings (but they are happy to take visitors on brief tours of the warehouse area if they have the time).

In some ways that was a return the original original Terminal Hobby Shop back when it was on Water Street (in the building you can buy an HO model of).  There was limited shelf space and basically you went to the order desk.  The place was really cramped. 

Some of us remember when there was a Walthers Catalog and a Terminal Hobby Shop catalog and a decal catalog. 

Dave Nelson

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Posted by Train Modeler on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:06 AM

I wish I had stopped in while I was in Milw.   But I didn't know it was a brick and mortar place.

Richard

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Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:36 AM

THS was my savior when the Air Force sent my dad to Germany in the early 70s. I only wish I'd had more $$ to utilize, but they did make it possible to "model by mail" so to speak.

As for pricing, for most people charging MRSP didn't hurt the competitiveness of THS much. Most hobby shops back then charged full list price anyway and it was typically only mail order houses where you could find a discount.

Now we have many fewer hobby shops, the internet, eBay, and an expectation to (hopefully) never pay list price. The idea that you're getting a discount is more a marketing effort than a real discount, given that most of us now 1) expect a discount and 2) mfg's and dealers raise the list prices in ways that assume the end consumer will not pay full list, because the psychological effect of seeming to get a discount is part and parcel of marketing these days.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by NP2626 on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:10 PM

I knew that the Terminal Hobby Shop was a part of Walthers.  When I ordered stuff from Walthers, the packing slip was from THS.  I wasn't asking about who they were, I was asking what happened to the store.

Thank you to those who answered my question!

NP 2626 "Northern Pacific, really terrific"

Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association:  http://www.nprha.org/

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:49 PM

NP2626

I knew that the Terminal Hobby Shop was a part of Walthers.  When I ordered stuff from Walthers, the packing slip was from THS.  I wasn't asking about who they were, I was asking what happened to the store.

Thank you to those who answered my question!

Now, now.  I find the entire thread interesting whether each reply answered your question or not.

That is just the nature of the forum.  It encourages discussion and conversation.

Thanks for posting the thread!

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:42 PM

Then, briefly, yes, Rich, the store is there as much as it ever was, just not using that name.   About every month there is a Walthers sale flyer, and the prices are good for two month as a rule.  So at any given visit it pays to check the two most recent sales flyers.  Their website search engine also shows when stuff is on sale.

If you are a regular customer it also pays to get their Frequent Customer Card.  Every $25 purchase gets a punch, and yes both the sale stuff as well as the damaged and close out stuff gets counted.  When the card is filled it is good for $50 worth of stuff.  I have probably gone through a half dozen of those cards. 

Another benefit is that from time to time they just give away stuff.  Not too many months ago they had a huge box of brick chimneys near the counter.  When I was done with my order they said "How many chimneys do you want?"  I took one but it was obvious if I had said 5 I would have gotten them.  Sheets of signs are another common give away.

A while ago they had a box of train set quality F units for about $3 each, and a huge box of trainset depot kits for $2@ - great for kitbashing.  Another time they had brass observation dome car bodies (no floor or trucks) for $20@.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by ksax73 on Thursday, June 14, 2012 6:27 AM

Can I really say I'm starting to show my age?  I remember calling them to order stuff and they were still going by that name.  They were discounting items even then (around late 1990s) but it only showed up in their ?quarterly? catalogs that they are now starting to send electronically.  These sale prices did not show up in their online catalog until the last five or so years.

~Kyle

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Posted by Stevert on Thursday, June 14, 2012 9:11 AM
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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, June 14, 2012 5:04 PM

The website and flyers do show what's "on sale" but from what I understand if you go in person you can find items that they can't put in the "on sale" list, because they don't have enough of them or the box is dented or whatever.
I've been buying direct from Walthers/THS back into the 1980's. When I was in O scale, very few LHS's carried much 1:48 stuff so I usually ordered direct. I still have a 1985 or 1986 Walthers decal catalogue, too bad they don't still make those decals.

Stix

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