For those that don't receive email updates from Horizon Hobby, this came today:
For over two years, Horizon Hobby has offered our complete assortment of model railroad and related products on HorizonHobbyTrains.com. Beginning Wednesday January 15, we will no longer be offering non-exclusive product lines via our website, Amazon, and eBay. Horizon Hobby will continue to provide distribution of Athearn plus all our non-exclusive model railroad brands to retailers as we have for decades and our interest and support of the model railroading community continues as well.Additionally, HorizonHobbyTrains.com will be redirected to Athearn.com. Athearn models may now be purchased directly from the Athearn website. As a HorizonHobbyTrains.com subscriber, you'll continue to receive special promotions for Athearn products.Finally, if you have placed a preorder using HorizonHobbyTrains.com, we will maintain the backorder and ship once it becomes available. If you would like to check the status of your backorders or have any questions, please contact our Consumer Sales Department at 888 959-2307.We appreciate your business and look forward to providing you with Athearn locomotives, rolling stock, and vehicles for many years to come.Sincerely,Horizon Hobby"
See photos of the Clinton-Golden Valley RR
Sounds like a generally positive development to me. Horizon takes itself out of direct competition with the LHS on items that aren't its exclusives. Hoepfully, they keep the ioncentives going to the shops so that customers generally see a loco at list price on the Horizon sites, but can look forward to an instore discount if the retailer does offer its customers a better than MSRP deal with most products.
Only time will tell on that. It already looks different than the Walthers model, because they will be offering retail sales only on their own lines. Walthers sells everything at full list all the time, while offering regular discount sale catalogs that include a little of everthing. This doesn't necessarily canabalize customers from their retail clients though. My dealer always honored the sale price, so I never have ordered direct from the catalog, just added this on to my usual orders with my LHS.
I will say that I did order from them decades ago when it was the "Terminal Hobby Shop" and my dad was stationed with us overseas. Walthers is great for those with APO/FPO addresses. Those are the only folks who might see the downside on this move with Horizon.
There is at least one positive sign, given this is the first big move under the recent new management. If this line in the business had been significantly profitable, it might have been a different call. Coming this soon, it's an indication that Horizon felt whatever they made off it wasn't worth the negative effects on its retail clients. Will this make a big difference in the long run? It can't hurt the LHS for them to conclude that this business shouldn't compete with them.
mlehmanWill this make a big difference in the long run? It can't hurt the LHS for them to conclude that this business shouldn't compete with them.
The sale of Athearn models went back to Athearn and you can buy direct from Athearn instead of Horizon.
Makes sense to me.Let a model railroad company handle the sale of trains while Horizon sells their line of R/C products.
Guess they couldn't compete with the online discount stores.
Model Railroader magazine