Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

LHS closed

2006 views
43 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December 2011
  • 429 posts
Posted by Uncle_Bob on Sunday, January 26, 2020 12:32 PM

jsanchez

Where I live, Northeast PA we are lucky to have had a new train shop open within the last few years, the shop is doing great with almost no internet business, he seems to do a good job stocking what customers want(as much as possible), has a decent discount on products and freindly service The store carries everything from bargain used items to the lastest pricey sound equipped locos and electronics, plus model kits It is nicely organized store and a fun place to browse and hang out. He also is very good with special ordering items, which winds up being a better deal than buying from the internet. Surprising how many under 30 people are shopping there. The hobby is definitely not dead yet. I think why his store is successful is that it is a smartly run business, that customers like returning to on a regular basis. The store actually expanded last year and is worth a visit if your in Wilkes-Barre/Kingston/Edwardsville, PA. Dave's Train Corner.

 

I may have to stop there the next time I make a pilgrimage to Buttonwood Bakery.  Thanks!

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 944 posts
Posted by PRR8259 on Sunday, January 26, 2020 1:53 PM

Oh, brother, more about train stores dying...

I live in PA, and we still have fantastic train stores.  They are not even located in the big cities, but in some cases small boroughs of only 10,000 people (English's Model RR Supply, Montoursville, PA.  People come from Canada and all over the world to shop there).  We also still have Mainline Hobbies, Tommy Gilbert's and several others...

Driving 90 miles to a train store is also no big deal to me.  I drive for travel baseball, sometimes much farther for just a game, so 90 miles to a great train store is no big deal.  Here in the Northeast, you can get used to driving distances for what you want.  It's all a question of priorities.  If I want a new horn for my son, the best place is 200 miles away near NYC, but in NJ.  I wouldn't think twice about driving there to look at instruments, and I have made the trip.

The selection of items is worth the trip.

John

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: US
  • 369 posts
Posted by jsanchez on Sunday, January 26, 2020 3:13 PM

PRR8259

Oh, brother, more about train stores dying...

I live in PA, and we still have fantastic train stores.  They are not even located in the big cities, but in some cases small boroughs of only 10,000 people (English's Model RR Supply, Montoursville, PA.  People come from Canada and all over the world to shop there).  We also still have Mainline Hobbies, Tommy Gilbert's and several others...

Driving 90 miles to a train store is also no big deal to me.  I drive for travel baseball, sometimes much farther for just a game, so 90 miles to a great train store is no big deal.  Here in the Northeast, you can get used to driving distances for what you want.  It's all a question of priorities.  If I want a new horn for my son, the best place is 200 miles away near NYC, but in NJ.  I wouldn't think twice about driving there to look at instruments, and I have made the trip.

The selection of items is worth the trip.

John

 

Don't forget Nicholas Smith in Broomall is an amazing place also Trains N Lanes in Easton, has quite a bit. We are still lucky in PA to have some great shops. I agree.

James Sanchez

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 18,774 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, January 26, 2020 4:05 PM

Here in southern Delaware, we had two shops but one closed last year.  The owner retired and the landlord wanted the property for something else.  The other shop is only a few miles from me, but it's an O-gauge shop.  I'm hoping they will start carrying more HO, or at least let me order it.

I am still delaying setting up my layout, but really, all I will need is track and scenery stuff for quite some time.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 128 posts
Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, January 27, 2020 8:34 AM

basementdweller

The Train Station is a great model train store, it's about 40 miles away from me so I make it there once or twice a month. I always forget about Robbie's Hobbies.

 

I'm a little farther out, just beyond Utica. It's about a 50 minute drive for me. Fall to early spring I bowl in Columbus twice a week and the Train Station is just five minutes away from the bowling alley so that makes it convenient.  In the warm weather months I rarely come to Columbus but model railroading gives way to golf so I don't often need anything related to model railroading.

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • 48 posts
Posted by danno54 on Monday, January 27, 2020 8:49 AM
My local HS has a row of shelves behind the register. It’s usually full of packages they have ordered from online type companies for customers. I have used this for pre-order Walther pass. car sets, a couple engines and some high end die-cast car models. HS price to me was a little better than my online price plus I get to eyeball items for damage before I take delivery. Prefer to support the local HS when I can.
  • Member since
    June 2007
  • From: Grew up in Calif, left in 84, now in Virginia
  • 7,303 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, January 27, 2020 5:27 PM

Enjoy them while you can.  Most LHS s seem to be single owner and they eventually retire.  Then fun is over.  

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 505 posts
Posted by DAVID FORTNEY on Monday, January 27, 2020 9:54 PM

Even though I live in Pa. Where there is quite a few of hobby shops I rarely go to them. It is so much easier and the selection is so much better that I order online from many of  them . I don't like driving, waiting in traffic or dealing with morons who own most of the shops that if not for online shopping I may not be in the hobby.

I can sit on my couch with my tablet, order what I want and get what I ordered at my front door, no stress, no driving.

Dave

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • 506 posts
Posted by tin can on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 11:19 AM

SeeYou190

Walthers is in a position to do something similar in model railroading.

.

How many one man 600 square foot shops would they need to open as recruitment centers to pump new blood into this hobby of ours?

.

The successful modern business model is out there.

.

-Kevin

.

 

Kevin

I think this makes sense.  Move marketing dollars from media-based into overhead for small retail outlets.  Drive and create demand.

 

Remember the tin can; the MKT's central Texas branch...
  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 6,466 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 11:24 AM

tin can
Kevin I think this makes sense.  Move marketing dollars from media-based into overhead for small retail outlets.  Drive and create demand.

.

If Walthers would follow the Games Workshop model and open one-man 500-600 foot stores, and opened one in Fort Myers... I would quit my job tomorrow and run that store.

.

I would spend my pre-retirement years recruiting new people into the hobby and funneling all that future business into the Walthers online store.

.

Walthers could easily market HO scale model railroading as "The Walthers Hobby", and truly make it their own.

.

Oh... to fully copy the Games Workshop model they would need to double, or maybe triple all their prices.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Chicago, IL
  • 265 posts
Posted by Eilif on Thursday, January 30, 2020 12:12 PM

Sorry the OP lost their Hobbytown.  We've lost a number of them over the years.  It's tough to be a dealer that tries to do it all when hobbies are so specialized and varried these days.

In and Around Chicago we've got a number of train shops. Some are just trains, some are quite varried, usually including toys with other hobbies.  I have noticed that many shops -even some of the mixed shops- are seemig to specialize in one direction or the other.  There's one that gets new product but also has a HUGE NOS selection.  There's one that emphasizes O.  Two shops that are primarily HO and nothing but new product. 

 

SeeYou190

 

tin can
Kevin I think this makes sense.  Move marketing dollars from media-based into overhead for small retail outlets.  Drive and create demand.

 

.

If Walthers would follow the Games Workshop model and open one-man 500-600 foot stores, and opened one in Fort Myers... I would quit my job tomorrow and run that store.

 

I would spend my pre-retirement years recruiting new people into the hobby and funneling all that future business into the Walthers online store.

 

Walthers could easily market HO scale model railroading as "The Walthers Hobby", and truly make it their own.

.

Oh... to fully copy the Games Workshop model they would need to double, or maybe triple all their prices.

.

-Kevin 

I'm not sure I'd want that job. I've been out of the GW hobby for a bit, but what I recall hearing is that the 1-man stores were often understaffed, underpaid and extremely stressfull environments. 

However, I do think there is some merit in some version of the model though as GW does seem to be expanding the numbers of stores.  I think the price-points and time-involvments for the GW hobby and model railroading are actually quite similar.  Both hobby's base-level boxed-item purchase is $30-$60 repeated often and the amount of hands-on effort is similar.

Walthers would basically need to decide what exactly the hobby is that they would be selling at these stores and at least 90% of the store would have to be stocked accordingly, with a small section set asside for "Specialist" products.   You'd have to be able to walk into a Walthers store and know with some certainty exactly what you'd find everytime.  That requires a supply chain vastly more reliable than most model train dealers have.

I'm not sure what that "hobby" and selection would be but it would be essential if they are to survive in the small spaces that GW stores do.  That said, if the "Walthers" hobby was organized the way the GW hobby is, it could be successfull. 

Visit the Chicago Valley Railroad for Chicago Trainspotting and Budget Model Railroading. 

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 944 posts
Posted by PRR8259 on Thursday, January 30, 2020 10:34 PM

DAVID FORTNEY

Even though I live in Pa. Where there is quite a few of hobby shops I rarely go to them. It is so much easier and the selection is so much better that I order online from many of  them . I don't like driving, waiting in traffic or dealing with morons who own most of the shops that if not for online shopping I may not be in the hobby.

I can sit on my couch with my tablet, order what I want and get what I ordered at my front door, no stress, no driving.

Dave

Well, I sorta understand why shopping online might be easier, but the particular shops I visit are so well stocked that I can almost always find items that are not available online including new items already sold out online.

As far as train shops run by morons, I'm very sorry to hear that.  The ones I've frequented in PA, in person, my whole life, for the last 46 years since I was 5, were not run by morons.  Perhaps that is why they are still around.

I am sorry that it seems others have experienced things differently, but please don't hate on the ones that are left.

They became my lifelong friends.  I've been to employees' homes and layouts, and helped them finish their personal mainline at 4 am on a Sunday morning...spent many late Saturday nights working on layouts and enjoying the pizza.

Sincerely--

John

  • Member since
    May 2017
  • 294 posts
Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Friday, January 31, 2020 5:25 PM

PRR8259

 

 
DAVID FORTNEY

Even though I live in Pa. Where there is quite a few of hobby shops I rarely go to them. It is so much easier and the selection is so much better that I order online from many of  them . I don't like driving, waiting in traffic or dealing with morons who own most of the shops that if not for online shopping I may not be in the hobby.

I can sit on my couch with my tablet, order what I want and get what I ordered at my front door, no stress, no driving.

Dave

 

 

Well, I sorta understand why shopping online might be easier, but the particular shops I visit are so well stocked that I can almost always find items that are not available online including new items already sold out online.

As far as train shops run by morons, I'm very sorry to hear that.  The ones I've frequented in PA, in person, my whole life, for the last 46 years since I was 5, were not run by morons.  Perhaps that is why they are still around.

I am sorry that it seems others have experienced things differently, but please don't hate on the ones that are left.

They became my lifelong friends.  I've been to employees' homes and layouts, and helped them finish their personal mainline at 4 am on a Sunday morning...spent many late Saturday nights working on layouts and enjoying the pizza.

Sincerely--

John

 

Talking to one of my friends at a hobby shop, he commented that "model railroaders make bad buisness men" and he was glad his hobby shop was owned and managed by guys who actually aren't that into trains but instead were buisness guys, since they always kept things running smoothly. In turn, the railfans who work there get to work the floor and run the shop's day to day buisness interacting and befriending customers (yes these being like your story, guys who I have been on railfan trips with, visited their personal layouts, hanged out trackside, etc.) but the purse strings are ran by guys who focus on buisness, not the trains. Makes for a good combination. 

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: St. Paul
  • 606 posts
Posted by garya on Saturday, February 1, 2020 11:04 PM

Da Stumer

I'm surprised my LHS is still in business. It takes up the basement of a somewhat derilict strip mall, and has a lot of NOS. Never a ton of people there, and some stuff has probably been sitting on the shelves for over 30 years. When something runs out, it isn't restocked unless a specific request is made, and then I need to go back again to get it. They do trains, cars, ships, and planes I think. Another hobby shop in the area has broadened to games, toys, and other kids items as well as hobby trains, r/c, gundam, and the like, and they usually have a decent crowd there. I do pretty niche modeling as well, but I frequent these stores for general supplies such as trucks, couplers, paint, styrene, and detail parts. I'd much rather go to a store and buy items as I need them than pay shipping, especially if I can't get everything online from one place. Online shopping would be perfect if shipping was free, but alas that usually isn't the case.

 

Ah, "the dungeon."  It was a bowling alley years ago.  You may have noticed everything is MSRP, too.  Maybe it's not crowded, but it's a big store and they do a steady business.  They seem to be doing ok.  

Gary

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!