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Hobby shop closing.

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Hobby shop closing.
Posted by richg1998 on Friday, February 14, 2020 3:46 PM

This fellow bought the hobby shop in Northampton, Ma many years ago.

It carried all hobbies as I recall. Moved it to Hadley, Ma a short ways then to Springfield.

When the Basket Ball Hall of Fame was built he had to move across the river to West Springfield where the Amherst train show is held every year. Stayed there for many years. I went there many times. Too bad. Many modelers in the area must buy online now. I have seen the shop shrink the past ten years.

https://www.wwlp.com/news/local-news/hampden-county/pioneer-valley-hobbies-closing-its-doors-for-good/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_WWLP-22News&fbclid=IwAR34e6o7rjyXQaCcLAGSg2OXMKkeduBQGH5jJCjOOaQk82kaLWEqL2Tdc-s

Rich

 

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, February 14, 2020 4:39 PM

It's sad, but nothing new here.

To quote the retiring owner:

~ Times are changing and it’s tough to compete with online retailers.

~ The interests of people are changing.

~ Not as many hobbyists as there used to be.

~ The younger kids aren’t as interested as they used to be.

Rich

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, February 14, 2020 4:54 PM

Noting the comments of the retiring owner, they seem a bit out-of-touch.  Blame the closing on kids attached to there phones and interests changing.  IMO, easy straw-men to knock down.

Yes, times are changing and the way people shop is changing too.  If the guy is too old or mentally too old to adapt to the modern market trends which is online shopping, then maybe it's time for him to thow in the towel.  But same can be said for other brick and mortar operations.  Adapt or die.  Horse and buggy gave way to automobiles too.  

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Posted by richg1998 on Friday, February 14, 2020 5:03 PM

I have gone there on weekends and noticed not near as  people over the years.

The owner has made special request from me. A friend in the local club use to do all the DCC conversions/repairs for the owner

Many restaurants even closing in the Springfield metropolitan area. Some have been around for years.

Times are really changing.

Rich

 

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Posted by cowman on Friday, February 14, 2020 6:00 PM

Wonder if this is the same shop that I went to when I was at UMass in the early 70's.  Heard it changed around then, not sure if moved or may have been when he bought it.  It was north of the center of town if I remember correctly.

I moved too far away to stay a customer.

Sad, I am expecting my local LHS to close anytime.  The building is for sale.  Afraid I don't do a lot of business there, as the selection  is quite limited.

Good luck,

Richard

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Posted by selector on Friday, February 14, 2020 6:00 PM

riogrande5761

Noting the comments of the retiring owner, they seem a bit out-of-touch.  Blame the closing on kids attached to there phones and interests changing.  IMO, easy straw-men to knock down.

Yes, times are changing and the way people shop is changing too.  If the guy is too old or mentally too old to adapt to the modern market trends which is online shopping, then maybe it's time for him to thow in the towel.  But same can be said for other brick and mortar operations.  Adapt or die.  Horse and buggy gave way to automobiles too.  

 

I hate to fall into the trap (at least, it's almost always a trap) of sweeping generalizations because the more nuanced analysis is usually the more accurate.  However:

a. the millenials and younger are doing less shopping because they aren't very successful at gaining a 'living' wage.  The market these days is the service industry, and that's for people earning $75K an up who can afford to pay for those services.  The youth of today are earning minimum wage, or a few bucks more. So...;

b. On what do they spend their disposable income (let's not get into the still-living-in-mom's-basement stuff.)?  Food.  Delivered increasingly.  That doesn't come cheaply.  Skip the Dishes. Data plans.  New smartphone every 18 months when their provider sends them an email saying they can get the latest-but-one for about $180.  They don't buy cars, they take transit, and they don't save for a house.  They expect that mom will bequeath her house to them in time;

c. Meanwhile, at the other end of the life-span, many of us have begun the dying off of the early boomers, and certainly their parents are either dead or within three or four years of their ends.  It's a dwindling market;

d. Those making a good wage are comparatively few, and their tastes are changing.  Their crack phones and tablets take up much of their disposable time.  They like the fads that 'influencers' on bitchute and youtube tell them they're missing unless they hop on board.  Intermittent fasting, full keto, 'clean' keto, meaning almost doubling up on their food budgets and costing them more time cooking (I know, seems to run counter to my earlier point about Skip the Dishes, but the group isn't homogeneous.  What crosses between groups is their spending, and it isn't on hobbies.)

I don't think there's so much of a straw man there.  It's true that, just like our kids, we've taken to ordering things on line.  It's true, hobby shops that don't fall in line have found themselves increasingly in dire straits.  But, to say it's solely due to a failure to adopt on-line services is missing at least half of the picture.

 

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Friday, February 14, 2020 6:49 PM

After a quite long period of decline, the hobby of model railroading is enjoying some kind of a resurrection on my country. Maybe we owe this to "ambassadors" like Miniatur Wunderland and a growing awareness that trains are "green". Nevertheless, hobby shops are heading the way of the dinosaurs here as well. There is not just a single reason to be blamed for that. Adding to what Selector has said in his above post, one of the reasons is the growing second hand market and the easy access to it via the various auction sites. For quite a few model railroaders it is the only way to remain "in business", as current pricing has put the hobby quite out of reach for the young guy earning his hobby money on the paper route or the retiree depending on his state pension, which has seen quite a few cuts over the last years. Hobby shops cannot survive on selling structure kits and scenic materials alone.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Friday, February 14, 2020 7:38 PM

riogrande5761

Noting the comments of the retiring owner, they seem a bit out-of-touch.  Blame the closing on kids attached to there phones and interests changing.  IMO, easy straw-men to knock down.

Yes, times are changing and the way people shop is changing too.  If the guy is too old or mentally too old to adapt to the modern market trends which is online shopping, then maybe it's time for him to thow in the towel.  But same can be said for other brick and mortar operations.  Adapt or die.  Horse and buggy gave way to automobiles too.  

 

^From the young model railroaders tired of being used as a bad argument in straw man's arguments all I can say is... thank you for stating all of the above.

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Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Friday, February 14, 2020 7:49 PM

selector

 

 
riogrande5761

Noting the comments of the retiring owner, they seem a bit out-of-touch.  Blame the closing on kids attached to there phones and interests changing.  IMO, easy straw-men to knock down.

Yes, times are changing and the way people shop is changing too.  If the guy is too old or mentally too old to adapt to the modern market trends which is online shopping, then maybe it's time for him to thow in the towel.  But same can be said for other brick and mortar operations.  Adapt or die.  Horse and buggy gave way to automobiles too.  

 

 

 

I hate to fall into the trap (at least, it's almost always a trap) of sweeping generalizations because the more nuanced analysis is usually the more accurate.  However:

a. the millenials and younger are doing less shopping because they aren't very successful at gaining a 'living' wage.  The market these days is the service industry, and that's for people earning $75K an up who can afford to pay for those services.  The youth of today are earning minimum wage, or a few bucks more. So...;

b. On what do they spend their disposable income (let's not get into the still-living-in-mom's-basement stuff.)?  Food.  Delivered increasingly.  That doesn't come cheaply.  Skip the Dishes. Data plans.  New smartphone every 18 months when their provider sends them an email saying they can get the latest-but-one for about $180.  They don't buy cars, they take transit, and they don't save for a house.  They expect that mom will bequeath her house to them in time;

c. Meanwhile, at the other end of the life-span, many of us have begun the dying off of the early boomers, and certainly their parents are either dead or within three or four years of their ends.  It's a dwindling market;

d. Those making a good wage are comparatively few, and their tastes are changing.  Their crack phones and tablets take up much of their disposable time.  They like the fads that 'influencers' on bitchute and youtube tell them they're missing unless they hop on board.  Intermittent fasting, full keto, 'clean' keto, meaning almost doubling up on their food budgets and costing them more time cooking (I know, seems to run counter to my earlier point about Skip the Dishes, but the group isn't homogeneous.  What crosses between groups is their spending, and it isn't on hobbies.)

I don't think there's so much of a straw man there.  It's true that, just like our kids, we've taken to ordering things on line.  It's true, hobby shops that don't fall in line have found themselves increasingly in dire straits.  But, to say it's solely due to a failure to adopt on-line services is missing at least half of the picture.

 

 

 

a. Yes a lot of millenials are earning low wages... perhaps its because many of us are still in school? Seems most of my friends who have graduated are doing pretty good. Don't tell me about student debt or people taking wimpy "useless liberal arts degrees," I don't think me or my fellow mechanical engineering students would take that well. 

b. Yes I like food. Don't you too? But my physical hobbies are not neglected. I spend plenty on railroading and other hobbies like book collecting and Lego collecting; and still have the ability to buy digital media like video games. No, I can't sink $45,000 into a basement empire and $20,000 into a live steam locomotive right now. Could you do such when you were in your 20's? Believe it or not, YouTube is a free service... and a subscription set of Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime is probably still cheaper than your cable plan which is full of channels you don't ever watch.

Also... in a railroading forum.. What is wrong with taking transit? If I lived closer to it I would take it more often, especially the vast network of commuter rail in my area. But I still drive a car, probably put 400+ miles on it a week.

As for the house... tell it to my sister and her husband in their house. Or one of my best high school friends who bought a brand new house. Turns out, we are in a housing market struggle here in Utah; most millenials are struggling to get in a house simply because they can't build them fast enough. Besides, what would be so wrong with inheriting someone elses home if that is a better situation? Many familys internationally live in intergenerational homes, is that such a sin to do such in America? Does the American Dream require throwing away the homes of our family so we can seek out and buy the next biggest thing on the market, like some generational keeping up with the Jones's? I remember encountering up to three or four generations in some families in Argentina living in the same house. I'd say that is a constant in many parts of Latin America and perhaps Europe or Asia too. 

d. So then what are "influencers" like Luke Towan doing? Do I need to point out how many railfans and model railroaders are sharing the hobby on YouTube? That has a strong affect on this hobby; maybe not on this forum, but with most of my friends I can attest to that.

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Posted by Josh B on Friday, February 14, 2020 8:10 PM

In typical milennial fashion, all I can say is "Okay boomer."

Two replies in and the thread has turned into another PHONE BAD, KIDS STUPID argument in spite of Jim's best efforts. All of the economic problems that push my generation away from expensive permanent hobbies are the fault of the generations that came previously. You made the world, we're only adapting to what you did to us.

On the topic of hobby shops - adaptation isn't too hard. One local store expanded to hosting train-themed parties, and that did very well for them. Another is only three years old and doing excellently because they do about 90% of their sales through their website. People tend to think they're a bigger company than they actually are because of this, but it keeps the locals happy because there is actually a store that keeps things in stock. The root cause of hobby shop closures, in spite of what many in this forum whine about, is not the "younger generation," it's the owners either refusing to change their operating practices, or simply just retiring due to old age.

The hobby is changing. Not dying. Young people are definitely interested. But because  of the economy (don't lie to us - it's not doing any better for those of us only recently entering the job market from college), if we can't afford large layouts and brass locomotives and 50-mile drives to the closest hobby store lost somewhere in the suburbs, we turn to other means of satisfying our interest: digital simulators, a single annual railfanning trip to another state, or RPM meets where the return of satisfaction is high without the investment in physical space that "normal" model railroading requires.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, February 14, 2020 8:13 PM

richg1998
I have seen the shop shrink the past ten years.

Yea, well, you'll have that.

Mike

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, February 14, 2020 8:19 PM

Scott Adams (Dilbert) had a podcast.  He was saying earlier this week that our attention span has shrunk since the cell phone

Movies were always hit or miss.  Maybe 1 out of 10 would be good, and now he never goes to a movie.   He can watch all sorts of videos on his phone, watching a 30 minute sitcom on TV seems like a major time commitment to him.  My TV watching is local news, business programming and sports.  I haven't watched a sitcom in years.

Adams 62.  So it's not just millenials that are addicted to their cell phones.  We went out to dinner and there was a family of 8.  All looked old enough to drive.  5/8 were on their cell phones.  You don't get that instant gratification from model railroading.  

 

 

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Posted by mrrdad on Friday, February 14, 2020 9:03 PM

It has nothing to do with interests, but it does economy. Nothing new here. 

The world is always changing. We can't stop that. When I was young I had no interest in model railroading. I didn't even know it existed. Even if I was interested, my parents barely kept food in our stomach and clothes on our back. Hobbies are not a necessity in life and never will be.

You can't say that the change in youth culture is what's causing the small mom and pop stores to close. It's the parents and older generation controlling the money and spending. The issue is that it costs so much more to survive today than it did 30 or 40 years ago. People didn't have internet bills, cell phone bills, cable bills, etc. Also we spend a lot more on healthcare and medicine compared to years past.

The plain and simple fact is that it costs so much to exist today, we have to save every penny we can to go towards something else. This is why Walmart thrived and we rely on China and imports so much. No simple solution to turn this around. Not looking to turn this into politics. So let's leave it at that.

Ed

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, February 14, 2020 9:41 PM

richhotrain
The younger kids aren’t as interested as they used to be.

There's a lot of younger kids in the hobby but,they shop on line so they can buy more with their hobby money. Sadly not many bother to attend train shows because of the cost to get in and buy at near full price for new cars and locomotives. 

I'm retired and I can't afford to pay full price at a hobby shop so,to get more bang for my hobby money I shop on line.

 

Larry

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Posted by selector on Saturday, February 15, 2020 3:11 AM

xboxtravis7992
 

 

a. Yes a lot of millenials are earning low wages... perhaps its because many of us are still in school? Seems most of my friends who have graduated are doing pretty good. Don't tell me about student debt or people taking wimpy "useless liberal arts degrees," I don't think me or my fellow mechanical engineering students would take that well.  

I didn't say anything about student debt, or about the endless production of degrees in the humanities.  I do think it's a problem, and a huge ethical failure for universities, but...I did not mention it.  Yet, if you ask those who have those problems, you'll find that they are disappointed in the results, and in the burdens they bring.  For example, how do they repay their $40K in student loans when they earn minimum wages? Maybe joining a hobby would help to take the sting out of it.

xboxtravis7992
 

b. Yes I like food. Don't you too? But my physical hobbies are not neglected. I spend plenty on railroading and other hobbies like book collecting and Lego collecting; and still have the ability to buy digital media like video games. No, I can't sink $45,000 into a basement empire and $20,000 into a live steam locomotive right now. Could you do such when you were in your 20's? Believe it or not, YouTube is a free service... and a subscription set of Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime is probably still cheaper than your cable plan which is full of channels you don't ever watch.

I have all of that, and a large CD collection, and cameras, and had a telescope until recently.  None of it came all at once. But, I had my first train set when I was 10, and was always fascinated by trains, especially steam locomotives.  Few of today's youth will get much exposure to trains. It's hard to develop an interest in something when you have little affiliation or history with it.  I won't say nobody develops interests unrelated to their youthful experiences, just that it's more unlikely.

xboxtravis7992

 

Also... in a railroading forum.. What is wrong with taking transit? If I lived closer to it I would take it more often, especially the vast network of commuter rail in my area. But I still drive a car, probably put 400+ miles on it a week.

Nothing wrong with transit, particularly when that's the only show in town.  For so many millenials, that's it, and they have little interest in cars.  Their politics and eco-sense would logically dim their ardor for POMVs anyway, and I wouldn't disagree with them.  We have too many cars the same reason we have too many people. My point was to follow on to having no or little disposable income.  Having a car would have to be a pipe dream under those circumstances.

xboxtravis7992


As for the house... tell it to my sister and her husband in their house. Or one of my best high school friends who bought a brand new house. Turns out, we are in a housing market struggle here in Utah; most millenials are struggling to get in a house simply because they can't build them fast enough.

Where I live, they go for $1.2M on average.  The building market here is very robust, but most of it is fueled by high real estate turnover, speculation, and offshore (I'm pointing across the Pacific) money. Millenials who are not engineers, doctors, or real estate tycoons can't afford them.

xboxtravis7992

Besides, what would be so wrong with inheriting someone elses home if that is a better situation? Many familys internationally live in intergenerational homes, is that such a sin to do such in America? Does the American Dream require throwing away the homes of our family so we can seek out and buy the next biggest thing on the market, like some generational keeping up with the Jones's? I remember encountering up to three or four generations in some families in Argentina living in the same house. I'd say that is a constant in many parts of Latin America and perhaps Europe or Asia too.

Nothing wrong with it at all.  I meant that one must wait.  No money, no funny. Toy trains are going to be well down the list...don't you think?  As for multi-generational living under one roof, if it's done out of necessity there, it might be the case here.  And that is what we're discussing...necessity.  Toy trains aren't a necessity.  And they'll stay that way until other priorities are met, such as paying off that $40K debt, building that 401K, and maybe paying for a roof for mom's house. 

xboxtravis7992


d. So then what are "influencers" like Luke Towan doing? Do I need to point out how many railfans and model railroaders are sharing the hobby on YouTube? That has a strong affect on this hobby; maybe not on this forum, but with most of my friends I can attest to that.

If there is such a thing as virtual model trains via youtube, I suppose that's a viable alternative.  It'll never be like the real thing.

 

 

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Saturday, February 15, 2020 3:26 AM

The times we live in have never been better and never been worse. Young people in my days didn´t have much money to spend on a hobby or even the time for it. They were busy starting their own lives, usually on a tight budget, even with a degree of an elite school in their pockets.  Anybody thinking that young graduates start their career on a top salary has spent way too much time watching the idiot box. It has never been that way and it will most likely never be that way. To climb a ladder, you have to start at the bottom. Tough luck, if you have not received an education with left you with skills needed in business. Than you have to start crawling towards the ladder before you can climb it.

I sometimes have the feeling that the "instant gratification" generation has lost any sense for some basic facts of life, one of which is earning comes before spending.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by NittanyLion on Saturday, February 15, 2020 8:03 AM

xboxtravis7992
sa lot of millenials are earning low wages... perhaps its because many of us are still in school? 

If you're still in school, you're not a Millennial. That's Gen Z. 

The oldest millenials are 40. We're well into adulthood and they've already classified the children of the millenials as Alpha. A lot of us are already putting kids in high school. 

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, February 15, 2020 8:30 AM

Let's not miss the forest for the trees here.

Those comments attributed to the retiring hobby shop owner in the newspaper article were simply the observations of a man who spent most of his adult life owning and operating a local hobby shop. From his vantage point, he saw his sales decline with the onset of the Internet hobby shop. He saw traffic in his store declining, and he took note of the fact that his remaining clientele was aging. Every time that I walk into a local hobby shop, I notice the same thing.

Someone drew an analogy to the horse and buggy giving way to the automobile. I think that analogy actually makes his point. I look at my grandkids entertaining themselves today. Model railroading has given way to Fortnite. Let's face it. We old timers grew up playing with trains so we continue to do so. Today's kids are growing up with computer games.

As for the Internet hobby shop, I am of the opinion that it did not kill the local hobby shop. It was simply a way to meet us old timers needs more cheaply than a brick and mortar store presence. When I lost all three of my local hobby shops, all three retiring owners closed down because the monthly rent payments ate up too much of their monthly revenue.

Rich

 

 

 

 

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Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Saturday, February 15, 2020 9:15 AM

Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 is a millenial, the oldest being 39 now. Trust me, I was definately born in that year range and the youngest being 23. Yes there are plenty in school my age too, oftentimes people who defered college due to religious or military service, or people who who are in hard STEM based degrees that often require more time than a "four year degree" would suggest. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/17/where-millennials-end-and-generation-z-begins/

To quote the article: "Most Millennials were between the ages of 5 and 20 when the 9/11 terrorist attacks shook the nation, and many were old enough to comprehend the historical significance of that moment, while most members of Gen Z have little or no memory of the event. Millennials also grew up in the shadow of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which sharpened broader views of the parties and contributed to the intense political polarization that shapes the current political environment." While myself and my sister are on the later end of the millennial age group, we both tick off all those requiremts to being part of the generation.

As for Gen Z and model railroading... I know quite a few "zoomers" into the hobby too. A large chunk of active model railroaders in my area are kids younger than me just fresh in college or still in high school.

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Posted by Marc_Magnus on Saturday, February 15, 2020 9:18 AM

"richhotrain"

 

 

As for the Internet hobby shop, I am of the opinion that it did not kill the local hobby shop. It was simply a way to meet us old timers needs more cheaply than a brick and mortar store presence. When I lost all three of my local hobby shops, all three retiring owners closed down because the monthly rent payments ate up too much of their monthly revenue.

Rich

 

 

 

 

 

[/quote]

Before I leave  Europe nearly eight months ago, I had a "friend" who has a good hobby shop  which was going quiet well 

His son begun to open a internet online shop which allow my friend to work with internet and his hobby shop.

The result where excellent, first for the online shop but also for the conventionnal hobby shop.

Many customers who bought on Internet where very happy to make a visit to the hobby shop and more interesting this online shop has open a new interest for the conventional shop, this ended by a really increase of sale on the internet shop but also in the conventional shop

Further in Belgium where I lived, the gouvernemental trade observation has show if online shop work well and are the brother of a conventional shop, if the online site is well done and show many good pictures of an attractive live shop people who order online often come to visit the shop and buy too in the life shop.

 

 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Saturday, February 15, 2020 9:29 AM

richhotrain

Let's not miss the forest for the trees here.

Those comments attributed to the retiring hobby shop owner in the newspaper article were simply the observations of a man who spent most of his adult life owning and operating a local hobby shop. From his vantage point, he saw his sales decline with the onset of the Internet hobby shop. He saw traffic in his store declining, and he took note of the fact that his remaining clientele was aging. Every time that I walk into a local hobby shop, I notice the same thing.

Yes.  Scanning the post after mine, there was some blowback, but Rich made a good point which was on my mind when I posted my comment earlier about the hobby shop owner retiring.  He is drawing on a complaint many have on "the hobby is dying which talks about young people not getting into the hobby older spenders dying off and getting fewer.

Someone drew an analogy to the horse and buggy giving way to the automobile. I think that analogy actually makes his point. I look at my grandkids entertaining themselves today. Model railroading has given way to Fortnite. Let's face it. We old timers grew up playing with trains so we continue to do so. Today's kids are growing up with computer games.

That is of course true and why it's very easy to dismiss the notion that few younger ones are getting into the hobby.

As for the Internet hobby shop, I am of the opinion that it did not kill the local hobby shop. It was simply a way to meet us old timers needs more cheaply than a brick and mortar store presence. When I lost all three of my local hobby shops, all three retiring owners closed down because the monthly rent payments ate up too much of their monthly revenue.

Rich

From most of the stories of shops closing, it is almost always because they are single owner and the owner has reached a point of retiring or perhaps ill and can't run the shop anymore.  Not because business is not sustaining the shop, although I expect that happens as well.

There's a lot of younger kids in the hobby but,they shop on line so they can buy more with their hobby money. Sadly not many bother to attend train shows because of the cost to get in and buy at near full price for new cars and locomotives

Larry has a very good point, one I alluded to earlier.  The old guy closing his shop doesn't see much in the way of younger customers so he draws the conclusion they don't exist.  His perspective is going to be limited to his experiences, but that is also going to limit his conclusion to those experiences. 

What he doesn't see is the younger ones have grown up in the electronic age and are likely doing most of their shopping online, so he will never see them.  I'm not too many years from retirement and I have been shopping online solid for the past 12+ years.

I said "straw-men" because it is an argument that is trotted out on almost every time "the hobby is dying" or "shops closing" discussions rear their heads and is based on certain assumptions but is absent salient information.  But as is often the case, as old Paul Harvy used to say, "and now for the rest of the story".  I've found many have another side the argument there are no young people getting into the hobby - many are reporting, contrary to popular arguments, that there indeed are, and are happy to chime in when these discussions occur.  No hard figures.
 
And I see younger people at train shows I go to so they are ambassadors to them, and I do see quite a few actually and buying trains yes.

And as Larry pointed out, the younger generation is much more living online than older, who also live online yes.  And, buying online.  My wife, who is from England, just a few years before I met her, had never used a computer, didn't have a credit card, never used a dish washer or even driven a car.  Now she is on Facebook getting all the latest info on whatever, finds super cheap deals online and does her grocery shopping online and just drives over and has it loaded into the car.

The point is, we live, in many ways, a very different world.  The old LHS is truly a dinosaur.  Yes, many older and a few not so older folks, have fond feelings about the LHS, but like many brick and mortar businesses, they are largely going the way of the do do.
 
Every time a hobby shop closes and forum topics are started, it almost always is followed by a long discussion, and here we are again, hashing it out.  It's ok to disagree and it may be academic in the end.  One thing is for sure, in todays world, online buying is major and seems to be a must for a successful business.
 
Anyway, we can agree to disagree.  I just wanted to comment that I'm aware of some trends in the hobby that seem to be something the owner of that shop apparently unaware of, or has dismissed, but is part of the picture.  The formulat of sales he has been relying on is, from his perspective, no longer working.  And he is apparently ready to retire anyway.  I can say, I've never found any romance in the notion, even back before online sales were major, of standing behind a counter and hoping shoppers would buy lots of stuff.  Having been going to hobby shops since I was a teen in the mid-1970's, and I've been to many many shops since all over the country, I have had a sober view of something I never had any romance for.  I've watched countless shops close, but in the past ten years, nearly all are due to the owners aging out and being the sole owner, the conclusion is predictable.
 
We'll have these discussions many times more.  Maybe I'll just copy/past into them the same ol same ol ... as these are usually boiler plate discussions anymore.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, February 15, 2020 10:26 AM

Things are not changing as fast as people think in the hobby world. Their are more hobbiest than ever but as a percentage, they are less. What we really see with a lot of closings is that people are no longer willing to put up with things they used to have to. It is not just the rude owners but the lack of selection and the cost involved in running a brick and morter. Also lets face it, rents have gone up and employee costs are going through the roof. Out here min wage is becoming $15, so by the time you add everything up (ss, workmans comp ect.) your cost is $22 per employee at min. wage. Another thing is that most of the trains we buy are more durable than cars, every manufacture is compeating not just with other in the buisness but defunk companys too and with alot of their own stuff too becuse a vast amount of hobbiest gather stuff, be it buildings or rolling stock. I used to have 500 peices of rolling stock, more than I ever needed for even my former layout. Now I am down to 200 or less, those other 300 went back on the market though e-bay and I am just downsizing  and 80% of that was second hand to begin with.

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Posted by selector on Saturday, February 15, 2020 12:13 PM

There is a substantial distinction between a 'straw man' argument and what is more properly known as a 'red herring'. Big Smile

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Posted by davidmurray on Saturday, February 15, 2020 12:49 PM

Twenty plus years ago I had a vendor at a train show point out that he did not make alot on sales to experienced modellers looking for detail parts  (which he carried) but rather by selling to guys building there first of secong layout, buying cork track turnouts and multiple peices of rolling stock.

I believe he is right.  Encourage new/young people to join your club.

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, February 15, 2020 2:35 PM

I should just stay out of these types of threads, hobby dying, kids aren't interested, stores vs online, etc.,etc., etc.

I listened to the news interview.  Only a couple of post down, entered the cell phone thing.  I did NOT hear the shop owner say anything about cell phones.

Why do a certain few think that we NEED to get young people involved in OUR hobby?  I just don't get it.

I've had a lot of intereaction with people that are my son and daughter's age, millennials.  The very few times that model railroading even comes into the conversation is "Yea, my dad/grandpa/uncle/cousin/friends dad/friends grandpa/friends uncle/friends cousin/girl friends dad, uncle,grandpa, etc., etc., you get it, no need to go any farther, had a train setup in their basement, etc., etc.  And then, end of conversation on trains.

To me it's no different that a child following in the footsteps of dad or mom in their decision of a personal career.

Quit thinking it's our duty to engage young people into model railroading.  Instead, help them make the right life choices to keep them going in a forward direction and be proud productive members of society, and good parents.

If ther're interested in trains, they will find you.

And as far as shops closing, yea, well, so what?  It's the owner's right to do what he thinks is best for him and his family.  Shops, stores, and retail establishments have been opening and closing forever, and will continue to do so.

Mike.

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Posted by C and O Productions on Saturday, February 15, 2020 3:39 PM

It's so sad to see a hobby store close. You have to buy trains online or find another store. Buying online isn't the same as going to a store and getting to test a model before you buy it

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Saturday, February 15, 2020 5:24 PM

It´s one of the tragedies of life that young folks are inclined to save the world, while we older folks try to save our children/grandchildren by wanting them to do what we do or did. Never works out on both accounts.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by emdmike on Saturday, February 15, 2020 5:40 PM

Just as everything in life evolves, so do our hobbies, whether we like it or not.  The coming of electric cars/trucks and such.  Many will go kicking and screaming they dont want them, but they are coming, like it or not.  The hobby shops of tomorrow will have both online and store fronts, atleast for a few more years with totally online in the future most likely.  Just looking at the tons of vacant malls, once the domain of the shoppers and the American teens looking for places to hang out, especially in colder climates.  With so many working more than one job, or loads of hours at work, its easier to point/click/pay for whatever you might want for your chosen hobbies or most any other aspect of life today.  I myself do this.  But I also stop in at hobby shops and go to model train shows as that is what I grew up with.  I miss the tons of ads in the magazines for brass trains, wanna see that today, check out the online dealers and ebay.  Its just the way it is and that is not going away, no matter how much we whine and complain about it.  I prefer to look at the positives we have today, huge and I mean really huge selection of models both new and used, at the click of your mouse or tap of your tablets screen.  Go back to the mid 1960s and look how limited the selection was, how poor the detail was unless you could afford brass, or had the time/patience to add lots of detail to the simple diecast models of the era.   Now we have plastic and diecast models that rival the brass models if not surpassing many of them.  I to miss the shops that are gone, the ones I used to frequent on many occasions.  I will cherish those memories of what was, and look forward to what will be.  We, as the elders in the hobby, need to stress the positives to the new members or prospective modelers.  Stressing the ease of finding what they need from all the different sources.  Way to much bemoaning the state of the hobby, this would be an instant turn off to me if I was just starting my journey in model railroading.  Now lets go enjoy some trains!       Mike

Silly NT's, I have Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted by PRR8259 on Saturday, February 15, 2020 8:29 PM

deleted...questionable value added.

John

 

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, February 16, 2020 5:11 AM

I have to make this observation about the demise of the local hobby shop.

As a kid, I had two American Flyer trains that my parents bought for me as Christmas presents. As everyone knows, back in the late 40s and early 50s, electric toy trains were all the rage for young boys, thanks mainly to their parents. Hobby shops were all over the place, the candy store of choice for a pre-adolescent male.

As a teenager and later as an adult, I put those toy trains aside for other endeavors, but the passion for model railroad stayed with me and I started up in HO scale in 2004, just a few years before my retirement. In retrospect, I got into scale modeling just before the collapse of the LHS. I had three shops within a 15 minute drive of my house, and the owners and staff taught me everything that I needed to know about the hobby before all three shops closed in 2008-2009.

For today's kids, without model railroading being all the rage, without parents buying their sons train sets for Christmas, and without the presence of a local hobby shop to dazzle their eyes, I don't know how kids today and tomorrow will develop the passion for model railroading that we did as kids. I just don't know.

Rich

Alton Junction

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