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Hobby shop closing.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, February 20, 2020 4:05 AM

xboxtravis7992
At the end of the day though back to using the original post, blaming a hobby store closing on "young folks" is failing to see the forest through the trees. Both a disservice to the many Millennial/Gen-Y and Gen-Z model railroaders in the hobby.

Very true..On line shopping is cheaper, faster and easier.

Sure I miss the Saturday morning trips to the LHS but, the old ways gave way to modernization. Instead of old fashion Saturday morning meetings in our LHS to share our modeling ideas and accomplishments we now meet on forums or join a special interest group on Face Book..

As far as walk in shops I don't see that many gamers flooding Gamestop looking for the newest game. 

Larry

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, February 20, 2020 12:35 AM

rrebell
Wish I could say that about my kids but then I was a workaholic when it paid

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The girls all took different pathways. 

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My oldest daughter (an elder-millenial), and her husband started a roofing business and worked their butts off for 15 years. 7 days a week, all year long. They sold the business last year for millions, and decided to do the Sheldon thing. They bought a 1905 Queen Anne Victorian in Northern Illinois and plan to spend five years restoring it. Then, they plan to begin a small home rennovation business.

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My middle daughter is a software engineer living in Seattle working for a giant internet based corporation. She is killing it in the professional world. We all probably use code she wrote every day.

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My baby is a model/actress living in Los Angeles with her Record Producer fiance. They are both making serious money and living a dream fantasy. I did everything I could to talk them out of moving to LA to chase this silly dream. I am glad they didn't listen to me. She is also a nationally ranked League Of Legends player and has competed professionally twice. She hopes to get on a sponsored team this year and make this a real thing.

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I just worked hard my whole life and saved a bunch of my money and lived a modest lifestyle. They all decided to go for it in a big way.

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When they were growing up I used to tell them "Always bet on yourself, then fix the game". I guess they listened to that. My other saying was "Rules never apply to us, so just break them". They listened to that one too.

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-Kevin

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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.

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, February 20, 2020 12:08 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
xboxtravis7992
the financial advice that worked for the Baby Boomers and even older Gen-X'rs didn't hold true for the next generations.

 

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You hit the nail on the head with that one. My children are all doing great, better than me. They have accomplished all this by NOT doing what worked for me and my father. They seem to have an understanding of the new economy that escapes me.

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-Kevin

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Wish I could say that about my kids but then I was a workaholic when it paid (retired the first time at 29). Still if you are willing to do what I did, you can still make it without an expencive education, just harder these days and I must say having gone to college that the networking you do there is far more important than what I was taught!

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Posted by Eilif on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 5:33 PM

xboxtravis7992

 

 
 You also mentioned you are on the older end of the Millennial generation/maybe late Gen-X. I dunno it gets fuzzy there, but the point is you made it clear; you are married, have a house of your own and work a proffessional career. I agree with you 100%, at that age you have every right to live your life without giving a hoot what your parents think about your finances and taking their advice. 

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

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Posted by Eilif on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 5:19 PM

richhotrain
 
xboxtravis7992
At the end of the day though back to using the original post, blaming a hobby store closing on "young folks" is failing to see the forest through the trees.

"Blaming" a hobby store closing on young folks? Or, "acquiescing" to the reality of the situation? Has anyone read the brief article that was linked in the original post?

Rich  

I read the article.  "Younger Kids" not being as into railroading might be a trend, but that doesn't mean that they are at fault for the closing of hobby stores.

I think what is arguble is whether many fewer people are actually entering and participating in the hobby or whether it just seems that way to Brick and Mortar Shopkeepers because folks are doing more of their shopping online.

In the article, the proprietor does mention competition with Online Retailers.  So apparently he was aware of their effect on his business.  

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

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 4:23 PM

xboxtravis7992
At the end of the day though back to using the original post, blaming a hobby store closing on "young folks" is failing to see the forest through the trees.

"Blaming" a hobby store closing on young folks? Or, "acquiescing" to the reality of the situation? Has anyone read the brief article that was linked in the original post?

Rich  

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 4:01 PM

xboxtravis7992
the financial advice that worked for the Baby Boomers and even older Gen-X'rs didn't hold true for the next generations.

.

You hit the nail on the head with that one. My children are all doing great, better than me. They have accomplished all this by NOT doing what worked for me and my father. They seem to have an understanding of the new economy that escapes me.

.

-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.

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Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 3:47 PM

Eilif

I've no idea.  It hasn't come up as neither myself nor my folks are given to making sweeping "way-off" generalizations about other generations.  

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Posted by Eilif on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 1:38 PM

Tinplate Toddler

 

 

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 8:12 AM

Eilif
I thing these threads would be more informative and nuanced if older folks stuck to describing their own generation's situation and buying habits and -instead of offering their opinions and derrogatory assumptions- asked folks from other generations to describe their own financial situation and buying habits.

Just a simple question - do you talk like this to your parents as well? I think your comment is way off! Btw, the word derogatory is spelled with one "r".

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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Posted by Eilif on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 7:53 AM

I think these threads would be more informative and nuanced if folks stuck to describing their own generation's situation and buying habits and -instead of offering their opinions and derogatory assumptions- asked those from other generations  to describe their own financial situation and buying habits.

Just to toss my experience into the ring.  I'm getting near 40 generation "Y".  My wife and I have a good income (thanks to her advanced degree) a house and are able to save adequately for retirement. However, despite that income we're still hamstrung by the mortgage-sized student loans that degree required leading to less disposable income, one car instead of 2, inability to save for our kid's college and general thriftyness.  Many of my friends are in similar situations.  Our income looks bigger than our actual situation and our buying habits are thus tempered.

What this has to do with hobby stores is that the shops that get my $ are the ones that deal in used and affordable NOS product.  Here around the west wide of Chicag We have Zientek which has tons of affordable NOS.  Also "Berwyns" a local shop (specializing in O) that grew their used HO selection a bit and now gets periodic purchases from me.  I've spoken to a couple hobby shop owners who confirm that there is an increased desire for used product, though I don't know how that breaks down age-wise.  

Likewise quite a few owners have said they are doing an increasing amount of online business.  There's a place in the burbs called "Oakridge" that used to be a huge hobby store and has since shrunk down to a modest shop (still nice to visit) and is selling mostly online.  Reportedly they are doing well, but they had to take the intiative to downsize their physical footprint.

I could buy far fewer items and peroidically purhcase a new, high-accuracy car but a similiar state-of-the-art Loco would be a major purchase. Sticking with the affordable range of buying lets me build a good collection and do so while remaining financially responsible. 

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

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Posted by PRR8259 on Monday, February 17, 2020 10:36 AM

I have a 13 year old son who now wants to become an engineer (not the train driver kind) who is fascinated with big powerful machines from SD90MAC-H ( he has two of the Genesis 2.0) to DDA40X to big articulated monsters of steam (he has one 4-6-6-4 so far).

John

So much for having dieselized and left steam to the history books...now going back the other way...

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, February 17, 2020 10:06 AM

I do remember when I was a kid and I was the only one who liked trains that I knew of and I grew up south of San Francisco. Model trains has never been a major thing for kids, except at x-mas. It was expencive and who could afford it as a kid without the support of a parent or other.  It died for me way back in the 60's, just couldnt get N scale to work well. Then in the 80's I had money and was bored and wife got me back into it. By now the N scale stuff was pretty good.

I soon switched over into HO, almost went On30 later (wife likes large trains) but there are always space issues.

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, February 16, 2020 7:07 AM

One nice thing at yesterday's train show in Lincoln, NE.  There were lots of kids.  The show had trains the kids could ride on, and the layouts had some steps for kids to see the trains running.  12 and under got in free.

Another layout had a checklist for younger children to spot different items.

The best looks from kids was one layout with a Godzilla with a derailed train, holding a train car in its front paws.  The little ones were excited, smiling, and looked at everything with big eyes.

Attendance at a train show like that may inspire the hobby for some younger people.

John  --  Saints Fan  

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, February 16, 2020 5:32 AM

Shame, another hobby shop I will never get to visit.

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-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.

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Sunday, February 16, 2020 5:18 AM

richhotrain
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.

Add hardly ever seeing a train or riding in one to that list.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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

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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

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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 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

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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 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 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 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.

 

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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 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 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.

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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 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 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

 

 

 

 

Alton Junction

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