Hobby Shop going under.

Discussion in 'Modeling' started by Aaron Brooks Wolters, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if this is the proper place to post this, if not I'll get one of the Mods to move it. Internet Hobbies sent me this E-mail and apparently everyone is feeling the crunch. I know we all have our favorite shops to order from, but if you each could order a kit if it is a worthwhile purchase from this group, just maybe we can help keep them in business. I know if you're like me you don't have the funds at the moment. I am just passing this along to try and help keep this fun hobby going.


    This is an email that I hoped and prayed that I would never have to send.

    For the longest time, especially after we re-introduced the weekend sales a few months ago, we have been struggling to stay in business. We thought that by offering our customers an unbelievable deal on the weekends, they would really step up to the plate and purchase huge dollar amounts. After all, if you're getting a deal where your price is very close or at wholesale we would have hoped you would have taken this opportunity to purchase more of what you really wanted. The whole idea was to generate cash flow that would help us survive the downturn in business created by these sales during the week until the next sale. Unfortunately, the weekend sales never generated the cash flow that we counted on.

    The hard truth is that selling anything and making little or no profit is a formula for disaster. Each business must generate enough operating profit to be able to pay for their cost of overhead. We recently tried to stem the hemorrhaging by introducing our Internet Hobbies Savings Club but it now appears, by the dramatic drop in business, that our customers are not interested in participating in the program as much as we had hoped.

    This has brought us to a point that unless we are able to regain our customer's loyalty, we will perish as a company. My wife and I have invested thousands of dollars from our savings and whatever else we could afford to keep our business afloat but the well is now running dry. Many of you may think that Internet Hobbies is a large organization. We are a small business that has served the hobbyist for going on 18 years. The truth is, there are only four people still working here part time. We have had to lay off most of our full time employees because of diminished sales. I would love to be able to re-hire these talented people but unless sales increase they will remain unemployed.

    Our plight probably means little or nothing to some of you but I still believe we have many friends that care about Internet Hobbies. I want to thank those customers that have supported us with your continued loyalty and we would appreciate anything you could do to help. We really could use a big bump in our sales this weekend.




    Sincerely,

    Dale Bruner, Managing Partner
    Internet Hobbies, LLC
     
  2. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    #2 N4521U, Mar 4, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
    My LHS has been locked out of his store.

    ***
    When you think about it tho.........
    How many manufacturers?
    How many different kits?
    How many scales?
    How many of each?
    Accessories?

    What would your initial inventory be like? How many kits can your customer base build in a year even? We build 3-4 for GB's in a year? One has to remember only 1/3 of all the kits sold, Ever get built. It's oso obvious if you belong to a club, like IPMS, that has monthly auctions, raffles, members selling kits to confirm this. They could Never build everything they buy.

    Now how could a small LHS ever survive on these statistics? Even if they do go internet. How much profit can a shop generate from a tube of glue every 6 months, maybe 4-5 bottles of paint for the current build? And then have them for the next 3-4 builds cuz the camo paint ain't that much different.

    Tuff call going into the business.
     
  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    It's a darned shame to see an established business go under. But then, as Bill correctly pointed out, the investments to return in a model/hobby retail business are huge, and that's before overheads/fixed costs are included.
    As with much of the retail business, escalating property rents (often translated as greed!), local authority rates, and the dramatically rising costs of the product(s) have had a large negative impact. Just look at the prices of some kits these days, and worse, those kits which have been around for many years, but the price is equal to 'modern' kits. It's only supposition on my part, but the very large price increases (of kits) over the last four or five years may well be to account for lower sales, as the young, 'pocket money' market turns to anything but creative hobbies - mostly those involving the use of a couple of fingers on a keyboard or hand-control, and not much creative thought, skill or brain power.
    This will, and does have, an impact on what the keen modeller will buy, as high prices certainly deter many, including me.
    There's no quick answer, but if other companies took a leaf out of Revell's book, and priced their kits more realistically, perhaps more would sell overall, and smaller businesses might have a bit more of an already slim chance.
     
  4. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Its the way of the world.

    I don't know about where you chaps are at, but around here the only bookstore for miles around is Barnes and Noble. Nothing else. You can't rent any DVDs unless they are new releases - no more Blockbuster or Hollywood Videos. And I live very near a major metro area - Philly. There are some markets that are simply disappearing.
     
  5. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I hope it doesn't affect bacon shops ............................
     
  7. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Don't....just don't, even go there!!
    ....or I'll hand out your address and phone number to all the Hippocroccofrogs in your area!
     
  8. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Aw c'mon...there's no, I repeat NO, chance of bacon ever becoming a decreasing market.

    I'll see your Hippocroccofrog and raise you a Kangarillapig!
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The sad fact of the matter is that the local (insert specialty here) shop is a thing of the past.

    When I was a kid, there was a local shop for everything:
    Hobby shop (broken into even more specific interest)
    * model (plastic/balsa/cast metal)
    * electronic/ameteur radio
    * hi-performance auto
    * leather/art
    TV repair shop
    Butcher shop
    Scouting supply (boy scouts/girl scouts/school athletics)
    Trophy shop
    Shoe repair shop

    and the list goes on...

    Besides, when was the last time you went to a neighborhood filling station (gas/petrol) and had your windows washed, oil checked and gasoline put in by an attendant (let alone checked with the mechanic about a weird noise under the hood)?
     
  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Its against the law to pump your own gas in New Jersey! :) Just ask B-17 Engineer or Toughombre!
     
  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Same in Oregon, too...

    But it's not the same as it was back in the 50's, 60's and so on :(
     
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  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Jan would have problems then - he's an expert at pumping his own gas. Just sayin'...................
     
  13. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    Bacon???????????? this is about hobby shops!

    When I was a kid in Oakland CA there were three within bicycle range, this was in the 50's. In the 60' and early 70's there was a grocery store sized one in the East Bay area that had Everything from plastic to balsa to dolls and trains. There was another small one in San Lorenzo that specialized in trains but had plastic kits as well and another in Hayward. I do remember when Hayward closed in the 80's, sure were some deals. Some drug store chains carried small lots of kits in the 90's. Sure ain't like this any more.
     
  14. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    #14 Aaron Brooks Wolters, Mar 4, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
    I never had a LHS close by, but always went into town to BenFranklins to get my models. Didn't have a great selection but it kept me busy. A aircraft buddy would take me to Newport News to the hobby shop there and I would look for hours. To many models. Not enough funds.:lol: But I always came home with something great.
     
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  15. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Sad state of affairs....:(
     
  16. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Fingers crossed that they'll sail through!
     
  17. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I hope they do too, but it's looking very dubious, unfortunately. I try to use my LHS almost weekly, even if it's just to get paint, or order some materials, as every little contribution will hopefully keep it going. Happily, it seems to be surviving and running ok, judging by the stock turnover and footfall, and i hope it continues to do do.
     
  18. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    My first model came from a Rexall drug store, but many of the later came from a "Ben Franklin 5 and 10" store. They had one side of an entire aisle devoted to models! I spent many hours there dreaming and planning.
     
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  19. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Mine came from a BX on Grissom Air Force Base. When we moved to SC the LHS was ran by an older gentleman who always smoked a pipe. To this day when I smell cherry pipe tobacco I flash back to that time.
     
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  20. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    The closest shop that sells modelling supplies is a 4 hour round trip and the supplies are very limited as they cater mostly to the RC crowd(I've done the trip in 4½ hours for 3 bottles of Tamiya paint). Now that the Canadian dollar is losing ground to the U.S. dollar, it's starting to get sketchy ordering out of the U.S. and don't get me started on the shipping costs. Ours, I think, is a slowly dying hobby and the biggest mail order companies around the world will devour the Mom and Pop's.

    Geo
     
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