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Old Mar 01, 2005, 04:12 PM
blucor basher's Avatar
United States, PA, Lancaster
Joined Jun 2003
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3D Hobby Shop

I've been thinking about opening a Hobby Shop for a long time. It looks like it will finally happen. I don't expect to get rich, but I do expect to have some fun. I'm willing to do this because I think 3D and flat foam are revitalizing this hobby and will continue to. So, the idea here is to provide support primarily for 3d'ers. Let's talk about what the ultimate 3D hobby shop would feature. I know that "low prices" will be the first answer, but we can skip that. I'll do what I can. What else? Practically, for the sake of purchasing and inventory, I have to pick some product lines and stick with them. TP packs, for instance, is a decision already made by practical neccessity. If you could design your dream hobby shop, what would it be?
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 04:45 PM
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Nacogdoches, Texas
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I personally think a key to any successful hobby shop is having a knowledgible staff who is willing to help people, especially people who are new to the sport. For me, this is a key part of choosing a hobby shop to go to, not price. Granted, price does become a factor after a certian point, but I would rather pay a few bucks more to a place that is friendly, knowledgable, and is willing to help me out.
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 04:56 PM
blucor basher's Avatar
United States, PA, Lancaster
Joined Jun 2003
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Agreed. I *think* I can do that.

Here's a side question: What is the progression of aircraft you would suggest to get a newbie flying 3D? I know what I did, but it probably wasn't optimum, in fact, I'm certain that flying right-stick-only for several months has kept me from progressing in rudder maneuvers.
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 05:07 PM
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I think that these are a few things for a *perfect* hobby shop. Of course, this may be impossible, but it would be desirable.

1. Knowledgable staff (already mentioned)

2. Excellent options and advice for beginners

3. Combo packages
A. Plane sets (plane, motor, esc, rx, connectors, battery,prop, servos)
B. All-inclusive beginner packs (including tx, charger, power supply)

4. Above all, pleasant, reliable service

And don't overcharge for S&H...]

Just my two cents
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 05:13 PM
blucor basher's Avatar
United States, PA, Lancaster
Joined Jun 2003
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Name a couple of dream combos. I'l honestly try to put them together.
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 05:23 PM
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United States, AL, Fort Payne
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I think it would be nice to know which aircraft your motor, ESC, servo setup would work well with when you make your first equipment purchase. Maybe a chart, or models on display. Let's see (for example), if I buy a AXI 2208/34, PHX 10, HS 55's I can start with this model, then move to this model or maybe this one. One thing that drove me crazy when I first got started in electrics was having to figure out, on my own, (no help from a hobby shop) what equipment to purchase that could be moved to another model, I actually liked. Also free simulator time for customers on site would be cool. Even if it took more than one sim. computer. Maybe a couple of small private rooms with simulators. Good Luck!
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 05:26 PM
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Moore, Oklahoma
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Foamtana, Raven, T-Raven, Judge, all set up with axi 2212/26 your choice of phx 10a or phx 25 for outdoor, 3-4 pico servos GWS 4ch micro reciever, Axi motor mount. and 10x4.7 prop. TP 860,730, and the Kokam 640 3 cells . Balistic setups for indoor and outdoor. Shockys, custom CDR or Go brushless, 21 turn wye is a nice setup. phx10 3 pico servos, Gws Micro 4ch and a Kokam 20c 640 3 cell or for really light weight kokam 340 3 cell. I have many more but would take forever. Ill keep them comming. Thanks Chris
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 06:34 PM
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Joined Mar 2005
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Good customer service, a hobby shop is ntohign without it's customers and you wanna keep them there right? And on-line ordering with a nice good up to date website. International shipping. And a good selection.
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 06:44 PM
Spudboy
El Segundo, CA
Joined Nov 2004
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Don't forget a website and mail order with secure on line payment.
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 07:01 PM
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Take a look at the ParkFlyerMotors and Allerc web sites. I have ordered from both and found them to be superb in all the the important categories: selection, price, easy to use web site, quick response to email, fast ship, free shipping, etc. I've not had any problems with them in any way, but I would expect they would be excellent in resolving those problems if I did. I especially like Allerc. In addition, there are many other good online suppliers, like: Aeromicro, Aircraft World, Mountain Models, Stevens Aero, SoaringUSA. There are also several big guys, like Hobby Lobby and NE Sailplanes who offer full product lines, but maybe not quite the price and service levels of some of the smaller guys.

Personally, I wouldn't want to compete against these guys without some sort of edge, because I don't think you will be able to do better than them in any of the areas I mentioned. The only edge I can think of is to have your own line of planes that no one else carries. Then when someone comes to you for a plane, they will also be likely to buy the other things they need from you, assuming you have stock and are price competitive. A strategy of "There's always room for one more company in this industy." is not likely to be very successful.

Assuming you do everything right, it also takes time to build up a customer base. I would guess that current RCers are pretty loyal to some of these existing companies who have treated them right. And keep in mind that a large part of the on line Hobby Shop business is just putting stuff in boxes and shipping it. Is that really something you want to do?

Hope these ideas are of assisance.
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 07:08 PM
Boss248
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I have been in working in our LHS for some 12 yrs. now and would be glad to talk to you about any questions you might have. As far as what makes a good hobby shop is having money enough to stock everything that people want and not having to say.."We Can Order it for You"..hard to do and can be expensive. If you don't care about making a living off the hobby shop and you have other moneys to live on then it can be fun...

Boss
Old Mar 01, 2005, 07:42 PM
blucor basher's Avatar
United States, PA, Lancaster
Joined Jun 2003
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Great, great info, guys! Thank you thank you!

Some background: I've done this before, in a different industry. We went up against the big players on the basis of militant customer service and 100% in stock status, combined w/ good advice. It worked for us. I think it can work again.

Please, keep the advice coming!
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 07:56 PM
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A friend of mine has an online hobby shop. One of his complaints is that you have to keep inventory on hand. At the same time, the industry is changing rapidly and the inventory can quicly become overpriced or technologically out of date (which means you have to sell it cheap and at a loss to get rid of it). For example, Hobby Lobby just dropped their prices on AXI motors (sold direc to end users) with just two weeks notice to all the online hobby shops. They couldn't unload their high priced stock fast enough and ended up selling it at a loss. Also, look at LiPo battery improvements, the compeition from the new low priced Hacker and E-flite motors, etc. Inventory can be a blessing and a curse, in addition to the carrying cost.
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Old Mar 01, 2005, 08:32 PM
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Companys like HL can affect your cash flow bigtime (not to bash HL, great service) except for the UHU Por I have been waiting on for 3 months but that's the manfacturer's fault in this case. Also distributors can raise your minimum order amount drastically, that could be a problem. I have heard the biggest problem is supply vs demand. Everyone gets fired up about the same products, then hobby shops start ordering a lot of the same product from distributors, you might order 300 and get 10, then when you recieve the other 290 things have changed and people are more interested in a new product, but at times the distributors do a great job keeping up with demand. Also, when a new product is introduced, lets say a newer version of a speed control that the distributor also sells direct to the consumer, "some" companies will put the older version on sell but you the dealer are not allowed to purchase this item at the sale price, that is not fair IMHO. I would be careful and watch the market closely. Try to get a feel for products that are going to be popular before they are (if that is possible).
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Last edited by jbj620; Mar 01, 2005 at 08:40 PM.
Old Mar 01, 2005, 09:08 PM
JOX
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FL.
Joined Apr 2004
152 Posts
3d shop

BB, I think it will be a hard road but great fun if you can do it. Think about specialty stuff you come up with and are the best at, such as selling templates for painting made out of better material than poster board (so they last) , a video showing the process, how you build a plane, diferent setups you or friends have tried and how they work, sell those(ie the foamies you made for example w/wout motor esc servos etc you have found to work. post vids on your website of various combos using the best pilot flying you can find using different setups and how each affects various things such as flight time , speed , pullout etc.,etc. give a guy who is inexperienced or experienced new ideas and as much experience as you can cram into a vid and on your website. Answer all e-mails ASAP,and post when you are on vacation etc so people who are giving you their money know what's up and will bear with you. Just a few ideas here for you!
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