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Old Nov 09, 2008, 06:49 AM
Promoting Model Aviation...
Murocflyer's Avatar
United States, CA, Tehachapi
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R/C Stores Gone By the Wayside

This thread has got me wondering. How many LHS or online stores have you seen go under?

I know of:

LittleBirdz (kitter of some fine airplanes)

NastyToes Aviation (made foam parts for airplanes)

LHS called Stream Hobbies in my area.

I'm sure I can recall some more. It's sad to see.

Anyone esle know of some others?

Frank
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Old Nov 09, 2008, 11:08 AM
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Usta Bee's Avatar
Joined Jul 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murocflyer
How many LHS or online stores have you seen go under?


Titanic Hobbies

Lou Sitania's Hobby Shop

Monitor and Merry Mac's Model Emporium


With the current financial situation all of the had trouble staying afloat. The guys who owned the stores all deep sixed the idea of staying in business any longer and had to go back to their regular 9-5 jobs. All that remains is the faces and the names of the wives, and the sons, and the daughters.
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Old Nov 09, 2008, 11:29 AM
turn, turn, turn.
Athol, Massachusetts
Joined Oct 2005
10,405 Posts
Leisure Time Hobbies...( Keene, NH.), went out of business 2 years ago.

Henrys' Hobbies....(West Boylston, MA.), burned down earlier this year.

HobbyTown USA.... (Bellingham, Ma.), went out of business 1 1/2 years ago.

Actually, one Hobby Shop opened in Springfield, Ma. just over a year ago I think...Pioneer Hobby.

There are still 2 of them open that I still frequent...they are:

Hog Heaven in Sturbridge, Ma.
and
RC Warehouse in Nashua, NH.

One other thing....the better I get, the less I need the LHSs.
I mostly order from cottage vendors and large importers.
The LHS just can't carry the specialized and high performance stuff that I enjoy....There is not enough local demand.

The LHS can, however, supply some of the day to day supplies that I need, as well as having a nice supply of ARFs and RTFs that I sometimes buy.

I would not like to be without a LHS.
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Old Nov 09, 2008, 11:41 AM
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United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jun 2000
14,589 Posts
The DFW area is doing OK, hobby shop wise. No significant hobby shop losses yet, but one or two are feeling some pain. We did lose a marginal Hobbytown USA a year ago, but it was not much of an RC shop to begin with. Our main LHS, Roy's Hobby Shop in Bedford is doing pretty well, actually.

LHS's have been dying steadily over the years, before the current economic woes. I travel a good bit for work and it was more common than not for a LHS that I had visited in the past in places like Dayton, Ohio, Springfield, VA, Atlanta, GA and elsewhere to not be there any more when I traveled there again.

I had actually been to Stream Hobbies in Va a few years back and they looked a little weak back then.

I buy from all sources, some on line, some local, some not local retailers when I travel and from individuals and from swap meets as well.
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Old Nov 09, 2008, 01:33 PM
Will fly for food
Maryland
Joined Sep 2004
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LHSs have been dying even before mail order and Internet. Small businesses fail. Most fail within 2 years, few make it past 5 years.

But mail order, and later Internet, didn't help matters.

Small local shop has higher overhead than mail/online only, can't stock as much, has lower volume.

So, if you have a good one near you, SUPPORT it, even if things cost a little more. Or you will lose it.
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Old Nov 09, 2008, 05:14 PM
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USA, CA, San Diego
Joined Mar 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkens4
One other thing....the better I get, the less I need the LHSs.
I mostly order from cottage vendors and large importers.
The LHS just can't carry the specialized and high performance stuff that I enjoy....There is not enough local demand.

The LHS can, however, supply some of the day to day supplies that I need, as well as having a nice supply of ARFs and RTFs that I sometimes buy.

I would not like to be without a LHS.
Even for the more specialized things, you could probably go to your LHS, unless it's something custom. Most LHS can special order stuff. They may tack on a little to the cost, but at least you would be supporting them and helping keep the shop open.

Andy
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Old Nov 09, 2008, 08:23 PM
turn, turn, turn.
Athol, Massachusetts
Joined Oct 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajreynolds
Even for the more specialized things, you could probably go to your LHS, unless it's something custom. Most LHS can special order stuff. They may tack on a little to the cost, but at least you would be supporting them and helping keep the shop open.

Andy
I doubt it....but maybe.

The last 3 planes I've bought have been a Topaz S RES, a Apogee Elite DLG, and a Falken DLG.....All this year. I forgot to mention a winch as well.

I am looking to the future to buy, an SBXC for cross country, a Shadow for TD, and a Radian or Easy Glider for my sons' 9 yr. old birthday.


Last time in the LHS ( 3 weeks ago). I asked about the Radian and Easy Glider.
They don't carry Multiplex stuff, (forget the EG). and the Radian is special order from Horizon Hobby, and they will all be shipped out west before the east gets any....at least that's what they said.

Shoping at my LHS is no easy task.
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Old Nov 10, 2008, 07:38 AM
RIP Ric
Andy W's Avatar
Marietta, GA
Joined Jun 1999
43,312 Posts
Do it right, or don't do it at all.
Atlanta Hobby does it right.
..a
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Old Nov 10, 2008, 07:46 AM
dusty bible = dirty life
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Oklahoma City OK USA Where fakts still exist even if they are ignored
Joined Aug 2000
2,780 Posts
In the Oklahoma City area, the last R/C flying shops we lost were over 10 years ago. Of the 3 major shops, two of them have been open for over 25 years the third is about 10 years old, all of them are doing pretty well. Mike's Models, Hobbies and RC, and the Realm of Hobbies. We also have 1 rc car shop that's doing great.

The two shops we lost were due to one owner dying in a light plane crash and his wife had too many memories of him in the shop to go on. The other, campbels just retired out of the business due to old age. I'd heard he's been running an on-line indoor rubber supply house out of his home for 8 years or so.

Wow, I'm shock how fast time flys around here.
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Old Nov 10, 2008, 08:17 AM
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Hampton Virginia
Joined Feb 2005
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murocflyer,
I miss Stream Hobby also Rusty was a great guy to deal with. Only other place to go on this side of the water is Hobby Town, but I've never really liked that place for some reason. They seem to carry a lot of their own brands. Closest place to go now but worth the trip is Debbie's, Great Store but, still a 35-40 minute drive if the traffic is not bad.
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Old Nov 10, 2008, 08:18 AM
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Crossville, TN
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Time is like that everywhere, Major !
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Old Nov 10, 2008, 09:29 AM
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United States, CA, Garden Grove
Joined Oct 2000
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Great and not so great hobby shops have been closing in socal for years, first due to urban sprawl, no model flying signs in school yards and parks, loss of flying official flying sites and reduction in Aerospace and Auto industry support for modelling/technical hobbies. Then came the internet with cheaper online prices and buyer avoidance of state sales tax. I used to see hobby shop employees twiddling their thumbs in boredom waiting for customers. Now the downturn in the economy. We are lucky to have the few left where we can buy props and other expendables. Good idea to buy/order your R/C system and other large items for 10-20 bucks more from your LHS, at least you don't pay too much for shipping, and you help them stay in business. I like hobby shops that can get you what you want in 10 days or less from the local distributor.
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Old Nov 10, 2008, 12:04 PM
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United States, MA, Haverhill
Joined Sep 2008
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My favorite hobby shop growing up is totally out of planes, and just about out of RC altogether. He says the business has always cycled, and right now nobody is buying RC in stores. He's got a ton of RC car and truck stuff, much of it used, and much of it very inexpensive. People just are not biting at the moment. He told me coin sales are basically what's keeping him alive right now, with R/C being at about 15% what it was a few years ago.

I still call him anytime I need anything, but we usually just end up chatting and he gives me alternate ideas on where to find the stuff. Last time I called I needed balsa sticks and carbon rods. He told me of a semi-local lumber yard that sold balsa sticks, and sent me to a sporting goods store for the carbon shafts (from arrows). I stop in sometimes, and have a hard time finding anything I can even use. Last time I was there I bought a couple Deans connectors.

He even knows what I fly now, and what kind of stuff I'm into. It's still not worth it for him to stock anything, even knowing I'll need stuff every now and again. Darn shame.

Another shop less local that I used to frequent 2 moves ago, that has been suggested on this forum, is about out of RC aircraft. Last time I called looking for props the pickings were very slim, they didn't plan on replacing anything, and they told me they were getting out of RC aircraft as it just wasn't selling anymore. They seem to be doing a lot of paintball business lately.

My closest shop that stocks a decent selection is a hobbytown USA that's a hair over an hour away. If I need something in a hurry I call them, and they mail it to me, couple days I have it. There's another smaller guy a little closer, but selection is limited and he's not so eager to hit the post office for me. Too bad, since it's a privately owned shop I'd be more likely to do business with him if he had the motivation hobbytown does to hit the post office to send out small orders. Nice guy, good shop, but the standard reply by phone is "come on down and we'll see what we can make work". Orginazation is hit or miss there too, last time I was there he thought he was out of 9 or 10x4.7 SF props. Someone had put them on the gas powered side of the rack, I found a few and bought him out of them. He didn't know he had to order more until I bought those and verified they were the last of them as well.

So, most of my business ends up w/ hobby-lobby, with some going to hobbytown USA. Both stores have been good to me, but HL takes longer to get me stuff as it's shipping 1/2 way across the country rather than an hour drive. Today I am very hesitantly placing my first hobby city order. Shipping is killer, the wait is forever, and from what I hear customer satisfaction isn't top notch. However, they have a few things I want that I can't seem to find elsewhere, and they're so cheap I ordered some other small stuff while I was at it, since i'm already paying shipping. I sure miss the days of going a couple miles and getting whatever I needed.
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 05:31 AM
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United States, CA, Tehachapi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmacva
murocflyer,
I miss Stream Hobby also Rusty was a great guy to deal with. Only other place to go on this side of the water is Hobby Town, but I've never really liked that place for some reason. They seem to carry a lot of their own brands. Closest place to go now but worth the trip is Debbie's, Great Store but, still a 35-40 minute drive if the traffic is not bad.
I started visiting Stream just before Rusty decided to close it. Rusty had the kind of LHS that folks would want to visit, not like HobbyTown which feels like the Wal-Mart of hobby shops.

Debbie's is a nice place, but just too far for me. Fortunately, my LHS RC Pro Racing is a very good LHS. They don't have a lot in stock, but can order most anything.

Frank
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 08:19 AM
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Central Kentucky
Joined Oct 2006
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My only LHS moved to a larger city 30 miles away. I recently drove the 30 miles there with a list of 20 items. I walked away with 4 of the 20. I was looking for simple things like control horns, wheels, balsa etc.. So much for supporting your LHS.
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