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Old Mar 04, 2009, 03:51 AM
Promoting Model Aviation...
Murocflyer's Avatar
United States, OK, Henryetta
Joined Nov 2005
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Here's another:

Action Hobby just north of Philly

Frank
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Old Mar 04, 2009, 05:05 AM
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rcozstyle's Avatar
gawler, South Australia
Joined Jul 2006
3,672 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by rattyboy
when you buy offline your stuffing up LHS and there family life, where are you going to get the answers about the product, how it works and if it breaks it alot easyer to refund to a hobby shop and even advice on what you should do. if they dont have the thing you want try another shop befoe you look online, they is way to many brands to stock in one shop and the person behid the counter cant keep everyone happy but they are always trying. i have never brought anything offline because i just cant ask question about it, look at, touch and sometimes test it.

i would sugested going for that drive to the LHS before you look online its not that hard to do.

i would not of been where i am today with out the LOCAL HOBBY SHOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi Guys

I totally agree with everything you are saying, however. Here In South Australia it is hard to find a good hobbyshop. I rang my LHS about six months ago to enquire about a XPS parkfler rx, the guy asked me if it was jr of futaba, I said it didnt matter and he insisted that it did. He refused to accept my word and so I hung up and dont go there anymore, by the way I was the manager of that shop for 5 years, so I know I can do his job .

To get to another hobbyshop means I have to travel half way accross Adelaide to get there, when I can order online and anytime without wasting valuable time.

Gary
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Old Mar 04, 2009, 08:28 AM
atlav8r's Avatar
Cumming Ga
Joined Apr 2002
2,921 Posts
Yep, They stiffed us for over $200 in unpaid bills.
No reply to any of our notes or calls.
CW

Quote:
Originally Posted by murocflyer
Here's another:

Action Hobby just north of Philly

Frank
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Old Mar 04, 2009, 10:06 AM
Speed cost money.
highflier's Avatar
United States, FL, Marathon
Joined Dec 2002
3,045 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by atlav8r
Yep, They stiffed us for over $200 in unpaid bills.
No reply to any of our notes or calls.
CW

That is a shame. Marty seemed like a up and up kinda guy

Highflier
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Old Mar 12, 2009, 07:30 PM
Promoting Model Aviation...
Murocflyer's Avatar
United States, OK, Henryetta
Joined Nov 2005
25,315 Posts
And another.

Readytoflyfun.com

Frank
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Old Mar 12, 2009, 07:49 PM
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Challenger 413's Avatar
Dickinson, Tx.
Joined Sep 2004
5,374 Posts
I am not sure if "Pure Hobby" is the correct name, but they had some good prices on older PQ style packs. I was surprised to see (Gone Fishing) when I went to their website awhile back.

Challenger413
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Old Mar 12, 2009, 08:25 PM
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bobbygee's Avatar
Round Rock, Texas
Joined Feb 2004
554 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Parker
Yep. The Austin area just lost another LHS. Round Rock Hobbies just announced their closure last week. They will be missed.

Dewey
Yes, they will. Glenn, the owner, said from the beginning that he wanted it to be a place where folks would feel comfortable just hanging out, even if they weren't there to buy. He wanted it to have that neighborhood feel.

He achieved that, it was a place with good atmosphere, good inventory, good advice from knowledgeable people, but the numbers just didn't add up to let him stay in business.

BobbyG
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Old Mar 14, 2009, 09:08 AM
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Joined Feb 2009
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Well guys keep supporting your "local internet" shops and you'll see more and more of the local brick and mortar hobby shops in your hometowns go under.
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Old Mar 14, 2009, 10:21 AM
TMO
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Stonington, Ct.
Joined Nov 2001
1,290 Posts
Here are some thoughts from an accountant and LHS guy: Me

Real Estate-
you can't run a successful hobby store if you're paying $15 a foot or more unless you're really really good, or have a monopoly in an active, high density population area. Real estate has crashed, so guys that are locked into long leases at high rates are really victims of that.
Labor-
you have to find retirees and high school kids. It's very hard to have salaried empoyees in this business. Labor costs cannot exceed rent.
Pricing-
you have to price at MAP, and be willing to match any advertised price (except chinese). The days of premium markups are gone, and have been for years. You can put a few buck in your pocket with seasonals, but in reality, the successful LHS has no control over pricing or markup. If 38-42% gross margin before terms doesn't make your numbers work, find another business. And forget about terms. You have to be a cash buyer, take the cash discount and be a hawk for cheap ways to pick up stock.
Ordering-
you have to convince your customer that you will get anything they find from the "Big Two" within 5 days, at the same price they would pay to order it themselves and have it shipped. If you do this, you can pry your customers away from tower and horizon pretty easily. As far as Hobby City, well lets face it, some people will shop price no matter what. That's a bad customer anyway. The ones you want are the ones that understand that you get what you pay for. Luckily HC creates a good supply of people who will never do business with them again
Marketing-
There's nothing wrong with an LHS having an ecommerce site. The reality is that few people with a hobby expertise sufficient to run a store also have computer and internet expertise to match it.
Niche-
You have to have a niche and/or exclusive product. For car guys, that can be a track. For plane and heli guys, that could be an electric only shop that has a deep, quality stock. But it's difficult to be in broadline hobby just by itself.
Attitude-
For some reason, which I've never fully understood, many LHS owners think that they are in business to tell people what's good/right. A good LHS owner lets his customers tell him- and gets it. The expertise issue isn't what people think it is- I think you are there to figure out how to make your customers dream a reality- not talk him out it.
Information-
There's no RC groups for LHS owners. If there were, there would be a dramatic increase in successful startups. Too many come into the field with a preconceived notion about what will sell, who the good distributors are, etc. There is very little in the way of a venue to ask questions. I think too many think that once they get their dealer account open with GP and H, that they're good to go.
Definition of Hobbies-
It's a moving target. Video games are hobbies too. So's skateboarding. Beading and scrapbooking are hobbies. Coin, Card and Stamp collecting. Fly tying. Yeah, sure, there are competitors already in those spaces and the internet too. But hardly anybody does these things alone and the reality is that in each case they will pay to have a venue to meet with others who have a shared interest. I know a local laser tag owner, who decided to have a guitar hero contest in his joint, just for a goof. He filled the place and sold a ton of pizza and snacks. Now he has guitar hero/ rock band nights twice a week. He didn't really realize it, but he wasn't selling "laser tag" at all. Now he realizes he's in the "activity venue" business. He also started buying coin op arcade games. He still has laser tag business, but he's adapted to his customer, and he's doing OK.

I have other thoughts, but those are the biggest ones.
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Old Mar 14, 2009, 11:41 AM
Yeah, it's that important.
xelaxor's Avatar
Keller, Texas
Joined Oct 2008
440 Posts
I see the LHS I go to will be closing soon. I went in there yesterday and the first guy I talked to had no idea what he was talking about. I asked about several planes and he had no idea. The second guy I talked to was impossible to keep a conversation going. I asked about preformance and he just said "good." Several other questions were followed by a simple one answer. Quite dissapointed actually. The whole time I was in there I think 1 person came in. Shows why.
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Old Mar 14, 2009, 02:31 PM
Promoting Model Aviation...
Murocflyer's Avatar
United States, OK, Henryetta
Joined Nov 2005
25,315 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMO
Here are some thoughts from an accountant and LHS guy: Me
Great post! Thanks for sharing. Since you are in the "bizness," what are your thought about folks buying stuff directly from China (United Hobbies/Hobbycity/HobbyKing). Is it really hurting the local guys?

Thanks,

Frank
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Old Mar 14, 2009, 02:40 PM
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crash331's Avatar
Calhoun, GA
Joined Dec 2006
731 Posts
I bought an Electron membership from Atlanta Hobby since I am about 1.5 hours away from them and 1 hour away from any other LHS.

If I need a small part or a price-controlled Horizon part I get free shipping. It does take 3 or 4 days to get it, but that's OK.

I do still order motors, ESCs and batteries from China, though. No one can compete. I can get a motor/esc/bat combo for $70 or so from China, when I would pay that much for the motor alone at a LHS, and end up spending $180 on everything.

I just bought a 3S 2200mah from Hobbycity for $25 and it shipped from the US, got it in 3 days. Even in the used want ads on RCG, people want $60 or so for a battery like that.

I love the idea of LHS and all and good ol' made in the US products, but I'm sorry, I can't just throw away an extra $110 every time I need a power setup. That would be hard to do in a good economy, and damn near stupid right now.
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Old Mar 14, 2009, 03:05 PM
TMO
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Stonington, Ct.
Joined Nov 2001
1,290 Posts
I don't have a problem with it at all. If i depended on selling servos, brushless motors and lipos, I'd be in trouble anyway. I could go into a long answer here, but in a nutshell:

1. My customers are older, more experienced and wiser about value than average. A no questions returns policy and my expert advice is worth alot to them. I use regular customer discounting and "mailbox" service on special orders to keep it them happy. They know that they can get anything- and I mean anything, at the same price from me. For this I applaud Great Planes and Horizon for essentially saving the business with their MAP policy, and enforcement.

2. UH's policies, service, and quality creates as many customers as it takes away (just look at the Vendor threads), and the beauty is that the customers they keep are the ones I don't want anyway.

3. There is a perception here that RC Planes and Heli's are the whole business. At the store level, it ain't.

4. Christmas and Birthdays. Let's face it. You aren't ordering from China, or going to give somebody a Hobby City gift card for an occasion.

I could go on. I saw your thread ("HC Yes or No?") in the vendor forum. It didn't seem one sided in favor to me.

-T



Quote:
Originally Posted by murocflyer
Great post! Thanks for sharing. Since you are in the "bizness," what are your thought about folks buying stuff directly from China (United Hobbies/Hobbycity/HobbyKing). Is it really hurting the local guys?

Thanks,

Frank
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Old Mar 14, 2009, 10:06 PM
Promoting Model Aviation...
Murocflyer's Avatar
United States, OK, Henryetta
Joined Nov 2005
25,315 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by crash331
I love the idea of LHS and all and good ol' made in the US products, but I'm sorry, I can't just throw away an extra $110 every time I need a power setup. That would be hard to do in a good economy, and damn near stupid right now.

I feel just the opposite. If I can't get it from my LHS or from a reputable on-line dealer in the USA (My LHS can't get SIG planes) than I don't need it. Just reading through these posts of all the LHS's going out of business and listening to the radio about all the millions of people losing their jobs and going on unemployment, there is no way I could sleep at night knowing I'm helping to make that happen. I would rather do without than cause more of that.

Frank

PS For a list of companies that make products right here in the USA, check this out:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=976993
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Old Mar 15, 2009, 01:05 AM
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Calhoun, GA
Joined Dec 2006
731 Posts
This meltdown we are having right now isn't caused by Chinese exports. It may be a small factor but not on the scale we are talking. All of the Chinese RC orders in a month couldn't total what 1 foreign car sale would be. And yes, I buy foreign cars too, have a VW, and the quality of my $26,000 VW tops any domestic car twice the cost. I can't in good conscience spend extra money on an inferior product. Most VWs are made in Tennessee around here anyway, but mine was made in Wolfsburg Germany.

And if you want to throw an extra $100 at something, be my guest, but I'm trying not to visit the soup kitchen.
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