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  #1  
Old October 16th, 2014, 10:09 PM
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Spook Spook is offline
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Default The decline of LHS

It's quite possible I'm beating a dead horse (and if so, sorry) but after a visit to my LHS to find they are no longer in business I was wondering how widespread all the brick and mortar stores disappearing is.
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Old October 16th, 2014, 10:19 PM
Viasistina Viasistina is offline
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IMHO...very much so... I haven't bought a kit in a store in 20 years. I do everything mail order. I will buy paints and supplies at my LHS, but I suppose that isn't enough.
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Old October 16th, 2014, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Viasistina View Post
IMHO...very much so... I haven't bought a kit in a store in 20 years. I do everything mail order. I will buy paints and supplies at my LHS, but I suppose that isn't enough.
I always went with the rule of if they had it there I'd buy it otherwise I'd order it from Sprue Brothers.
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Old October 16th, 2014, 11:01 PM
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What's a Local Hobby Store?

The LHS has become a dinosaur due to high cost leases, and way too much overhead keeping your store open, just to sell a cheap kit and a bottle of paint to some little kid.

I only shop online for cheap prices, free shipping at times and a selection that no LHS would ever carry on the shelves. You just can't compete with a Sprue Brothers type operation.
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Old October 16th, 2014, 11:10 PM
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The closest LHS for me is down in Salt Lake City, almost an hour drive which I can't do with job and family stuff. I went to a Hobbytown USA store to get some paint for the GWH F-15s I'm slowly working on and all they had was one bottle of F-15 gray that I needed, so I had to turn to online for paint, but even then the store I used only had a couple bottles of Model Master Aggressor Gray. Been a long time since I bought a model from an actual store, miss those days.
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Old October 17th, 2014, 12:09 AM
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I'm down to a handful here in the Chicago area, and we used to have some of the best. I order my kits online, and if I need paint or supplies, I gotta be honest here, Hobby Lobby is doing a pretty good job of late. They have a lot of Tamiya finishing products and have expanded their paint line about 2-3x over...

Jeff
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Old October 17th, 2014, 08:51 AM
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The UK is about as big as one of your States, we've discovered electricity and how to use rudimentary tools and a great many modellers rely on Hannants of Lowestoft. Long gone are the Aladin's cave shops full of modelling items, the shops which have survived are very often a mix of R/C products and a very weak stock of kits.
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Old October 17th, 2014, 09:11 AM
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I live near a pretty successful Hobby Town store. Since we're follow Citadel Alumni, I know & talk to the owner on a fairly regular basis. According to him, the sales of his two stores generally breakdown like this:


R/C models of all types & accessories.


Art supplies & craft kits


Educational & science kits, toys & puzzles


Train/ RR supplies & accessories


A distant last is plastic model kits & gaming stuff.

He keeps a fair amount of model kits of all genres in stock and a very extensive selection of paints, tools, and finishing supplies which supplement the sales of many of the categories above. He keeps the kits in stock because he's a modeler himself & wants to maintain the atmosphere of the neighborhood store he remembers as a kid. Most of the people who "hang-out" there and socialize are the hard core R/C racers & competitors.

He's told me several times if he dropped the models and stocked more of the R/C and craft items he'd increase sales. When he retires or cashes out, I expect the model lines will go away, so I enjoy it while I can. I buy all my modeling supplies there and when I want a new model I give them 1st crack at special ordering for me. I pay a little more retail but avoid shipping & handling costs. So, it's wash. Pretty clear, though, this won't last.

Sigh........

 
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  #9  
Old October 17th, 2014, 12:35 PM
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I don't see any importance in buying any kit directly from a LHS. Why pay a load of cash for something if patient enough you can find the kit on sale for one of the holidays or clearance? That why we have STASH!!!

If money is burning a hole in your pockets, get a stronger pair of jeans!
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Old October 17th, 2014, 12:58 PM
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When I first moved here to the Nashville area, we had 12 local hobby shops, not counting any Hobby Lobby stores or Michael's

now, we have ONE Hobbytown (a branch of the Knoxville store) and the 3 Hobby Lobbys and 2 Michaels.

Phillips toy store is still there, and the owner told me once that "the models are here because the toys sell so well" when I asked if he ever thought of expanding the hobby section. They do have a pretty good railroad section, so they had a few ranges of paint,,,,,,,right up until Testors shot some paint lines in the head.

People from around here sure miss Das Hobby Haus, Aardvark, Smyrna Toy and Hobby, Sherlock Models and Books, Imagination Station, HobbyTown Murfreesboro, Cookeville Trains(?) ,,,,,,,,hmmm,,,,,and the others that left first so long ago that I have forgotten their names. We also had even more choices by driving up to Clarksville.

As for "why buy in person?" my computer doesn't much talk to me about models and ordering and discounts and stuff. I can watch all the videos in the world, but, I can't ask one of them a question during the demo. And if you want something specific, you need to order it from someone that can access multiple sources for you,,,,,,,an online store with one or even two wholesalers feeding them products runs out of options quickly if you are looking for some specific thing. Online is perfect for well advertised, popular, mainstream models,,,,,,,or if you just buy the latest hyped up model. I am not much for being "one of a thousand" when it comes to subject choices, so I don't buy according to the randomness of what is put out there.

The second from the last LHS to close was a friend that I met on the online forums, he and I would poor through his sources for hours to find the plastic needed to do some of the decal schemes I already have. Now that option is gone.
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  #11  
Old October 17th, 2014, 01:50 PM
Joe Hegedus Joe Hegedus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomKattR View Post
I don't see any importance in buying any kit directly from a LHS. Why pay a load of cash for something if patient enough you can find the kit on sale for one of the holidays or clearance? That why we have STASH!!!
Because all the kits in the world are useless unless you have a source of supplies. When all the LHS are gone, where do you go on Thursday night for that bottle of paint you need to finish your project by Saturday for the Big Show? The shops can't survive just on supply sales; it's in your long-term interest to do some of your kit shopping there as well.
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Old October 17th, 2014, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomKattR View Post
I don't see any importance in buying any kit directly from a LHS. Why pay a load of cash for something if patient enough you can find the kit on sale for one of the holidays or clearance? That why we have STASH!!!
it makes it easier to buy a kit with some extra money that swmbo does not know about and give the flexibility to sneak it into the stash more covertly.

realistically i want to be able to pick up the kit and look at it, and know the face that sold it to me so that i know who to talk to about anything broken or missing. it is also nice just to be able to go to a store and look at different kits.
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  #13  
Old October 17th, 2014, 04:37 PM
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I'm very fortunate to still have three very good hobby shops within a reasonable driving distance. I will always buy my kits locally if possible to keep my sources of supplies open, and also because I like to go "where everybody knows your name"(to quote from a popular tv show). I think one of the big reasons people are buying plastic model supplies online is because of the aftermarket. Most of us don't just buy the latest greatest kit-we usually have to have at least a set of decals, if not some resin upgrades for the cockpit etc. The local hobby shop can't possibly stock all of that stuff, so most people will order everything they want from someone like Sprue Brothers or Squadron. I really hope at least a few local shops can continue operating.
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Old October 17th, 2014, 08:37 PM
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not offering the decals at the local hobby shop does not really bug me, that part i can understand a hobby shop to not keep in inventory. id prefer to go buy a kit from a hobby shop instead of online if possible.
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  #15  
Old October 17th, 2014, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Hegedus View Post
Because all the kits in the world are useless unless you have a source of supplies. When all the LHS are gone, where do you go on Thursday night for that bottle of paint you need to finish your project by Saturday for the Big Show? The shops can't survive just on supply sales; it's in your long-term interest to do some of your kit shopping there as well.
Don't you buy in quantities of 10?

I try to get as many extras as I can. Put the paints in ziplock bags to keep the air out and store them is a cool place.

Pretend the world's coming to the end and all hobby supplies are limited.
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Old October 17th, 2014, 08:53 PM
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Well here in Jacksonville Florida its sad to say that I have more Hobby Lobby stores in a 20 mile square Raidious to just 1 hobby store left. When I first moved here in 1998 we had a lot more hobby stores than now. Don't get me wrong, I love the 40% of coupon for hobby lobby, but their selection for me at least is left to Revell/Monogram and few other kit companies. So I do all my shopping online at Scale Hobbyist, Hobby link and sometimes Mega Hobby, Oh and of coarse from you guys here on the forum, Gotta support the team sometimes.

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  #17  
Old October 17th, 2014, 08:59 PM
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There is a much more complex answer than what we'd like to think. It's a little of everything that's been posted, and so much more. The argument that the LHS can't compete against online sources is a bit of a strawman. There is absolutely nothing stopping the LHS from having an online presence. One employee could take care of the website and packing/shipping orders. I think the LHS could see their sales increase with this option. The bottom line is that there aren't hundreds of kids flocking to buy kits every Saturday. I have very fond memories of going to the LHS, but I've come to terms that this hobby is becoming a niche market and the LHS will struggle to survive. Most are propped up by RC sales. The plastic kits are secondary.
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  #18  
Old October 17th, 2014, 10:06 PM
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With me, My LHS was a toy store in a shopping center. They had an entire isle of kits of all kinds and all prices. Model paints were Testers and the glue was that orange and white tube of Testers Gel Cement. That's how we rolled in the 60's.

When I was older, I had to drive 18 miles to an absolutely great hobby store that when entered, you thought you were at an IPMS show with about 10 full glass cases of models the owner built. An entire wall of magazines with plenty of Japanese Books on the elite aircraft of the time.

I would say at that time America was strong and the military was it's strongest, thus making it a popular spot to visit. They even had Blackbird Graphic Tee's.

Now a days, you walk into a LHS and hear an echo, cuz you are the only one inside. Mostly RC Cars or planes, and just a few kits. Nothing in my area worth wasting gas getting to. The 2 Hobby Lobby Stores both closed up before I got back into modeling.

Online stores took all the gas out of anyone wanting to start up a retail store in my area. Rental cost way to high and foot traffic way to low to even think of opening one up.

IMHO, I can't justify buying anything at the store level, at least here. Shopping online is the way of the times and saves you a grip on money in the long run. Right now, I am holding the kits I want to build and storing them for the right time. I don't mind waiting to get a kit in the mail a week after I buy it. In fact I enjoy getting something in the mail.

After all said, it was nice as a little boy to go with Dad and buy a kit. I still remember doing this and it's all part of growing up, but I have to face it, the times have changed due to the computer age and now internet shopping has become a hobby. A tear comes to my eye seeing the old kits online that I once build, enjoyed and then blew up in the backyard after they had broke. Those were the days!!!

Last edited by TomKattR; October 17th, 2014 at 10:12 PM.
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Old October 17th, 2014, 11:39 PM
wright2626 wright2626 is offline
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i remember back when i was a kid thinking that kmart had model kits was neat, and a good selection. used to like going to the mall because i could look in kb toys for model kits, even childrens palace and toys r us had kits. then i remember when i got a job and a car, then found a real hobby store. didnt know they existed. unfortunately it is getting back to that.
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  #20  
Old October 17th, 2014, 11:43 PM
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also, if anyone doesnt get the emails, sprue brothers is having a 20% off sale of whatever afterburner decals they have left.
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