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mom and pop vs. big hobby shop


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#21 Tom Geiger

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:25 PM

Poor management, poor customer service.  Most hobby shops that are owned by enthusiasts cater to the market that they are passionate about. So if the owner or staff is big into RC cars, that's their focus.  You can tell right away that the model car selection is very generic, sometimes just what their wholesaler sends them.  There is a local shop in NJ that the owner is a big IPMS military modeler.  It's like nirvana for those guys, aftermarket bits etc for those subjects.  One day I was there and went up to the counter with about $50 worth of basswood and Evergreen plastics. The owner  smiled and asked me what I was working on.  When I told him, he looked down and said, "oh, cars.." and then treated me like I had a disease.

 

It gets worse when the owner is away and the store is left in the hands of youngsters.  I recently was at a shop in PA, where again I spent about $100 on supplies and tools.  The two kids working there were too busy cutting up and joking between themselves, as they fiddled with RC stuff, to really be focused on a customer.

 

If I had a hobby shop, I'd make sure I knew enough about every category to have an intelligent conversation.  I would treat every customer like my best friend.  I don't care what they're into, I would be enthusiastic about it since I do indeed want them to buy those things from me.  I'd make sure everyone left the shop with a smile.  

 

To illustrate it...  my wife and I go out for dinner and drinks maybe once a week.  There are a lot of choices locally but we always wind up going to the same place.  Same beer we'd get anywhere,  food is good but no better than at the other local pubs.  Why do we go there?  Very simple... they have the best bartenders I've ever witnessed.  Every one of them remembers our names like we're their best friends and remembers what we drink and our usual food order.  They are beyond friendly and very efficient.  They make the evening spectacular,  No wonder this pub gets our money each and every week.   Hobby shops could take a lesson from them!



#22 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:28 PM

How very fascinating. Apparently there IS more to business than just the "bottom line". Who woulda thunk it.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 05 May 2013 - 02:29 PM.


#23 martinfan5

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:29 PM

I buy all my kits online, why, even with shipping is still cheaper then buying from my LHS, period

 

I buy all my paints and other supplies 98% of the time at the LHS, its cheaper then online



#24 Harry P.

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:33 PM

How very fascinating. Apparently there IS more to business than just the "bottom line". Who woulda thunk it.

 

Not too many businesses stay in business based on "nostalgia."  ;)



#25 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:36 PM

 

Not too many businesses stay in business based on "nostalgia."  ;)

Uh, Harry...posts 20 and 21, the two I'm referring to, are about businesses that are thriving because of good value for money and customer service, not some sappy nostalgia trip. They apparently realize that to maintain a viable bottom-line, it's good to have some awareness of how other things factor in.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 05 May 2013 - 02:38 PM.


#26 martinfan5

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:38 PM

 

Not too many businesses stay in business based on "nostalgia."  ;)

Hello, its 2013 calling,  the old way of doing business is dying, either adapt or you will go out of business, its just how it is



#27 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:43 PM

Hello, its 2013 calling,  the old way of doing business is dying, either adapt or you will go out of business, its just how it is

 

So why is a universal complaint in every industry or business about poor customer service, and help who have no clue as to what the product is or how to support and sell it?


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 05 May 2013 - 02:45 PM.


#28 martinfan5

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:48 PM

 

So why is a universal complaint in every industry or business about poor customer service, and help who have no clue as to what the product is or how to support and sell it?

Never said it was perfect, or good, yes, customer service is dying, its not good, that is just one of the many problems the business world faces, there is not easy answer

 

My comment was more about brick and motor stores, then customer service



#29 Harry P.

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:49 PM

Uh, Harry...posts 20 and 21, the two I'm referring to, are about businesses that are thriving because of good value for money and customer service, not some sappy nostalgia trip. They apparently realize that to maintain a viable bottom-line, it's good to have some awareness of how other things factor in.

 

When you talk about model cars and customer service... tell me how the most efficient, the friendliest, the most knowledgable LHS owner you've ever known has anything to offer that can't be found online?

 

Best price? I can do a google price search in 30 seconds.

 

Special orders? If I can't find what I'm looking for online, it can't be found.

 

Personal service? OK, that one I have to give to the old guy who runs the LHS. It's true, you can't replace that one-on-one personal interaction online. And if that's what you want when you shop for hobby stuff, then the LHS is the way to go. Me? I shop price. Period. I want a kit, I want to pay as little as possible for that kit. So I shop online. I don't need the "personal interaction" or the "hobby shop experience." But that's just me.



#30 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:57 PM

Okay, buying everything online for the cheapest possible price is perfect. Having no one who's actually knowledgeable or friendly in shops is perfect. And cutting quality to the bone in order to puff up the bottom line is perfect. I get it. Finally.

 

Just be sure to tell the guy who owns the hobby shop spoken of in post 20. He's obviously like the bumble bee... still flying because nobody's yet convinced him it's impossible.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 05 May 2013 - 03:00 PM.


#31 martinfan5

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:01 PM

 

When you talk about model cars and customer service... tell me how the most efficient, the friendliest, the most knowledgable LHS owner you've ever known has anything to offer that can't be found online?

 

Best price? I can do a google price search in 30 seconds.

 

Special orders? If I can't find what I'm looking for online, it can't be found.

 

Personal service? OK, that one I have to give to the old guy who runs the LHS. It's true, you can't replace that one-on-one personal interaction online. And if that's what you want when you shop for hobby stuff, then the LHS is the way to go. Me? I shop price. Period. I want a kit, I want to pay as little as possible for that kit. So I shop online. I don't need the "personal interaction" or the "hobby shop experience." But that's just me.

I want to add, not every LHS has that friendly helpful old guy running the place,  ours sure as hell dont,  dont get me wrong, the guys that work in our LHS are for the most part friendly, they are only working the R/C stuff, they only carry the whats currently offered kit wise, the marks up are huge , tell you this for the price of a Japanese kit at the LHS, I can buy it online, and even after shipping, still have saved at least $10-15.

 

On Domestic kits, the savings would be around $5-$10, just depending on where its bought at online

 

This is not a attack on the LHS, its just how it is for me in my area,  now, we do have one LHS that is good, but for me its a 40 mile each way trip, not making it worth while to go to all the time



#32 peter31a

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:02 PM

There is also the matter of location. It's cheaper for me to drive 100 miles to a not so local lhs and purchase there than it is to buy online and have it shipped to Canada. If I see a kit at $15 from a U.S. seller and the same kit at a lhs for $22 it seems like the U.S. one is the better deal. But when it cost $25 to ship the $15 kit here it's not such a great deal. And forget about getting paint or glue or resin (for casting) across the border.

Now I know someone is going to say yeah but it cost you gas to get 100 miles away. True but I'm stocking up on other supplies and enjoying a club meeting the same day. I used to do more e-baying and other online buying but it's just become too expensive to do so for regular production kits when I'm going to be in the vicinity of a hobby shop anyway.


Edited by peter31a, 05 May 2013 - 03:04 PM.


#33 Harry P.

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:05 PM

Okay, buying everything online for the cheapest possible price is perfect. Having no one who's actually knowledgeable or friendly in shops is perfect.

 

It all depends on your perspective.

 

I've always been the type of person who does my own research before I buy. I almost never rely on a shop owner or a salesperson to "help" me. I usually know more about the product I intend to buy than the guy who's job it is to sell it to me. When I buy a car, I walk into the dealership with a file folder full of data. I know everything about the car I want. I know all the options, I know what the dealer paid for the car, etc. I'm a car salesman's worst nightmare.

 

When it comes to something as relatively inconsequential as buying a model kit, yep, I think I can figure out what's what on my own, without the friendly guy behind the counter needing to tell me what it is I need to know.

 

But again... that's just me. Your opinion (and mileage) may vary...



#34 uncle potts

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:26 PM

Well, for me personally, I like my LHS. These guys are personally into military, but carry a wide variety of cars and trucks. If there is something I found on the net that they don't have, they'll order it for me, and I don't have to pay for shipping. I almost always get it at the same price.

They also like to talk models, something my family gets tired of. And no I don't have a local club, but with a successful LHS, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby, you'd think there would be some interest.

I like the personal interaction, friendly service, and most everything the same day. They are also only 10 minutes from my house. And if I want they will open the box and let me look at the contents before deciding to buy. Can't beat that!



#35 Casey

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:30 PM

Why wouldn't you shop this way?

 

I'm not going to call it nostalgia, but some of us get a rush when we step into a hobby shop which has old, long-discontinued kits and matching prices. Maybe it's the thrill of the hunt, hoping you'll find that JO-HAN '70 Rebel Machine kit for $24.95 still sitting on the shelf, or maybe it's just the chance to look at those vintage kits, hold one in your hands, and look it over, even if you never intend nor can afford to buy it. Anyone who's found an old hobby shop like this knows exactly what I'm talking about. A member here even mentioned stopping in such a Mom & Pop hobby shop a few days ago in the WDYGT? topic.

 

Online shopping, and eBay in particular for model kits, is extremely convenient and provides most of what I'm looking for, but I still shop at my LHSs for kits and supplies, too, so there's room for both.



#36 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:31 PM

 

I've always been the type of person who does my own research before I buy. I almost never rely on a shop owner or a salesperson to "help" me. I usually know more about the product I intend to buy than the guy who's job it is to sell it to me. When I buy a car, I walk into the dealership with a file folder full of data. I know everything about the car I want. I know all the options, I know what the dealer paid for the car, etc. I'm a car salesman's worst nightmare.

 

Same here, but my perspective isn't either-or, only one way or the other. I think there's room for both. But probably ONE good reason for the internet being such a popular place to shop is just that. Everyone knows the likelihood of getting anyone competent to actually 'help' in a "can I help you?" context is next to nil, so why bother with the hassle.

 

I buy vintage online BECAUSE it's not available locally.

 

I buy materials and supplies online WHEN they're not available locally.

 

I buy CURRENT kits and supplies that ARE available, locally, partially because it's cheaper than paying shipping and I still enjoy going to a hobby shop and looking at everything that's NOT about my particular interest. I've found a lot of horizon-expanding things that way. Things for model trains, ships, RC cars and planes, science kits, doll houses...things I NEVER would have seen had I limited myself to just online shopping.

 

Room for both.



#37 Q tip

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:31 PM

wow , sounds as if i'm not the only one who thinks customer service plays into sales. I would have spent more money with them , but I just didn't feel very welcome. we have a local hobby shop here in angola and I can go there to buy a tube of glue and end up leaving with a bag of supplies,not that I needed them but the owner talks to you , not only about what just came in, but every subject that doesn't even apply to the hobby. I don't know ,figured as long as this place has been around it would had been different.

#38 southpier

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:44 PM

....who thinks customer service plays into sales.....

 

y'all set?

 

howzitgoin'?

 

no problem!

 

 

I hate retail sales. at least buying through the internet I've only had one dealer call me and tell me I was a stinker*

 

 

*not exactly the word he used, but he did tell me not to order from him again.



#39 Harry P.

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:46 PM

Room for both.

 

Agreed.



#40 martinfan5

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 04:05 PM



 

I'm not going to call it nostalgia, but some of us get a rush when we step into a hobby shop which has old, long-discontinued kits and matching prices. Maybe it's the thrill of the hunt, hoping you'll find that JO-HAN '70 Rebel Machine kit for $24.95 still sitting on the shelf, or maybe it's just the chance to look at those vintage kits, hold one in your hands, and look it over, even if you never intend nor can afford to buy it. Anyone who's found an old hobby shop like this knows exactly what I'm talking about. A member here even mentioned stopping in such a Mom & Pop hobby shop a few days ago in the WDYGT? topic.

 

Online shopping, and eBay in particular for model kits, is extremely convenient and provides most of what I'm looking for, but I still shop at my LHSs for kits and supplies, too, so there's room for both.

I agree with that 100%, but what you guys to want to realize is that not every one here as access to those LHS, some of us are stuck with LHS that only carry current stuff, and only want to help you if you are buying R/C stuff,  and if dont even think about trying to talk about plastic models,  I would love to have some the LHS that you guys have in my area, and I would probably feel the same that you guys do, but we dont here , well we have one,  but its not right around the corner for some us in the valley


Edited by martinfan5, 05 May 2013 - 04:05 PM.