I know that this was posted to see about a new employment adventure, but I have to put my 2 cents in. I would be lost without a real LHS.
The internet is a great thing and you can find a lot on it and you can go thru the aggravation of paypal or whatever and waiting...........and hoping what you get isn't smushed in the mail and dealing with people if it is, etc. etc. After the shipping charges are figured in and the forthcoming sales taxes I fell as others have said that there is really little difference price-wise, but the instant gratification of getting something in person is, indeed, very satisfying.
I am lucky in the fact that because of my job I have to do quite a bit of local (within a 25 mile radius of my employer) driving for customer and vendor interactions and - the big and- there are two independent and pretty well stocked hobby shops nearby.
Last Friday I was near both and did stop in at Turn Hobbies in West Boylston, Massachusetts to grab 2 of the Revell Merc Woodie, hot off the truck, then also stopped at the Spare Time shop in Marborough, Massachusetts to stock up on some Evergreen styrene that I need.
Neither store carries all of what I want, but there is a good selection and they are accommodating and willing to help (**and listen to what you want/like/need** very important).There are other national chain shops within the same basic radius, but I find them colder and focused on other things than I care about.