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Good news for a change...


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Just a brief memo that having been long interested in the  model car kit industry not only as a builder/writer but also as a business person, I was surprised to hear yesterday the same story from from various aftermarket vendors, the one kitmaker directly represented there, several kit sellers/hobby shop owners, and the organizers of the NNL Motor City.  All saying basically the same thing.  The hobby kit industry (particularly here for us, the car/truck kit segment) is on fire  - in a good way.  Sales are apparently very strong and staying that way, not retracting as some had suspected after life started to get back to some degree of normalcy. 

I see this positively affecting our hobby for the future, and I was very excited to hear it.  Accordingly, wanted to share it here, too. 

Best....TIM 

 

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People staying home a lot more over the past 18 months, looking for stuff to do. And perhaps tired of looking at screens too?

I know when I go to my local stores, the shelves are definitely being restocked on a regular basis. They tell me sales are excellent, which is great to hear.

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The two local hobby shops I deal with say business has been booming. This has been an ideal hobby during these troubled times. I think a lot of older folks have re-engaged in it, and people of all ages may have discovered it. Now that they are into it, it is a little addictive.😈

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The pandemic has changed a lot of habits. While people are still being cautious and going out less, I understand people have learned that they don’t have to be out and about all the time. People will be spending more time at home in the future. Which is good for hobbies!

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Now I wonder if there will be a re-emergence of a domestic model kit industry.  No, I'm not disregarding Atlantis and Round 2 but what with the supply chain issues will there be an upsurge in production in the US/Canada?  And doesn't Round 2 have most of its production in China?

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If the industry is in such great shape, then why can't the countries 8th largest metropolitan, with over 6 million souls, support one decently stocked hobby shop? I drive 30 minutes away to buy Tamiya paints (gotta look at the color to decide sometimes) and when I talk to the owner about expanding product lines (Evergreen plastic (gotta look at the size ya want sometimes), Atlantis, for instance) and I get a blank stare (language barrier, perhaps?) and a shake of the head... Whatever...I'm going back to the bench and buying on line when I prefer to support a local reseller. Rant over.... -RRR

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7 minutes ago, Rocking Rodney Rat said:

If the industry is in such great shape, then why can't the countries 8th largest metropolitan, with over 6 million souls, support one decently stocked hobby shop? I drive 30 minutes away to buy Tamiya paints (gotta look at the color to decide sometimes) and when I talk to the owner about expanding product lines (Evergreen plastic (gotta look at the size ya want sometimes), Atlantis, for instance) and I get a blank stare (language barrier, perhaps?) and a shake of the head... Whatever...I'm going back to the bench and buying on line when I prefer to support a local reseller. Rant over.... -RRR

At one time my area had 4 hobby shops but unfortunately none now, hobby lobby and Michael's are my only options. I don't even have the 30 minute or 1 hour drive option. Like you I'd much rather buy in store but I have to purchase online.

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3 hours ago, Rocking Rodney Rat said:

If the industry is in such great shape, then why can't the countries 8th largest metropolitan, with over 6 million souls, support one decently stocked hobby shop? I drive 30 minutes away to buy Tamiya paints (gotta look at the color to decide sometimes) and when I talk to the owner about expanding product lines (Evergreen plastic (gotta look at the size ya want sometimes), Atlantis, for instance) and I get a blank stare (language barrier, perhaps?) and a shake of the head... Whatever...I'm going back to the bench and buying on line when I prefer to support a local reseller. Rant over.... -RRR

This change took place too late for a lot of hobby shops. They can't stock everything, and online operations frequently beat them in terms of price, and selection. Getting into the hobby shop business is a big capital investment, with a slow rate of return. If you're looking to make money with money, then your best bets are elsewhere. Also, Florida has the same problem as San Diego. The weather is too good. People spend most of their time on outside activities. Indeed, that's a reason many people move to Florida in the first place. 

I can sympathize with you about the drive. My closest hobby shop is a good 30 minutes away too. That's a big difference from the 10 minute bike ride of my youth. Thank goodness for RC. If it weren't for that, most of the remaining hobby shops would be gone. 

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27 minutes ago, Dave Ambrose said:

 

I can sympathize with you about the drive. My closest hobby shop is a good 30 minutes away too. That's a big difference from the 10 minute bike ride of my youth. Thank goodness for RC. If it weren't for that, most of the remaining hobby shops would be gone. 

my closest hobby shop used to be about 30 minutes away, they moved out of state and now the next closest one that stocks model stuff is more than 60 minutes away. i always bought from him before he moved even thought he was more expensive than online. but once he moved out of state, it becomes too much to drive there. 

there is one hobby shop that sells tamiya paint about 30 minutes away, but they are primarily pokemon card store and sell just the bare minimum when it comes to models. i can usually get paint there in a pinch, but they charge about 9 or 10 for a can of tamiya paint, if i remember correctly. i will buy from him if he has the paint in stock, but he doesnt stock some of the higher TS numbers, like the new colors. 

i would definitely prefer to buy in a hobby store, even if it is a bit more expensive, but not at the cost of taking half an afternoon to pickup a model or some paint. 


we have a hobby lobby, but for the most part they never update their inventory and the last few times i went there, there was nothing i wanted, and i have too many kits to buy one that i may or may not build in the next few years

 

 

i do wish that if the hobby is doing well, they stop raising prices for kits. at 30+ dollars for a revell or amt kit is too high. if they raise the prices anymore, i guess i wont have to worry about my stash growing. i will just have to build what i have. i have enough that i will never run out

Edited by youpey
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2 hours ago, Dave Ambrose said:

This change took place too late for a lot of hobby shops. They can't stock everything, and online operations frequently beat them in terms of price, and selection. Getting into the hobby shop business is a big capital investment, with a slow rate of return. If you're looking to make money with money, then your best bets are elsewhere. Also, Florida has the same problem as San Diego. The weather is too good. People spend most of their time on outside activities. Indeed, that's a reason many people move to Florida in the first place. 

I can sympathize with you about the drive. My closest hobby shop is a good 30 minutes away too. That's a big difference from the 10 minute bike ride of my youth. Thank goodness for RC. If it weren't for that, most of the remaining hobby shops would be gone. 

Amen about Florida.  The pluses are I found a local club (Model Car creations of South Florida) that meets twice a month.  Great bunch of guys.  I do spend more time outdoors and feel guilty being inside during the day building models.  The downside is higher humidity but being very close to the ocean it’s not  bad except in the summer.  There is a Hobby Lobby fairly close which has some diecast which I collect also.  I’ve been here 3 months and so far it’s great and the real car shows are amazing.

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HI!

A good friend owns a hobby shop that's been around for 45 years, and keeps expanding. He tells me the three sectors that are very active are: RC controlled toys (cars, crawlers, drones - stable), model kits (automotive,planes,military - slight increase ), and puzzles (!?!), major increase. 

He also tells me the only downside with plastic models is some manufacturers now demand he buys ten (10) units minimum of any kit he wants to order. He then can't afford to "take risks" with more obscure or marginal subjects, cause it freezes up too much money.

A funny note: he tells me the new Revell kits (in the large, flat boxes) are selling like crazy, even the latest reissue of well known "standards", even if he jacked the price by a good percentage. He surmises that for most people, a larger box is seen as "more of a good thing... a better deal", and generates sales.

Go figure...

CT 

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11 hours ago, Rocking Rodney Rat said:

If the industry is in such great shape, then why can't the countries 8th largest metropolitan, with over 6 million souls, support one decently stocked hobby shop?

I'll raise you. I live in the largest city in this here country and the last friggin' hobby shop in Manhattan, Jan's Hobby Shop on the Upper East Side, closed in September after the owner, known as Madame Collette Hutchins by everyone in the neighborhood, died during the summer. The only place that sells model kits anywhere in the five boroughs is Rudy's Hobby & Art located in the Astoria section of Queens. Most of the kits are 25+ years old. He also sells model trains and religious items. Gong to Rudy's gives me a good excuse to hit the Bohemian Beer Hall a couple blocks away. Fee-Fi, Fo-Fum, Hic! :D

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28 minutes ago, SfanGoch said:

I'll raise you. I live in the largest city in this here country and the last friggin' hobby shop in Manhattan, Jan's Hobby Shop on the Upper East Side, closed in September after the owner, known as Madame Collette Hutchins by everyone in the neighborhood, died during the summer. The only place that sells model kits anywhere in the five boroughs is Rudy's Hobby & Art located in the Astoria section of Queens. Most of the kits are 25+ years old. He also sells model trains and religious items. Gong to Rudy's gives me a good excuse to hit the Bohemian Beer Hall a couple blocks away. Fee-Fi, Fo-Fum, Hic! :D

Have you been to Tech toys?  They appear to be doing well and appear in the background of a Progressive commercial.

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10 hours ago, vamach1 said:

Have you been to Tech toys?  They appear to be doing well and appear in the background of a Progressive commercial.

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does this place have a lot of models? its a bit over an hour for me, but if they are good, i would make the trip one weekend

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1 hour ago, Rocking Rodney Rat said:

iving in Greenpoint, are you a Fleshtones fan? -RRR

I've been a fan since I first saw them at CBGB in '76. Tickets cost $3.50. A bottle of Rolling Rock was a buck. Pete Zaremba lives in the neighborhood. Last time I saw The Fleshtones was in February 2002 when they played at Warsaw in Greenpoint. "Destination Greenpoint" was debuted at that show. They were supposed to play at Warsaw last year. Covid squashed that.

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40 minutes ago, SfanGoch said:

I've been a fan since I first saw them at CBGB in '76. Tickets cost $3.50. A bottle of Rolling Rock was a buck. Pete Zaremba lives in the neighborhood. Last time I saw The Fleshtones was in February 2002 when they played at Warsaw in Greenpoint. "Destination Greenpoint" was debuted at that show. They were supposed to play at Warsaw last year. Covid squashed that.

I grew up in Boston, we used to assault the city from my friends sister's place in Nyack. Went to many a show at CBGB back then. Last time I went to CB's was Rollins Band in the mid '90s. That was pretty intense. We might be old, but we saw all of the cool bands.... -RRR 

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12 hours ago, SfanGoch said:

No thanks. I don't go out of my way traveling out of the city to get models. I'm not crazy about coughing up $30+ in bridge and/or tunnel tolls. :D

Yes there is that.  Sadly it is why mail order costs less if you factor in the cost to drive somewhere.  I rarely buy kits anymore except at shows on occasionally on Ebay as there are no few truly new kits that come out that I would want.  Even chasing diescasts (greenlight, m2, etc.) Is getting very frustrating as stores get picked over as soon as shipments arrive.

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On 11/17/2021 at 8:09 AM, Rocking Rodney Rat said:

If the industry is in such great shape, then why can't the countries 8th largest metropolitan, with over 6 million souls, support one decently stocked hobby shop? I drive 30 minutes away to buy Tamiya paints (gotta look at the color to decide sometimes) and when I talk to the owner about expanding product lines (Evergreen plastic (gotta look at the size ya want sometimes), Atlantis, for instance) and I get a blank stare (language barrier, perhaps?) and a shake of the head... Whatever...I'm going back to the bench and buying on line when I prefer to support a local reseller. Rant over.... -RRR

East coast sucks for hobby shops anymore. I remember Orange Blossom Hobbies and the sad day my buddy and I drove over there to find the doors shut. I'm guessing the blank stares you're experiencing are from the guys at Micro Macro Mundo? I've tried conversing with them in Spanish as well and discovered that bad customer service transcends the language barrier. They do have a nice shop, though. I'm fortunate to have a great one here in Naples (Family Hobby Center, 55 years old and counting, run by the same family for 3 generations) and a really good one an hour away in Port Charlotte (K&K Hobbies). Family Hobby does consistently good business and Cary, the owner, is a great guy despite not selling me the Pocher Fiat f2 he has in his private stash...I was kidding with him that the only reason he still had it was because nobody wanted it in the '70s!

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I guess I should be thankful for where I live in the cold frozen tundra of Wisconsin. I live in a small 1200 population town (Theresa) and five miles away is a small hobby and rock collector shop who carries a bit of Revell and Tamiya stuff. Called Tinker's , it's in Mayville. Then about 30 miles away is John's in Hartford. 17 miles away is Focus in Fond Du Lac...he has model cars and other things. Then 45 miles away is West Allis/Milwaukee area that is home to Model Empire. There was a drug store in Muskego that had model but he wanted to clear the space for other stuff so I bought his entire inventory of kits. Al that is left there is some paints and glue. Atrip to the doctor in Milwaukee always means a trip to Model Empire....lucky me.

 

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