HobbyTown USA

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Ok, so I've been out of the hobby for a bit, but a recent injury has me down for 6-8 mos. I tore my left Achilles Tendon .. they are trying to repair it without surgery but .. Anway, the subject at hand. I went into a local HobbyTown USA tonight to get some Evergreen Styrene and a self healing cutting mat. I looked at the prices of the kits. $33 for a snap together ? $60 for the re-release of the Mad Max Interceptor ? $26 for a run of the mill Revell-o-gram 1/24 kit ? Have they completely lost their minds of have I been out of the LHS's too long ? I know I can find any one of these kits online for 50-60% cheaper . I guess what I'm asking, does anybody actually buy kits at HobbyTown ? If so, why ?

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Posted · Report post

Local Hobby Lobby?

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Posted · Report post

Rarely.

I have found some decently priced items, but most are at MSRP.

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Posted · Report post

I've scored a few 50% off kits there, but you have to keep checking the clearance table <_<

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We don't have Hobby Lobby in the great white north here, but we do have Michaels who prices their kits in the same price range. I think they do it so when the 40% - 50% off coupons are used it brings the price down to a point they can still profit from. Local hobby shops are at least $10 cheaper.

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I've scored a few 50% off kits there, but you have to keep checking the clearance table <_<

The only way to get a good deal from HobbyTown.

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I was just shocked at the prices. Ebay is so common now and the prices are so much better ..

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Posted · Report post

Now you know why so many of these hobby shops close...... :rolleyes:

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Posted · Report post

I haven't seen an independent hobby shop in years .. and when I did the selection was not so good

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Posted · Report post

You can order from hobby lobby online, you can also use the coupon and sometimes the have $2 shipping.

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Posted · Report post

You just have to watch the shipping cost that with ebay.

.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

A Hobbytown opened in State College, PA about 9 miles from me about six months ago. Their kit prices are high. They have a good selection, though. They had a Little Red Wagon kit for $17.99, about three months ago. I didn't buy it, but went back a week or so later and it was $21.99! It's still there.

Edited by Sixties Sam

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I used to live in Pittsburgh .. A B Charles Hobbies in McMurry is possibly the best independent hobby shop I've ever been to. Prices are a little high but not ridiculous like HobbyTown. The owner is a great guy and will trade with customers too. Wish I had a place like that around here ..

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I haven't seen an independent hobby shop in years .. and when I did the selection was not so good

The independent and mom & pop hobby shops that I go to have excellent selections of kits.

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I was at Hobby Town in Lexington, KY a few weeks ago. I have gone there on and off for years. They have NEVER had a clearance table. They would just as soon not sell a kit than put it on clearance. In the past few years, they have gone from three isles (both sides) full of model cars to one half isle with planes, tanks accessories on the other side. They have also added two toy isles, a die cast isle and a machine where kids blow up a ball. And get this, the display version of the ball is twice as big as the one the kids get. Once it's out of the pack, they already have you hustled...there's not even a disclaimer.

Anyway, I had a conversation with the guy working there about how I remember the store "back in the day". He concludes our little trip down memory lane by saying, "They've took this place from a true hobby store and made it into a Toys 'R Us." And that's from the guy working the place! :blink:

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Well I work at a HobbyTown so I can shed some light on the subject. If you want cheaper models take it up with the distributors, we don't control the price, they do! I hate how they have us in that position and there's not much we can do about. So you have one or two options here:

1. Sniffle,whine, and do nothing and expect change, not get it and by models from China cheaper.

2. Go in and support your LHS even if it is a HobbyTown, although your paying five or ten bucks more your helping your own community by keeping the money in it.

Now I'm not going to judge you for what choice you make but think about which one helps everyone out in the long run.

P.S. By the time you pay shipping for the online kits it comes within a few bucks of your LHS's price usually.

Edited by Austin T

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Once it's out of the pack, they already have you hustled...there's not even a disclaimer.

Anyway, I had a conversation with the guy working there about how I remember the store "back in the day". He concludes our little trip down memory lane by saying, "They've took this place from a true hobby store and made it into a Toys 'R Us."

As for the warranty it doesn't make financial sense to have a "Satisfaction guaranty" unless your some multimillion dollar corporation. At work we have the same policy unless it comes out of the box with an issue, then we usually exchange it,they should be doing the same thing.

A true hobby shop is hard to find because there just isn't enough of a customer base to sell just hobby related items. Next time your in your LHS ask the owner if you can observe and see how traffic flows. The results might surprise you. Most people who purchase items in our shop buy toys and are drawn in with toys.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

As for the warranty it doesn't make financial sense to have a "Satisfaction guaranty" unless your some multimillion dollar corporation. At work we have the same policy unless it comes out of the box with an issue, then we usually exchange it,they should be doing the same thing.

A true hobby shop is hard to find because there just isn't enough of a customer base to sell just hobby related items. Next time your in your LHS ask the owner if you can observe and see how traffic flows. The results might surprise you. Most people who purchase items in our shop buy toys and are drawn in with toys.

All I am saying is that, if you are going to put a ball the size of a basketball on top of the rack in all the different styles, put a disclaimer out there that the balls that are actually sold are the size of a MINI basketball once they are blown up. I find it very difficult to tell my child no to a toy...and that's what the makers of that toy are doing. The manufacture knows the second that child sees the machine, they will have that package open and the ball half blown up before the parent realizes what's going on. They ALL have an issue out of the box.

I must say, it sounds like I have personally offended you as a representative of Hobby Town. Trust me, there is no personal harm meant, and if it sounded that way, I apologize. And I still enjoy what I can get when I go to Hobby Town. There isn't a true hobby shop within an hour and a half of my house. I was simply pointing out a few flaws in a local store and being a bit nostaligic. That's all.

Edited by Skydime

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Posted · Report post

2. Go in and support your LHS even if it is a HobbyTown, although your paying five or ten bucks more your helping your own community by keeping the money in it.

P.S. By the time you pay shipping for the online kits it comes within a few bucks of your LHS's price usually.

There are 4 or 5 Hobby Lobby stores to 1 HobbyTown in my area. Hobby Lobby has a wider selection of models than HobbyTown and I'd much rather give them the money after the coupon savings. On top of that, Hobby Lobby retail prices (at least in this area) are less than HobbyTown's to begin with. Additionally, buying there supports the local economy as well as buying at HobbyTown.

EBay prices, with shipping, are subject to one's argument and point of view. One can show a wide range of examples. Saving searches. patience, and careful shopping typically results in kits at 50 - 60% of the local Hobby Lobby or HobbyTown retail price (or on par with Hobby Lobby after use of the 40% coupon which works quite well for kits not locally available).

The preceding, of course, is no more than my own personal experience and opinion. I'm sure HobbyTown has its place somewhere, possibly in the RC arena.

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At 56 years old, I remeber when kits were $1.25 - $2.00 each. Of course my job at that time paid a whopping $1.50 per hour and gas was going through the ceiling at .50 cents per gallon.

Those days are gone. I'm like everyone else, I work hard for my money and don't like paying the hobby shop prices, but they only sell at the suggested selling price of the manufactures.

I have a couple Hobbytown USA stores in my area with convient hours and a pretty good stock on hand. I try to buy as much from them as I can to help support the hobby.

If we lose the hobby shops, what do you do on Saturday afternoon when you spill your bottle of liquid cement and are a few minutes from finishing your project? If ther are no hobby shops, you go on line order a bottle pay shipping cost and wait a week.

All I'm trying to say is I've seen to many of our local hobby shops close in the last 10-15 years beacause modelers, in hope of saving a couple bucks go online and order thier kits.

In defense of the model companies, with the hobby slowing down, they're producing fewer kits so to keep up with the rising cost of doing business and trying to save the hobby we all love so much and the rising cost of fuel, they have to charge higher prices.

Long story short, nobody likes the high cost of kits today, but it happens. Also remember the detail and quality of the NEW releases as well as the OLD reissues, the cost isn't all that bad. I don't buy as many kits as I did years ago, but I enjoy them as much as i ever did.

Take the time to enjoy what you build and the model companies for trying to save this hobby!!!

Happy modeiling to all. Vernon

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All I am saying is that, if you are going to put a ball the size of a basketball on top of the rack in all the different styles, put a disclaimer out there that the balls that are actually sold are the size of a MINI basketball once they are blown up. I find it very difficult to tell my child no to a toy...and that's what the makers of that toy are doing. The manufacture knows the second that child sees the machine, they will have that package open and the ball half blown up before the parent realizes what's going on. They ALL have an issue out of the box.

Ok we were both talking about two totally different things. I thought you were talking about a return policy, not the ball machine. I do agree that the ball machine sounds like a bit of a rip off but can probably be resolved if politely taken up with the store manager. Maybe something along the lines of "Excuse me Mr (INSERT NAME HERE) I noticed that the ball machine's product varies from the display model, would you mind changing out the display model to give people a better idea of the product"

As for offending me you did not, the HobbyTown I work at even has flaws, I have yet to find a perfect hobby shop.

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I only buy paint and supplies from Hobbytown. They have the best selection I've seen on paints and supplies. Their kit prices are over the top expensive. But, their supplies/paints prices are pretty much in line with everyone else. :blink: When I do buy a new kit, I buy it at the Hobby Lobby up the road with the 40% off coupon. I wish I could buy kits at Hobbytown. But, I can get them much cheaper at HL or online even with the shipping charges added.

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HobbyTown's kits are expensive, I never buy a kit from them, but they do have a good selection of tools and materials. That is, one of the Hobbytowns near me does.

It's weird... there are two Hobbytowns near me, both are about the same distance away. Since they are both Hobbytowns, you'd expect them to carry pretty much the same inventory... but no. One of them has a very limited inventory of supplies. In fact, there have been three separate instances where I have gone there looking for very common items (small drill bits, Testors Transparent Window Tint spray, and I forget the third thing). Each time I asked the guy there about the items I was looking for, I got the same answer: "In the six years we've been here, you're the first person who's ever asked for that."

In other words, he was trying to make it look like I was some sort of weirdo looking for some crazy stuff that no hobby shop would possibly carry.

Well, let's say I learned my lesson, and I will never set foot in that particular Hobbytown again. And yet, that other HT near me has an excellent selection of things, and I've always found what I came for at that location... including small drill bits, Testors Transparent Window Tint, Evergreen or Plastruct items, brass and/or aluminum tubing and rod, etc. Weird how one HT is useless, while another is well-stocked.

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I talked with a guy at my local HobbyTown a while back, and it appears that most of the stores are individual franchises with different owners, so that might account for the differences between stores in the same community.

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I talked with a guy at my local HobbyTown a while back, and it appears that most of the stores are individual franchises with different owners, so that might account for the differences between stores in the same community.

I guess. But it's like one McDonalds has certain things on the menu, and another McDonalds has a completely different menu. I would expect them both to have pretty much the same menu.

At least the guy could at the "bad" HT have been helpful instead of implying that I'm sort of kook.

Instead of telling me that I was the first person ever to ask for those items (which I highly doubt), maybe a smarter response would have been, "Sorry, we don't stock that, but I'll be glad to order it for you."

But the guy wasn't too smart. And as a result he's lost a customer for good.

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