Thehobbyshop, I also had a hobby store, but my addiction to R/C out weighed my profit margin. Of course I was 24 then.....>cough, cough<. LOL
In any event, if I could do it over, I would sell kits and RTR vehicles at cost(including shipping, etc), plus a few dollars. For instance, a Tmaxx at $315 would sell in my store now for $345, rather then the $359 it is at tower(rough example).
Think of how many customers there would be in the store, buying all the goodies to hop up, repair, etc. If the prices compete, or beat Mail Order on big ticket items, the things people don't price shop for would fly off the shelves! People talk prices, all over town and at tracks, etc. cheap prices on these items is ADVERTISING!!!
I have found over the years, owning one shop and managing one that people price shop only the big tickets, but the margin isn't in them to begin with, so it is easy to crush mail order if we get past the margin on the one big box.
This also should include radios, engines, batteries, except it isn't important to beat mail order on them, just match.
Building a stronger customer base and generating far more repeat sales, since there is no longer any reason to call Tower, Ace, etc.
It takes a bit of capital to accomplish, which is usually the problem for racer/owner business men, but should not be a problem for someone who puts business before racing.
I used to think good service would justify a few dollars more, but realize now people want the cheapest price and if they can get it, with a cheap price, the best service.
Last point, around here the estimate is 90:1, basher to racer, that is 90 RTR's will never see a track for every one that does! I have even heard this estimate from manufacturers! Bashers also buy more hop ups then racers do!