Originally Posted by dragoneuh
If the LHS is getting the tires at $11/pair then it's not LHS who is robbing us but the manufacturer is. Or the wholesaler.
$11 is too much for pair tires especially when it is mass produced.
My vote is for the wholesaler - they're dictating the "reasonable" retail price by selling the same product much cheaper through their online stores. When the average racer walks into the LHS and sees a $5 (or more)/set price difference, they simply go to the online retailer with the better price. The LHS needs that extra profit margin to keep the heat/lights on, pay the rent, and buy more inventory (which dates itself faster than ever these days).
It's quite the quandary for the racer, especially those trying to patronize their LHS if they also run the local RC race track. The racer has to address the rising costs of new kits, parts, upgrades, and consumables; usually best handled by sourcing the best parts at the lowest cost through an online retailer. The same racer might not have anywhere to race if he doesn't spend money @ the LHS, but might be priced out of the hobby if he supports the local retailer exclusively. It's a tough choice to make, but it often comes down to price being the driving factor for choosing a parts source, which makes the LHS look like prices are overinflated at the local level. The best retailers can hope for is a 50/50 split in most cases, which might keep the doors open - but often doesn't unless R/C is more of a sideline instead of a staple of the business.
I don't think you'll see many changes to the pricing structures locally because the proprietors can't really afford to drop prices too much lower. The solution might be retail franchises that are backed by the wholesalers - this way the prices come down at the local level, with the support (i.e. buying power) of the wholesaler behind them...
Of course, this suggestion represents RC Utopia, but it's nice to dream sometimes...