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How are hobby stores doing in your area?

How are hobby stores doing in your area?

Old 01-11-2010, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bigblockt-maxx View Post
Location-Location-Location
That's a good one bro!

In your area, what makes each store's location a good location? Are they stand alone stores or are they in some type of mall? Do any of them have a track - if so, what kind?
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:05 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by rmdhawaii View Post
When you say they don't understand the business side of it, do you mean product mix, inventory and pricing - or do you mean marketing, understanding the target market and customer service?
All of that. Think about it, if you're a sole proprietor you have to do all of that. Someone that doesn't have business experience won't even think of thalf that stuff before opening a shop. Most people think you just open a store, start selling stuff and you can sit back and relax. It's a real shock when you go from an 8 hour a day job to working 14 hours a day seven days a week and not always for the same paycheck.

Stealing customers. There was a track here that was open for a couple years. One of the racers opened a hobby shop of his own in New York City, probably around 50 miles away from the track. On one race day he came in and handed a business card to every racer.

There was also a story from someone here on RC Tech a few years ago. He owned a track and was doing fairly well. Someone opened a hobby shop a few miles down the road, no track. In order to get customers he deliberately undercut all the prices the track was charging. He even had a delivery service on race days (kids on bicycles) to bring parts to the racers. With the loss of revenue he closed the track. Within weeks the other hobby shop went out of business.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jiml View Post

Stealing customers. There was a track here that was open for a couple years. One of the racers opened a hobby shop of his own in New York City, probably around 50 miles away from the track. On one race day he came in and handed a business card to every racer.
WHAT A JERK!!!

There was also a story from someone here on RC Tech a few years ago. He owned a track and was doing fairly well. Someone opened a hobby shop a few miles down the road, no track. In order to get customers he deliberately undercut all the prices the track was charging. He even had a delivery service on race days (kids on bicycles) to bring parts to the racers. With the loss of revenue he closed the track. Within weeks the other hobby shop went out of business.
This is hilarious for that douchebag who ran the track out of business. I hope he went home and kicked his own ass! It's really too bad for the track owner and the local racers though.

These are great tips for what to do and not do when opening a shop.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:25 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Neu_Racer View Post
These are great tips for what to do and not do when opening a shop.
This isn't even scratching the surface. The things you need to know and do to run a successful hobby shop could fill volumes. You may get an idea of what a shop owner goes through, but there's not enough info on the internet to prepare you for a hobby shop.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jiml View Post
This isn't even scratching the surface. The things you need to know and do to run a successful hobby shop could fill volumes. You may get an idea of what a shop owner goes through, but there's not enough info on the internet to prepare you for a hobby shop.
For sure.

If you run a track with a small shop on the side that caters specifically to the type of track you're running, does that make things any easier or does that complicate things due to the lack of diversification?

I can understand how someone could convince themselves that running a track and hobby store could be "easy." Say if someone were to setup an indoor 1/10th on-road carpet track and carry everything needed to run the cars. Do some simple math: (inventory sales + track fees) - (rent + owner's salary + employees (including all employee related expenses) + liability insurance + marketing + facility upkeep + utilities + whatever I forgot) = profit. Optimists always make big sales, collect a lot of track fees and always turn a profit.

Maybe people are better off not knowing what they're getting themselves into. Just open a hobby store and just pray you get lucky. Is this how most old timers got started?

Instead of volumes, maybe we just need a TV reality show called "The Hobby Shop."
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:21 PM
  #36  
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this wanst to recent but id say recent enough to make the post i worked at a hobby store for 2 years the business was there for i belive 4 and the last 2 years i was there when the economy had just plunged down but hey its been down since for ever but anyways there were days i would sit there and have 2 people come in a they just look no cash was coming in the only people that came there wanted to support the store and not buy off ebay of hobbytown and they went out of there way to come to the store but the last 2 years i was there the business had fallen apart because nobody was buying anything mabe a kite for 10 bucks but it just didnt cut it and then eventually it shut down and lsot my job i was so pissed cuz i and my boss were fellow racers of the local track and he would also take 2 huge parts bin to the track to help out selling stuff he went through parts like crazy but it just wanst enough
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:14 PM
  #37  
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i have a hobby shop/kawasaki dealer about 15 mins from me ( i live in the country) and they just built a brand new building, they share a wall with a car wash. but they sell kawasaki's... like bikes, side x sides, riding gear, plus alot of hobby stuff too like trains and some electric/nitro stuff but its mostly traxxas.. not a lot of HPI stuff.. they also sell plastic models, paints and crap like that too. these guys are expensive though.

then i have a hobby shop thats mostly HPI stuff about 30-35 mins away from me, not sure how they are doing though..

then i have a hobby shop an hour from me thats not too bad on price either. was getting my fuel from these guys because they are the only one's around me that sold the stuff i run, then i found out the place thats 30 mins from me sells the fuel now too so i will buy it from them when i need some.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:32 AM
  #38  
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When a store's revenue starts to decline, I think in some cases it's really hard to pinpoint exactly why it's declining. If you look at what can happen, there are many factors that can contribute to each individual store's decline.

a. People start spending less on R/C. Loss of job, reduced pay, industry down turn, other priorities, trying to save money, wife/girlfriend feels neglected, new baby, school, medical expenses, new car, etc. etc.

b. Track closes. With no place to race, that pretty much kills a lot of reason to buy.

c. New track opens. New track has it's own store or is located in another area where there are other hobby stores close by.

d. People start shopping at other stores. Price, selection and/or inventory can draw people away - but customer service and personalities can also drive people to other stores. One thing to keep in mind, is that some people won't necessarily let personalities and bad customer service keep them away from their hobby. As soon as another store opens, they have no problems going to the other store - or shopping at another store that is really out of their way.

e. Internet. Price, selection and inventory - but there is shipping to consider. How can a local hobby store compete on selection and inventory , and make everyone happy, and not have too much inventory on-hand at one time? Not easy to do. On price, at what percentage difference do people start shopping online instead of at the local hobby store?

f. Loyalty. Some people believe in loyalty, some don't - some don't even understand the concept or how it impacts where they shop. If a buyer doesn't care where they shop or feels no sense of loyalty to any one store (might be because of the store or might just be the individual), then for a store owner to rely on it's customers is somewhat misguided. How does an owner know if any individual customer is loyal or not? How do they know that the customer isn't shopping at another store or online behind their back. (What a concept! It's almost like talking about cheating on your wife or girlfriend. )

g. Friends. Where a buyer's friend shops can also influence a store. Friends would approach me and say, "Hey, I'm buying X brand tires from Hong Kong at $8/box. Want in?" A friend can also pull you away from a store you normally shop at if your friend insists on shopping at another store - or just hanging out at the other store because it's closer to where he lives, eats, goes to schools, races, etc., etc.

h. Does this actually happen? I'm just guessing here: R/C community switches from off-road to on-road; or scale; or nitro to electric - and vice versa. If a store owner doesn't read the market right and carry what's popular (bad idea?), an owner could find himself full of inventory that's not moving. Perhaps the owner decides to sit tight and see if people come back - or refuses to change.

So the question is, when a store's revenue starts declining, because of the factors listed above, can an owner rescue his business and turn things around? How does he even begin to figure out what's going on or what exactly to do? I don't know the answers to these questions.

I think once a store's image has been tarnished by customer service or personalities, they don't stand much of a chance unless they replace the people (as long as it's not the owner that is the problem) and word gets out that the store has a new and improved attitude.

Whatcha think?
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:17 AM
  #39  
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One thing that makes owning a track tough is inconsistant racer turnout. A racer might show up this week, but might not show up for another 3 weeks. A majority of our customers are that way.

Just getting a high quantity of people in the door is the only solution.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:44 AM
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Nampa has two hobby shops. Team Dewey and Hobbytown USA. They're a quarter mile apart. The Hobbytown just opened recently and seems to be doing good volume.
Team Dewey is a family run shop with an indoor on/off road carpet track and a snack bar. It's small but they change the layout weekly so it's always interesting. They hold races 3 times a week and the times that I make it down there (at least once a week) there's at least a decent turnout with anywhere from 40-65 racers. Racing is only $5 first class, $3 every class after that. My 7 year old and I race 18th scale open and 1/10 SC stock class.
How are they doing? Business seems to be decent. They aren't getting rich but it's keeping the bills paid. Their mark up on kits is competitive. They charge full retail for most parts but racers get a 10% discount and they'll order you anything you want.
What I think they are doing particularly well is continuing to improve the shop and the track. When I started racing there a few months ago, they had 3 tables for pits and a few heavily overloaded extension cords. Now they have wall to wall pit tables and each station has its own 4 plug AC outlet. For $10/month or $100/year you can rent your own private pit space and it's worth it for the times we get really good turnouts.
They just starting building a new crawler course as well which should be fun.

The economy may be hurting but people still need some type of recreation. The entry costs for RC are pretty low comparatively. I've gotten two different guys from work and their kids hooked on it.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by RCHR View Post
Just getting a high quantity of people in the door is the only solution.
Are you doing any advertising at all or is it all by word of mouth? Do most the racers live close by?

I checked out your Website. Track looks good. Store looks like it's sized right with just the right inventory. The photos, videos and setup sheets are a nice touch. I was really surprised to see the listing to the other tracks. You're right in the middle of both of them. (map here) How far of a drive is it from your store to those other stores? R/C Excitement looks like a big outfit and they're selling online as well.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cbr74 View Post
... I've gotten two different guys from work and their kids hooked on it.
Nice! Good job!
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Old 01-17-2010, 05:48 PM
  #43  
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apparently the hobby shop thats an hour from me shut down.. and the hobby shop thats 15 mins from me was not effected by the reccession... they are doing good.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:15 PM
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They suck in vegas, they are all stoners who dont run rcs...
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:48 PM
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I can only imagine how hard it is these day to keep a brick and mortar store open.
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