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Old 06-24-2005, 10:51 AM   #1
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Buying local vs. online (seattle area)

I've noticed a lot of folks from the Seattle area, so I thought I would post this question...

I'm just getting in to the hobby, and I want to buy my first car soon. I'm doing my research, listening, reading, learning, etc. and trying not to be a total n00b. The thing that got me thinking about driving/racing RCs was a little shop opening here in West Seattle just a couple blocks from my house, "Bobby's Hobbies." It's a nice little place with a small indoor track and an outdoor oval. The owner seems nice, and answered lots of questions I had, etc.

The dilemma I'm having is that his prices for kits and parts are really really high compared to what I see online. I like supporting local businesses, but when the price of just the car itself is over $100 more, I have a hard time putting up THAT much more money. I would also feel bad showing up for help, and racing, etc. if I just bought a kit online.

I'm also finding other places around the Seattle area, Burien Racing, etc. so I think I need to check out other shops too.

So, here are my basic questions:

1) Am I an asshole for wanting to get a good deal on a kit online and then race it at the local shop? Is this really horrible RC etiquette?
2) Are his prices just really high, or are the smaller shops always going to be a lot closer to list prices than online stores (Tower Hobbies, etc.)
3) Where else is a good place to buy/race in the Seattle area. Can I find a reasonably competitive price for a new kit without having to go online? Like I said, I would rather buy locally to support a business, but only within reason.

Thanks guys, this forum seems really friendly, I'm glad I found it.
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Old 06-24-2005, 11:08 AM   #2
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Dude, ther`s lots of folks who think they save money when they order their car stuff from mail order...

But ...

Mail order don`t care about you personally...
They can`t offer you any good advise, ect...

All they want is you to believe is your saving some money..

The facts are you just might spend a whole lot more than you would of if your local shop took care of you....

And

Mail order places do little for supporting the places your gona enjoy your new ride.
Things like a "racing facility" will not be in the Mail order catalog ...


Save a buck , then spend hundreds more rebuying the things you should of purchase the first time....
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Old 06-24-2005, 11:20 AM   #3
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Its your hard earend money. Do with it as you please. Dont come on here asking because there is always a few that will tell you what to do.
Buy what you want from the store and if the big items are cheaper else where then get it. Your still going to pay to race there and pratice. You will probably get tires and traction compounds there. When you been in the hobby long enough you learn what to get online and what not. If he's making 100 bucks on a kit then he is selling at full retail. Like I said you buy where you want consumers have that right. But you still need to but stuff there anyway trust me you'll always want something from the store. If you order atleast order from a US based company.
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Old 06-24-2005, 12:03 PM   #4
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I partially agree with him.
At my LHS a KO servo is $134plus tax
I can get the same servo online for$99-104.
I can see a slight mark up at LHS, but paying $30 more for the same product is insane.
I learned to buy the larger stuff online and everything else at the hobby shop,
Even then, the hobby shop makes more money on me in the long run.
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Old 06-24-2005, 12:49 PM   #5
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Wankle check around the area. You have many sources depending on the car you are looking to race.

On-Road
Tamiya-Burien RC(Soon tomove to new indoor facility Seattle Indoor Raceway)
Rain-City (Lynnwood)-Tamiya, X-ray, HPI etc. Great pricing real nice people.
Fantasy World(Tacoma)- Xray, losi Associated etc.

All of the above are on-road programs and have very competitive pricing.

Off-Road
TRCR(Tacoma)
4 Seasons(Olympia)

Do support the local shops, online is great but they will not keep the barriers on the racing surface if you buy from them. At most of the above shops if they are out of line and you comment about it they generally make it right (within reason). Also you might talk to the owner of Bobbie's and see if he can help out on pricing he might be putting a mark-up that is not realistic and does not know that. Be polite in how you approach it though. I have heard rumors of the new program but never been to the track. Being new to the scene he might not be in touch with the racers.

Come out to the tracks and say Hi also. Great to see a new face in the area.

Dan
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Old 06-24-2005, 01:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Difuser
Wankle check around the area. You have many sources depending on the car you are looking to race.

On-Road
Tamiya-Burien RC(Soon tomove to new indoor facility Seattle Indoor Raceway)
Rain-City (Lynnwood)-Tamiya, X-ray, HPI etc. Great pricing real nice people.
Fantasy World(Tacoma)- Xray, losi Associated etc.

All of the above are on-road programs and have very competitive pricing.

Off-Road
TRCR(Tacoma)
4 Seasons(Olympia)

Do support the local shops, online is great but they will not keep the barriers on the racing surface if you buy from them. At most of the above shops if they are out of line and you comment about it they generally make it right (within reason). Also you might talk to the owner of Bobbie's and see if he can help out on pricing he might be putting a mark-up that is not realistic and does not know that. Be polite in how you approach it though. I have heard rumors of the new program but never been to the track. Being new to the scene he might not be in touch with the racers.

Come out to the tracks and say Hi also. Great to see a new face in the area.

Dan
Thanks for the advice guys, this list of local places was exactly what I was hoping to see. I need to stop by Burien this weekend and see what's happening down there. It looks like they have a presence here on the forums too, which is cool, and a nice new indoor track sounds awesome.

Bobby's outdoor track is pretty small, it's basically an oval with an odd little bank in one corner of it. They do have a nice setup with some chairs, snack bar, etc. And like I said, being only 2 blocks from my house is a huge benefit.

I think I will ask about the price disparity, I wouldn't have a problem paying $200 for a kit that's $160 online, but his are more like $270 for a TB-02 kit (list price) which is just too much.

Thanks again!
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Old 06-24-2005, 04:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Difuser
Tamiya-Burien RC(Soon tomove to new indoor facility Seattle Indoor Raceway)
The new indoor track is great news Dan!!! How far will it be from Kent? 15-20 min drive?
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Old 06-24-2005, 06:28 PM   #8
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wankle,,

i don't believe burien is open this weekend. they race every other weekend.
go back to the home page of this forum, then scroll down to the northwest fourm. lots of local tracks listed there. i was surprized to here that there was a new store in west seattle as well as a small track. maybe being new he is charging full retail, i.e. the price on the box of a assoc b-4 is like four hundred and something, actual retail is around 230. local shop here in auburn was asking and getting 120.00 bucks for matched 2000's when they opened thier track, i told them everyone else only gets 75, they made some phone calls and lowered the price, also rent might be so high in west seattle he has to charge more. depending on the shops mood, you may just want to say, so and so has this kit for x, can you help out on the price a little. for me, i usually only order things off the internet i can't buy local, or the shops don't have, i.e. i just ordered a set of inserts that no one around here carrys. one of the best shops to deal with is www.speedtechrc.com. if you must go online. not always the cheapest, but you get what you ordered. see you at the tracks, Fantasy world is running in tacoma this sunday. try and make it down, off of hosmer, by the mega food, 72nd/84th exit off of i-5 south. raincity may be running saturday, in renton, at the big boeing office building in the "s" curves. good luck,
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Old 06-24-2005, 08:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
The new indoor track is great news Dan!!! How far will it be from Kent? 15-20 min drive?
The track from what they said is about 3-4 blocks west of Ikea.
Next to the new over pass built there is where I think it is by but not positive. They said their target open date is August 1st. Cool, huh...
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:19 PM   #10
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NW you are about spot-on for the location. The track is in the SW corner of the building on the backside.

Wankel hang around in the NW forum and ask a few question all the locals will be glad to help out. There is also quite a NW rivalry and friends from Oregon up to B.C.

Oh and Ian it is about 15min form my office in Kent. Should make it easier to get some practice in especiallt in the Winter when it is a huge commute to get up to Rain City
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:26 PM   #11
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i firmly believe in supporting a local guy, but $100 bux more for a kit is an insult!! 95 % of the shop owners know there margin is made on there little stuff, parts and tires etc. my local sells cars about 10% higher than internet, and iv been coming to him long enuff he gives me a 10 % dicount on everything. the track is were they make 70 % of there income. i would talk to him, if you feel comfortable with the guy, let him know what you can get elsewhere. i believe its worth it to pay a slight increase over internet prices, but not 35% more. if he insists on not budgeing on price, buy the car from where you want to, race at his track, get parts from him. when he see's enuff people do this he will either wise up and say "hay these guys are my bread and butter and im not treating them right" and hell lower his prices, or hell just dissapear!
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:29 PM   #12
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Ian, Dan's at a sales meeting, somewhere close to Ikea store. From what I hear, there will be a lot more sales meetings in that area.
Fortunatly its only about 10 min, oops, he got a new blower drive gear for the Mini, make that 6min, from work.
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:37 PM   #13
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Wankle, (rotory?), all of the shops that have race programs around here will take good care of you. They will guide you in the right direction, saving you loads of money in the long run. You can tell them what you are interested in and rest assured that they set you up. Remeber, they want you to come back.
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:37 PM   #14
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Derf give me a few trips and it will be a 5:21 I know it is there.
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Old 06-24-2005, 10:16 PM   #15
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Thanks for the props, guys. I work at Burien Toyota, and sorry, we are not open on weekends. The next race weekend is 2nd, and 3rd of july. The saturday night starts at about 5 and I usually keep it open till late, especially when the weather is nice. I have been known to stay till 2 am just working on setups, and lines. As for sunday, track opens around 8:30 racing starts around 10am. As for the store, it is open 7:30am - 6pm / m - f.

As for the guy in west seattle, he used to race at burien. He is a nice guy. I have not been to the facility, I didn't realise its already open.

As for prices. As discused above. The reason a track is in business is to make money. If that also coincides with someones passion for the hobby, then they may not be as much in need for money, but for the love of helping people enjoy this wonderful fun hobby. Some shops are all about the net profit, others are about the people, and making sure they (you) are happy. I am sure I will see you around sometime. Say hi

Later
Kevin
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