Model Boat Mayhem

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Author Topic: The sad decline of the model shop  (Read 59185 times)

spearfish99

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #225 on: January 13, 2017, 06:07:55 PM »

 I am lucky that I still have a long established local model shop, which sells a bit of everything.  Though I do use the web for specialist items, I use the local shop for as much as I can as well as enjoying a natter there !
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Nemo

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #226 on: January 13, 2017, 07:36:13 PM »

In the past 10 years our local hobby shops within a reasonable distance drive have reduced from seven to one.
The survivor is more into trains and planes than boats and even then, more kits than parts, so we are hanging on by a thread, or should I say, sprue?
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skierdive

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #227 on: January 26, 2017, 07:57:16 PM »

I've long felt that the only shops worth visiting are model shops and second-hand bookshops. I buy a lot on the web, but you can't beat a good browse - and the chance of a serendipitous find.




My idea of heaven, i could spend all day in a model shop and a second hand book shop.


Ian
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cos918

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #228 on: February 26, 2017, 09:19:51 PM »

been reading about the business rate rise . Some business in the south are get over 100% increases . I wonder now more model shops this will effect
John
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TheLongBuild

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #229 on: February 26, 2017, 09:49:14 PM »


been reading about the business rate rise . Some business in the south are get over 100% increases . I wonder now more model shops this will effect
John


Not just Model shops with that sort of increase..

phil_parker

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #230 on: February 27, 2017, 03:34:21 PM »

 It's based on the value of the property. I suspect many model shops aren't in the high street locations that are attracting massive business rate increases so the headline figure might be a bit misleading.

Speaking to Bachmann, owners of Pocketbond, Trumpeter, Toysway, Timpo etc. , last month at the Toy Fair, they are seeing an increase in accounts overall. Not massive, but the number is going up.

As their T&C's require shops to have a physical shop over a certain size and with over a certain number of opening hours, this presumably means that places are opening. Not specific model boat ones, but model shops where you can buy paint, glue etc. Better than nothing and if modeller use them, they will thrive.
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cos918

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #231 on: February 27, 2017, 06:24:03 PM »

It's based on the value of the property. I suspect many model shops aren't in the high street locations that are attracting massive business rate increases so the headline figure might be a bit misleading.

Speaking to Bachmann, owners of Pocketbond, Trumpeter, Toysway, Timpo etc. , last month at the Toy Fair, they are seeing an increase in accounts overall. Not massive, but the number is going up.

As their T&C's require shops to have a physical shop over a certain size and with over a certain number of opening hours, this presumably means that places are opening. Not specific model boat ones, but model shops where you can buy paint, glue etc. Better than nothing and if modeller use them, they will thrive.


Why is it miss leading ? Shops in Westminster are expecting rises of over 100%. This was on TV,Radio and Newspaper. Ok not many model shops if any in Westminster . 4D models are not far away .   Yes it is based on property value . The south especially the south east has seen massive increase in value in the last 7 years .
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Nemo

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #232 on: February 27, 2017, 06:52:07 PM »

I agree that we should support our local model shop,( mine is a 40min drive away) but when you go into your local shop and ask for boat parts and you get a reply sorry do not do boat parts, as there are so few of you it is not worth us stocking any parts but I can sell you RTR boat.
Ask for any rod or strip over 12" long, you get sorry do not do it as it takes to long to resort it after some one has put it back in the wrong place,
Now if I was into Train's - Planes - Helicopter's or Car's then they would bend over back words for me.
So you see for me the Webb is the only way to go.

DD - I think (reading between your lines!) that we share the same shop! The word 'Hobby' may be in it's title?
I have been using this establishment since I took up this hobby some 8 years ago and have struggled with the previous owner (a flier!) to supply more boat bits and he did make an effort. I told his wife one day that I honestly supported them rather than get many things from the Internet, to which she gave me 10p/c off every time she served me! When the shop changed hands about a year ago it has gone downhill, as you say in favour of the few fliers, engine drivers and tankies etc, whereas we boaties are almost ignored for specific boat parts. Like you, I went looking for strip planking recently and what he produced was a pathetic handful of odd bits which were no good at all, but he let me have the lot for a quid. I doubt if he intended to get more in! I presume there is a lot more income elsewhere.  :((
Bob.
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MartinL

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #233 on: February 27, 2017, 07:07:58 PM »

Nemo, I think you,ll find that the model shop you talk about has lost all its model fliers as well. If your into trains or plastic kits your well in. I have recently got back into boats after a 15 year lay off, still keen flyer as well though, some mates and I traipsed across the county into West Sussex looking for boat stuff only to be told they don,t do much. We now do a bi monthly trip to Chatham and stock up there. Failing that it's tinted net.
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phil_parker

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #234 on: February 27, 2017, 09:25:02 PM »

Why is it miss leading ? Shops in Westminster are expecting rises of over 100%. This was on TV,Radio and Newspaper. Ok not many model shops if any in Westminster . 4D models are not far away .   Yes it is based on property value . The south especially the south east has seen massive increase in value in the last 7 years .

The headline figure is something SOME shops may face. They don't know the actual figures yet and even then there is transitional relief for a couple of years. Some will actually see a redution in business rates.

Most model shops are not based on the high street in London. Even 4D is in a backstreet well away from the pricier bits.

All I'm trying to do is be optimistic, or at least not all doom and gloom. Newspapers need to do this to sell copies but there's no need to for Mayhemers give up all hope. New model shops are opening, probably away from the SE of England where most of us live!
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #235 on: February 27, 2017, 09:36:21 PM »

Maybe it is time to promote your local model shop then?? Rather than concentrate on the negative aspects of the hobby. Not everyone has a model shop just round the corner and has to rely on Chinese imports, but if you know of somewhere supporting model boating..SHOUT IT OUT! Stop moping about, there is too much of that out there already..
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phil_parker

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #236 on: February 27, 2017, 09:44:50 PM »

Maybe it is time to promote your local model shop then?? Rather than concentrate on the negative aspects of the hobby. Not everyone has a model shop just round the corner and has to rely on Chinese imports, but if you know of somewhere supporting model boating..SHOUT IT OUT! Stop moping about, there is too much of that out there already..

Very sensible. Near me are no model boat specific shops, but:

Dolls Domain (www.dollsdomain.co.uk) stock wood, glue and paint. Also some 1:12 details that I've used on boats.
Classic Train and Motor Bus (www.ukmodelshops.co.uk/shops/136-ClassicTrainandMotorBus) stock paint, plastic and metals.

Both in Leamington Spa.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #237 on: February 27, 2017, 10:13:43 PM »

Model shops will only stock what people will buy and it is fairly clear from numerous posts on this and other Forums that most modellers prefer to go down the cheapest route even if this means ordering direct from China.

Colin
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Howard Q

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #238 on: February 27, 2017, 10:24:40 PM »

Yes I agree, our model shops are having a lean time, living as I do on an island,  Isle of Man, various items needed for our hobby of boat building are expensive or unable to be posted so I am pleased that our last remaining shop is still in being, the old adage, use it or loose it is very true, the lady who runs ours is extremely helpfull and tries to stock a good cross section of paints both in aerosol and tinlets along with balsa, ply and various glues, so it goes without saying I am a regular visitor, the shop is Model World Ramsey, :-)) (no connection with a similar name from the past), thus I will say a big thank you to her. Howard Q.
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #239 on: February 27, 2017, 10:34:57 PM »

Model shops will only stock what people will buy and it is fairly clear from numerous posts on this and other Forums that most modellers prefer to go down the cheapest route even if this means ordering direct from China.

Colin


Well, to misquote a film I have not seen...If you stock it, they will come.
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justboatonic

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #240 on: February 27, 2017, 11:47:16 PM »


Well, to misquote a film I have not seen...If you stock it, they will come.

Ive ran a retail outlet on the High Street for just over 4 years with my wife. It wasnt a model shop but we couldnt make it pay. We ended up losing 90k in cash by the time I had to close it down.

You say stock it and they will come. First, unless you specialise in one aspect of the hobby ie all cars or all boats or all planes, you're never going to stock 'everything' unless you have massively deep pockets. If you specialise in one aspect of the hobby, say, boats, then you're not getting any customers for cars or any aircraft related parts.

So you get a customer in and he says "Have you any 4 bladed clockwise rotation 5 bladed brass props, 80mm?" Damn, you've just sold your last one. So you say "Sorry but can order. Going to be 5 days and x.xx"

If the customer says Nah forget it, you've lost the sale. If the customer says ok, you've either got to 'make' a bigger order to make it worthwhile or you get stiffled by the wholesaler who has a minimu order amount (1 prop plus p&p) that's 10 please. So you tell the customer that'll be 10 please and he says forget it, i'll buy it for 5 quid off the net.

People dont realise how difficult it is to run a shop and the actual economics of it. Customer buys 1 or 2, shop owner has to buy 8 to 10 to have stock for 1 sale. If he's lucky, the shop owner might make a few pence profit on a single prop.
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roycv

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #241 on: February 28, 2017, 03:40:32 AM »

When I was a lad I would call into RipMax (Camden Town) every Saturday, pretty well everything that was available was in there. early 1950's.  I always bought something. 
Now there is just too much for any one shop, I have just returned from Oz and there is a model shop near Gosford I think, contents has to cover everything, model railways to dolls via drones and plastic kits.
I asked about a made up model sailing boat on display as I quite fancied it but it was a long gone kit so unavailable!  Not helpful to me but looked nice on display but pointless from a sales point of view.

My son wanted a code 75 curved left hand point and as mentined above it was just not a stock item.  Three weeks delivery and a deposit required and rather expensive.

A new retail model is needed, I am guilty also of shopping on line a lot.  Sunday afternoons seem to be my peak time.
Manufacturers launch their new kits ( Deans Marine ) at large German trade fairs which we are not invited to.  I did go to one in Germany (Nurenburgh) representing Model Boats magazine 25 years ago and it is an eye opener for what is available. 

However there is a failing on the on-line part of shopping as you may well not know something exists so do not look for it.  A visit to a shop or even trade fair might well start a new interest.  Maybe 'they' should let us in to trade fairs?

Having several interests is also useful as I remember answering a query many years ago from a boat modeller on where to find some handrail 'knobs' I pointed him at larger scale model railway spares where they are a common item.

I saw a new model railway product on ebay auctions going for bargain prices, now this has stopped and these items are only available from the web site.  I suspect that this is a shrewd guy who has just done a bit of very cheap advertising of his products.  I can buy a cheap esc for 5 free p&p wait 2 weeks and it is mine.  Bringing that sort of trade back to the UK or where ever is going to be difficult.

Someone is going to come up with the obvious solution and we shall say why did'nt I think of that?
 
Maybe an out of town super market with everything in stock a small lake and a flying field plus a model railway, lots of demonstrations, an associated club(s) perhaps?  You pay a small fee to get in or perhaps for parking and you buy and take it home with you. 
Going to cost a lot of money to set up though.
regards Roy
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Ron Rees

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #242 on: February 28, 2017, 06:50:07 AM »

Hi All,
All your comments I read with interest having been a modeller for 60 years and attempted most disciplines and interests, I also owned my own Model Shop, which has unfortunately gone, like so many others.
For purely financial reasons a shop owner must stock what sells the fastest and gives the best profit margins, in my time and probably the same today it was the current 'Fad' that helped pay the bills. In the 80's it was electric buggies and all their spares that kept us going, today it appears to be Drones.
I have always had a love of model boats but when I bought the shop I was into flying scale and as a business owner promoted trainers and all their kit offering trimming, first flight testing and to some even lessons, this helped increase the footfall from local aero clubs a bit but not much.
After the Fad of the time, it was keeping 'All the bits' one might need generally, including adhesives, balsa and ply, covering, paints, nuts and bolts and so on and all this stuff costs an absolute fortune.


Members of the Boat club I had been a member of a few years before started coming to the shop when they knew it was me who owned it and they bought a few bits but constantly asked me to start stocking Boat stuff, Lesro, Caldercraft, Billings kits etc soon joined the boxes on the shelves and then Couplings, propshafts, fuel tanks, marine engines and thicker plywoods and GRP resins...but hardly anyone ever came back and bought this stuff.
A K&S rack was a major purchase for a model shop and you had to have the whole thing including all the aerofoil and wing spar sections of brass. Apart from being the worse thing to stock take and restock, the price labels fell off the strips of metal and so on.


Anyway, now...over 30 years after closing the shop, I am still using my old stock of shafts, couplings, motors, K&S metals and strip hardwood planking!!!


Granted we have had a couple of recessions and you can't eat model stuff, but modellers are a fickle lot in the main and any shop owner who tries to please everyone, unless they have won the lottery, will go to the wall after a few years. The overheads to run such a shop are horrendous and from newspaper reports are likely to get worse.....The old adage is still a good one..."If you want to make a small fortune, start with a large one!"....very true of the model business.


Anyone thinking of trying to start a model business today, these are my recommendations, Don't give up the day job....Pick a niche in the market and don't deviate from it. Don't rent or buy a retail premises (Money PIT) work from your shed or garage. Don't borrow money from the banks to fund it, they'll take back the free umbrella they gave you for opening the account as soon as it starts to rain.


I drive 40 miles each way to support the nearest proper model shop to me, for all the rest...I'm afraid I buy it on line....It's desperately sad but we reap what we sow. It took me 15 years to financially get over the loss of the shop and we lost our house as well, so you can't blame me for being cynical........Let the Model shop buyer beware.


Ron.



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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #243 on: February 28, 2017, 08:04:40 AM »

Having had the pleasure of being in this business for about thirty years, and having been through the ups and downs of it more than I care to remember, here are my thoughts..
1) Never Listen To What Your Customer Thinks You Should Stock. They do not know what they are talking about, they are customers, and will desert you quicker than rats off a sinking ship. It is your business, you know what sells, don't fall into their trap. I have done this on occasion and it is really annoying. It would be nice for the customer to see a range of high price items on your shelf so that he can pick just one of them, but that does not guarantee that the rest will sell to other customers.
2) Never Fill The Shop With What You Think Are Great Products Because You Use Them In Your Hobby. You are in the model shop because you know what you are talking about. Joe Punter might not have the same appreciation of that weird Multiplex radio that you use, and would much rather have a forty quid stick set instead, stock lots of those and one of the decent set.
3) Don't Specialise. It would be nice to be the One Stop Shop for everything marine related, but that just aint possible, unless you are in a shed out in the wilds of England ( Well done by the way :-))  ). You need a broad spread of things on the shelf. Modelling is seasonal, outdoor stuff when the sun shines, plastic kits and railway in the wet winter months, slot cars just before and four months after Christmas, figures and materials for the architectural students in the Autumn and Spring, WWI tanks for school projects, the list goes on.
So, don't think it is easy because it isn't, but then again what is in this world?




So, here is us, Fratton Model Centre, 171/173 Fratton Road, Portsmouth, PO1 5ET 02392 827117,
sales@frattonmodelcentre.co.uk      sales@frattonmodelcentre.com


https://www.facebook.com/portsmouthhantsmodels/

We have been here since 1957 and have seen everybody else come and go, it has not been easy to say the least, but we have a decent customer base, cheers guys, you know who you are, and it is growing all the time. so pop in, watch me drink a cup of tea (we are not a tea shop you know), have a browse about, maybe pick up something for that next project. You can always suggest something we should stock, but I will refer you to rule 1) above.....

We cannot hope to stock everything, but we hope to make your shopping experience a little easier..

 :-))

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tigertiger

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #244 on: February 28, 2017, 08:25:21 AM »

Adding to what has been said by Ron Rees and Unbuiltnautilus.


You can select just a niche and work from your shed, OR stock a wider range. What is important is having a customer base who can access your products. In this day and age, this usually means an online presence, be it Facebook, or dot.com.
Fratton models has both these  :-)) , and the ability to sell online. It does not need to be online payment, it can be email sales.

The only small independent High Street retailers still in business in my hometown are those that are lucky enough to own their own premises. No mortgage, no rent. I think the only remaining hobby people seem to afford is throwing empty beer cans at the seagulls.

The phrase 'use it or lose it' is a bit of a cliche, and IMHO a bit of a cop out too. The world has moved on, like it or not. Even if we don't want or believe in any of these newfangled interweb/horseless carriage thingies. If Norman Tebbit's dad were alive and looking for work today, he would go online.

Much as we would like, we can't turn back time.

Just my 2c, but what do I know?
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Ron Rees

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #245 on: February 28, 2017, 12:21:15 PM »

30 years and still going, well done unbuiltnautilus...you have more stamina and drive than I managed, and thanks for the comment tigertiger.


Thinking about my average week back then and probably what yours is still like now, I'm sure the lovely boaters on here have little idea. Just a brief resume:-


Monday 10.00 till 6.00pm (No lunch breaks..sndwich or sausage roll on the go)..serving, unpacking and running shop. Tuesday ..same all day..7,30 till 10.00pm Running sponsored 1/10th car racing club. Wednesday...same as Monday plus doing the orders sheet for next day. Thursday 10.00 till 2.0pm, Afternoon off was spend going to model suppliers, Ripmax, Irvines, Model Technics etc in the van and buying from the warehouse. Thursday evening, pricing it all up and restocking shelves, Friday 10.00 til 8.00pm...late night, Saturday 10.00 till 6.00pm. Evenings Cashing up, totalling for the week, Banking (Wall Safe)...Sunday mornings...VAT, PAYE, paying bills, Doing the main ledgers...till two o'clock and if time going to the flying club, also helped to found that club.
Plus each day, Hoovering and wiping down before we opened...All day wrapping and taking Parcels to the Post office...changing window displays, tidying up and if any time left...repairing models for customers and sorting out problems.


Only one week holiday in 8 years and worried about the shop and staff all week, came home early to deal with a problem.
Add VAT inspectors, Reps at all hours, Inland Revenue..and the Banks...


What a fun life we had.............still I did enjoy it...but then...I am a bit mad.


Well done Frattons......I really hope you get all the support you obviously deserve. and I hope all your customers realise what a great shop they have....Must pop in when I'm in Pompey again.


Ron.
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #246 on: February 28, 2017, 12:30:28 PM »

Currently consuming a ham sandwich and cheese and onion crisps, while sat at the back of the shop going over emails ok2
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tigertiger

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #247 on: February 28, 2017, 12:35:26 PM »

Ah! Luxury. We don't have cheese and onion crisps here <:( . If they did I would put some into a ham sandwich  :-))  and chomp away. Two sugars with my tea.


Well mentioned about the out of hours stuff. Lots of people forget that shopkeepers don't just go home for the night when they shut up shop for the day.
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KOI

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #248 on: February 28, 2017, 12:39:19 PM »

Hi, thought I would add a controversial point of view.
The customer base is limited, so to drive profit, each shop needs to maximise the sales of the available demand. However the priority is doors open, lights on and available for business. To do this, you need to cover the costs on a daily and weekly basis. I don't see that there is any inducements for the modeller to buy from a shop when, prices, availability and lead times are inferior in the majority of cases. Don't forget how many times you buy from amazon, due to availability and lead time and then realise you have paid through the nose!
As someone who runs a couple a businesses with 30m in turnover, it is about retention of the customer base. Loyalty, incentive schemes work, upselling and cross selling are fundamental part of business these days, just look at the supermarket models.
I don't see anyone suggesting, that as committed members to a forum, an excellent one in that, that we would attract preferential prices, either directly or indirectly. A tie in between the forum and model shops, that wish to be associated with the forum, could be agreed. Forum members, could yield a discount from the model shops, based on 's spent, for every 50 spent, a 5% discount as an example, go back to the onset of this post, doors open, lights on.
Don't forget that it is us as consumers, that drive what the shops and internet providers offer. My piece complete on the topic
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #249 on: February 28, 2017, 12:46:10 PM »

Hi, thought I would add a controversial point of view.
The customer base is limited, so to drive profit, each shop needs to maximise the sales of the available demand. However the priority is doors open, lights on and available for business. To do this, you need to cover the costs on a daily and weekly basis. I don't see that there is any inducements for the modeller to buy from a shop when, prices, availability and lead times are inferior in the majority of cases. Don't forget how many times you buy from amazon, due to availability and lead time and then realise you have paid through the nose!
As someone who runs a couple a businesses with 30m in turnover, it is about retention of the customer base. Loyalty, incentive schemes work, upselling and cross selling are fundamental part of business these days, just look at the supermarket models.
I don't see anyone suggesting, that as committed members to a forum, an excellent one in that, that we would attract preferential prices, either directly or indirectly. A tie in between the forum and model shops, that wish to be associated with the forum, could be agreed. Forum members, could yield a discount from the model shops, based on 's spent, for every 50 spent, a 5% discount as an example, go back to the onset of this post, doors open, lights on.
Don't forget that it is us as consumers, that drive what the shops and internet providers offer. My piece complete on the topic

Interesting..more to follow..back to work :((
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