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Author Topic: The sad decline of the model shop  (Read 59189 times)

Ron Rees

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #250 on: February 28, 2017, 05:58:57 PM »

Have to answer you there KOI.


I agree with what you say but compared to big business the British model shop is almost a cottage industry.
A lot of model shops will offer a discount to local club members but on most items the mark-up is very tight indeed. Items like sundries and stuff you buy in bulk and bag up yourselves can be discounted, but there is little leeway for bulk discounts on many of the larger items like kits and so on.
Back in the 1980's there were some selling battles going on, I was Chairman of the MHTF (Model Hobby Trade Federation) at the time and all the shop owner/members of that organisation  knew exactly what the main protagonist was up to. Buying every single one of a new shipment of popular kits and selling them on at cost. The idea being to draw customers to his business where they might buy the other bits needed for the kit. He also managed to wangle extra quantity discounts from suppliers, we couldn't compete.
In the end he went seriously bankrupt and took some suppliers for hundreds of thousands of pounds....needless to say his antics ensured that not only customers but suppliers and other traders walked away and wouldn't sell him anything at all..


Big business ideas only really work if you have serious clout and a lot of ready cash to threaten or back it up. He had neither and the trade suffered.


The main advantage to a well run and stocked model shop is the chance to learn from the experts, feel and look at the goods you are thinking about. Most model shops, certainly the ones who survived for any time were those that treated their customers well, were friendly, helpful and enthusiastic....That is what has been eroded over the years and a couple of quid off will never bring that back.


Ron.
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KOI

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #251 on: February 28, 2017, 07:50:29 PM »

Hi Ron, agree with the sentiments in your response. However, without appearing rude, if the shops don't change, there will be no shops. The biggest captive audience that the model shops have, is the modeller. The largest meeting point for the modeller is the largest modelling forum. Hence to promote the business they must entice the audience of the forum. The larger online companies, having the highest hit rates on the web, they have to stop the modeller at source from searching the web. I have a loyalty card for gardening products, which promotes that I look at them first. Hence I don't use a search engine for gardening products. Model shops cannot compete with most on line businesses due to overheads, selection etc, only service, knowledge and advice normally differentiate them from the crowd. Unfortunately the added value of the proprietor is undersold, when price and selection are involved
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #252 on: February 28, 2017, 08:35:56 PM »

Koi,

I think you are missing the point a bit. The basic reason for the closure of model shops is simply that there are far fewer modellers than there used to be. Years ago a local model shop would be supported by local footfall. That has all drained away now. To survive, a model shop needs mail order and online sales. If Fratton models offered 5% off for Mayhem members (how do you prove that?) I would not take advantage as it is a 1hr 15 minute's drive away from me and I can almost certainly get a better selection from Cornwall Model Boats online.

Also, whilst Mayhem may be a popular forum, it's ongoing membership is far smaller than the circulation of the two Model Boating magazines which also carry advertising so the average modeller will probably use one of those advertisers as first port of call.

There may be local exceptions but the reality is that the traditional local model shop is on its last legs and has been for a while now.

As has been said, times change and we need to adapt.

Colin
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KOI

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #253 on: February 28, 2017, 08:55:03 PM »

Hi Colin, understand your point, however I guess Nokia reverting to the basic principles of a mobile phone, the rebirth of the Record for music would not have happened had they have said things have changed, audience is smaller etc. I only offer a suggestion as to how the might of the Internet, sorry forgot to mention I used to work for Amazon, has changed the principles of shopping. 35% of all GDP is traded through the Internet, perhaps we should just roll over and accept no more human contact when we purchase. A halfway house might be support the independent model shop through on line purchases, you can talk to the expert and also purchase. I don't high street shop, but try to use the independent. Re the audience decline, the only option is diversification. A bigger basket of goods. Yes capital tied up in stock, but what other option does the retailer have.
We can moan, complain, but only actions will support the shops
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jarvo

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #254 on: February 28, 2017, 09:15:46 PM »

Howard Q, is the model shop in Douglas still there? it was in a small shopping center, on the 1st floor, seemed to mainly do cars but had some boat bits


Mark
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Howard Q

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #255 on: February 28, 2017, 09:38:24 PM »

Hello Jarvo. No, the shop has long gone, we only have the one in Ramsey now that you can call a model shop, like a lot of other shops this lady covers Airfix, Revell, Dolls House, some railway items, and a number of usefull items for boat builders, with only a small Island population she is working hard to keep everybody happy, she is the epitome of good old fashioned customer service, the small shopping centre you mention has been sold in it's entirety to Sports Direct and is being gutted, just one shop left, only time will tell what will happen, I am not holding my breath on a pleasing outcome. Howard Q.
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jarvo

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #256 on: February 28, 2017, 10:11:31 PM »

HI Howard, yes when we visited i managed to have a look at the Ramsey shop as well, very much a mixture of stock, what ever to stay in business, pity the "proper" shop has closed


Mark
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Kevgarth

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #257 on: February 28, 2017, 10:30:29 PM »

Again like so many have mentioned on here I think the model shop like other shops that specialize on the high street are struggling if you have a coffee shop well you seem to be doing alright??? Even at 4 a cup!!!
I agree with the gentleman who said there's not the people doing this hobby now that there were some years ago now without getting on a political issue here personally I think a lot was to do with the Sunday trading where for me my Dad would take me model boating on Sundays whether it was to the local lake or a national regatta, and when the Sunday trading started all families ended up walking around the shops instead of doing their hobbies or they be working.
I remember the Model Engineers Exhibition up at London as a kid in the early / mid 70's and WOW the choice of traders specializing in all sorts of different materials etc, I think this was before model boat kits were as big as what they are today as modelers then scratch built there models and the model shop was the place to get the items to help them build them. Its like the RTR models today you take them out the box and you turn the radio on and your away even the batteries are supplied in most RTR models, again if you didn't purchase the model from the local model shop they have not part to play with this product. Please don't think I'm knocking the kit or RTR models the choices out there are massive but with all the bits included there's no reason to go to the local model shop.
I live in Bristol which has two model shops one does a range of everything the other just concentrates on flying planes/helicopters and its been like that for some time now, as I remember visiting friends in Essex  years ago now and they took me to the Essex Model Centre in Harlow and they catered for all modelers there and it had far more stock and range than anything we had here in Bristol. I even understand that shops gone now? Its a great shame as this was pre-internet days but obviously it picked up on the north London and surrounding areas trade.


A friend of mine at work said to me a few weeks back even the kids that used to go fishing with there Dad's on weekends don't go anymore as he said when he grew up and on weekends he would go fishing with his father and granfather but the kids today don't want to go, so its not just the model boating that the younger generation don't want to get into anymore.


Regards
Kevin




     
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Howard Q

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #258 on: February 28, 2017, 10:38:41 PM »

Hi Jarvo. In all honesty we never had what you would call a shop dedicated to boats, even the Douglas one you mention was heavy into aircraft/helicopters and as you say rc cars, you get as many people at a football match as we have in total population, this is the reason for our brave shop carrying a cross section of items, my first model boat had to be ordered by a shop on the Island, and this had to slot in with a bigger order, this was over thirty years ago so things have not changed very much, As can be appreciated for me mail order for special items is a necessary evil, although I try to use just UK retailers. I can say I have always had first class service. Howard Q.
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #259 on: March 01, 2017, 12:00:05 AM »

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


On the subject of discounts. Over the years we have offered discounts for club members, model boat and railway and aircraft clubs. The problem was that they were a majority of your customer base. So, in effect you were reducing most of your profit on most of your products. Great in the Boom years, not so good in the Bust years.
Recently we have first reduced, and now done away with our club discounts. If you want to survive, you have to be ruthless. Now, an interesting thing has happened, which goes against some comments and suggestions about the Great British Buying Public. When given the choice of a 5% discount, or a well stocked model shop, all bar one person went with the well stocked shop, happily. The lone voice against may have been joshing about, but to be sure, we took him out the back and had him shot :} .
Which makes Joe Customer just that bit more wise in my eyes. We have to back up their support with product at a decent price, there is no need to be the cheapest out there, just don't take the p**s with inflated, silly prices. Where we are in Portsmouth, higher price point stuff is a no-no anyway, Pompey has a bit of a glass ceiling, which keeps us grounded ( It also makes our second hand boats pretty decently priced..plug plug!!). Also the Pompey mentality makes us stubborn!!
Anyway, it is midnight and I have to be elected Chairman of the PMBDT tomorrow, if not, more time for modelling :-))
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phil_parker

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #260 on: March 02, 2017, 07:26:14 PM »


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



My parents are in Portsmouth for a holiday at the moment. Yesterday, my dad rang me to rave about Frattons, telling me what a superb shop it was. Excellent stock and very helpful.

Sounds like you are doing something right. He bought a few bits last time and will probably drop in on his way home tomorrow.

All in all, it sounds like you know what you are talking about!
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Yarpie

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #261 on: March 02, 2017, 08:20:36 PM »


Of far greater importance "unbuiltnautilus", how went the PMBDT election?

Much better than the recent American one, and with far less acrimony one would hope :} .

Having been a retailer I would thoroughly agree with much of what has been said on this thread about the exigencies of selling model boat accessories to the great unwashed. One of the deeper pitfalls was to accede to the wishes of punters who wanted that "special item" and never to turn up to purchase/collect. That is a recipe to an over full stockroom of unsaleable items, given time.

Sandy.
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #262 on: March 02, 2017, 11:49:06 PM »

My parents are in Portsmouth for a holiday at the moment. Yesterday, my dad rang me to rave about Frattons, telling me what a superb shop it was. Excellent stock and very helpful.

Sounds like you are doing something right. He bought a few bits last time and will probably drop in on his way home tomorrow.

All in all, it sounds like you know what you are talking about!


I deny everything :}
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #263 on: March 02, 2017, 11:55:00 PM »

Of far greater importance "unbuiltnautilus", how went the PMBDT election?

Much better than the recent American one, and with far less acrimony one would hope :} .

Having been a retailer I would thoroughly agree with much of what has been said on this thread about the exigencies of selling model boat accessories to the great unwashed. One of the deeper pitfalls was to accede to the wishes of punters who wanted that "special item" and never to turn up to purchase/collect. That is a recipe to an over full stockroom of unsaleable items, given time.

Sandy.


We have some of those 'special order' items knocking about, mostly RC Car bits though. Specialised boat bits...that's just selling sand to Laurence of Arabia, my other chosen specialist subject, never been stuck with a weird boat bit..maybe that Marx Variable Pitch Prop Assembly...and the Hawn Bilge Pumps, but that is going back some years..


Chairman Unbuiltnautilus, but you can call me Sir.
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derekwarner

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #264 on: March 03, 2017, 02:35:34 AM »

No not Sir....how about ..         "The Honourable Sir UBN Esquire"  ?.......

ha ha... congratulations.......Derek
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U-33

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #265 on: March 03, 2017, 08:53:34 AM »

All hail to the Most Reverend UBN, Chairman and all round boss man. Arise, you Pompey subjects...arise, and salute your Master!!
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Rich

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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #266 on: March 03, 2017, 10:07:46 AM »

All hail to the Most Reverend UBN, Chairman and all round boss man. Arise, you Pompey subjects...arise, and salute your Master!!

You know what, that is almost word for word, what my subjects will be expected to say at our next event!
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U-33

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #267 on: March 03, 2017, 10:19:27 AM »

You can hold the card of Vanquis...


 ;)
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Rich

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surfs up

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #268 on: March 03, 2017, 02:18:33 PM »

You know what, that is almost word for word, what my subjects will be expected to say at our next event!
Never underestimate the resistance. <*<
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #269 on: March 03, 2017, 04:54:02 PM »

Never underestimate the resistance. <*<

YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE REBEL ALLIANCE AND A TRAITOR!!!  I'll get you!

A little off topic, but you customers make me like this!!!
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U-33

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #270 on: March 03, 2017, 04:56:38 PM »

I sense a deep disturbance in the Force....








(especially in Portsmouth.....)
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Rich

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Shipmate60

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #271 on: March 03, 2017, 05:59:32 PM »

Sir, didn't know you had been knighted.
Always has been and always will be "Watch-that-Alan"
Always a good supply of insults in a "nice" way, but have noticed the coffee has dried up.


Bob
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Stavros

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #272 on: March 03, 2017, 06:43:43 PM »

Arise SIR  Alan......
Milk 2 sugars in my coffee please




Dave
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Yarpie

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #273 on: March 03, 2017, 07:37:50 PM »


An appointment not before time, dare I venture Your Excellency. :D

Here's wishing you fair winds and calm seas.

That also goes for Fartin' Model Shop .......... just to remain on-topic. O0

WHAT typo ... ??

Sandy.
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Model shop closure
« Reply #274 on: March 03, 2017, 08:11:28 PM »

Why thank you gentlemen. Who knew the way to a modellers heart ( or wallet! ) was through a simple cup of coffee...
Don't hold your breath, times is 'ard mate!!
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