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PC: Hobby Shops

I've often had the experience of going to a hobby shop and asking for
something, only to be told that, "nobody models _______." (You can fill
in the blank with Penn Central, HOn3, Z Scale, &c.) This is usually code
for, "I don't want to try to keep a decent inventory. I just want to sell
only the fastest moving items." This is a sign to look for another hobby
shop. Another favorite phrase is, "we can order that." Many store owners
don't realize that if someone wanted to wait on a mail order they'd call
an 800 number from Model Railroader, saving gas, money and sales tax. If
you are fortunate to find a great hobby shop, be sure and patronize it. A
good shop learns its customers and their wants. If you model PC and
patronize a good hobby shop the owner knows what to do when he sees a new
PC release. The poor hobby shop assumes everyone models Pennsy, UP and
Santa Fe. I primarily model Louisville and Nashville; at one hobby shop
I'm usually told what new L&N product is out before I can get to the
shelf to see it. Guess where I spend the bulk of my hobby money?

Also, I have a question about hobby shop pricing. Here (Huntsville,
Alabama) most shops sell below list price. I've been to some towns where
everything is list price. I'm interested in knowing what the practice is
in other areas. Around here most modelers seem willing to pay a few bucks
extra on an HO locomotive to patronize local shops, while list price
sends them to the 800 numbers.

Bryan Turner

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