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Demise of Hobby Stores

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rocketron1948

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Yesterday I was in metro-Detroit and tried to visit one of my favorite hobby stores-the Riders Hobby Store on Five Mile Road in Livonia. I was disappointed to find that the store had closed. Riders was a big hobby shop chain in Michigan. In recent years their Michigan stores in Livonia, Canton and Lansing have closed. They also recently closed a store in Sylvania, Ohio.

On the plus side I believe their stores in Gramd Rapids, Ann Arbor and Linden (Flint) are still open. Stores like Red Arrow Hobbies and Commonwealth Displays are still hanging in there too-largely due to internet sales. So is Uncle Mike's Rocket Shack.

It is a shame that these stores have closed. I liked to buy a lot of my rocket kits and supplies there (particularly Estes stuff).

The tough economy and stores like Hobby Lobby have put them under-not to mention the internet. The Michigan economy is in bad shape.

Rocketron
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RocketT.Coyote

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We have just one hobby store in Saginaw, MI and another in Bay City. Neither are part of a chain. There is also a Michaels and a Hobby Lobby in Saginaw. There is also a Joann's Superstore where balsa, basswood and plywood can be had.
There were once two hobby shops in Bay City. One of them in the downtown area, closed several years ago. They used to sponsor a military modelling competition each year. Did well in those until it got to the point that you had to spend more on aftermarket detailing and accessories than on the actual model, just to place.
 

mach7

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I lost My favorite last year. Modelers Junction in Methuen Mass. He was mostly a train shop, but had a nice selection of plastic and Rockets. The owner said 10 of his best customers had died and he could not keep the store open. Too bad. I still have Hobby Emporium in Tyngsboro and The Spare Time shop in Southboro. Both are great stores.
 

sandman

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Yesterday I was in metro-Detroit and tried to visit one of my favorite hobby stores-the Riders Hobby Store on Five Mile Road in Livonia. I was disappointed to find that the store had closed. Riders was a big hobby shop chain in Michigan. In recent years their Michigan stores in Livonia, Canton and Lansing have closed. They also recently closed a store in Sylvania, Ohio.

On the plus side I believe their stores in Gramd Rapids, Ann Arbor and Linden (Flint) are still open. Stores like Red Arrow Hobbies and Commonwealth Displays are still hanging in there too-largely due to internet sales. So is Uncle Mike's Rocket Shack.

It is a shame that these stores have closed. I liked to buy a lot of my rocket kits and supplies there (particularly Estes stuff).

The tough economy and stores like Hobby Lobby have put them under-not to mention the internet. The Michigan economy is in bad shape.

Rocketron
NAR # 31475

When in the Detroit area again try "The Prop Shop" on Van Dyke just north of Nine Mile Road.

A pretty good selection, engines too but they are behind the counter.

Also try "Great Lakes Hobbies" on Van Dyke south of 23 Mile Road.
I haven't been there since they moved but they have a HUGE selection of Estes, Custom, some PML and some old MRC the last time I was there.

As for the Michigan economy...I don't want to talk about it...:(
 

Rocketlady

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Also try "Great Lakes Hobbies" on Van Dyke south of 23 Mile Road.
I haven't been there since they moved but they have a HUGE selection of Estes, Custom, some PML and some old MRC the last time I was there.

...:(
Great Lakes is now on Van Dyke near 18 Mile. The store is just a tad bigger than their old location, but not very well organized. They now keep all the paints and glues behind the counter. :(
 

Fred22

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We have one hobby shop here in the fort and the owner is a nice guy but his favourite phrase is I'll order that for you which says to me if i wanted to order I could have done it at home on the net. In edmonton they have Great Hobbies and some others like kites and other delights. Great hobbies has good service but the kites shop in the west ed kinda sucks. The selection is okay but everytime I ask the staff for help they make me feel like I am being a pain in the keester. I like dealing with guys like Gordon or Red Arrow via phone. I have to wait and postage is there but I get that friendly service folks talk about and selection is genrally not an issue. I like commonwealth that way too. These stores I hear some folks talk about in these threads sound really cool though :)
Cheers
Fred
 

rocketdad0934

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I lost My favorite last year. Modelers Junction in Methuen Mass. He was mostly a train shop, but had a nice selection of plastic and Rockets. The owner said 10 of his best customers had died and he could not keep the store open. Too bad. I still have Hobby Emporium in Tyngsboro and The Spare Time shop in Southboro. Both are great stores.
in the center of georgetown is pratts hobby he stocks all of your rocket needs as well as he will order something if it is not on the shelf his specialty is rc cars if that interests you. and peter pratt is a good man and needs our business.
 

Bravo52

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Having been part of a hobby shop business for many years, we found that small towns can only support so much business. One good all around store was good for about 300K to 400K people. We figured this out when we started opening stores in towns other than where our primary store was. What would end up happening is the other stores would either go out of business or migrate to a more specialty store like a "train only" type thing. The big box stores had little impact on the shop besides plastic models. We made up for that by carrying the specialty items that WalMart or Michaels didn't sell. Additionally, we had to reduce our margin on the plastic models to make them competitive. I looked at it along the lines on "selling the RC cars cheap so we could make a killing on the repair parts" type scenario. If we made 20% on a model, it was still worth carrying so we could sell the paints and glues ect....
The economy didn't have much impact on the sales. In the slow times, we sold more. People would drop the big-ticket items and spend money on the hobby. Take RC cars for example. We could put someone in a car, fuel and batteries for about $500. That was good for an entire season. Then over then next year, we'd sell another $3-5K more if the person got hooked. That is a lot cheaper than a boat.
I'll argue all day long that the economy (sans the extremes) has little to do with sales; it's more the demographics and good business sense.
 
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kelltym88

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Many of the smaller hobby stores out here are long gone. We do have Hobby People, but they're too expensive and very rarely have sales. We also have Michaels(who has coupons every week, but an OK selection) and Tall Mouse, who has a much better selection, but not many coupons. I think the Internet has a big part in the smaller stores closing.


And the economy, is your state saying they are going to be issuing IOU's for your tax returns? Well that's the story we're getting here in California.
 

Meat

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Try being in south west missouri :) Where I live we have a hobby lobby and two hobby shops that are in constant war with each other.Neither hobby shop sells rockets stuff. I went to one last week asked about rockets he showed me a small box with two models and a couple of chutes in it and said that all i have you can have the box for $10 . Every time I go into either shop they tell me to get a real hoby like rc trucks and bag on the other shop.
 

Fred22

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Try being in south west missouri :) Where I live we have a hobby lobby and two hobby shops that are in constant war with each other.Neither hobby shop sells rockets stuff. I went to one last week asked about rockets he showed me a small box with two models and a couple of chutes in it and said that all i have you can have the box for $10 . Every time I go into either shop they tell me to get a real hoby like rc trucks and bag on the other shop.
If they are giving you that kind of advice try our vendors section :)
Cheers
fred
 

luke strawwalker

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Try being in south west missouri :) Where I live we have a hobby lobby and two hobby shops that are in constant war with each other.Neither hobby shop sells rockets stuff. I went to one last week asked about rockets he showed me a small box with two models and a couple of chutes in it and said that all i have you can have the box for $10 . Every time I go into either shop they tell me to get a real hoby like rc trucks and bag on the other shop.

Sounds like some real winners... I wouldn't put up with that... VERY unprofessional. If they don't want to carry rocket items that's fine; no law says they have to service every end of the hobby market, but even if I did play with RC trucks, I wouldn't trade with a shop full of smart-butts like that. It's just poor form...

And life is too short to be caught in the middle of a peeing match between two shops...

Sounds like your best bet is online vendors, luckily there aplenty. OL JR :)
 

Meat

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yup sticking to online except basswood and balsa i scratch build mostly anyways
 

mach7

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in the center of georgetown is pratts hobby he stocks all of your rocket needs as well as he will order something if it is not on the shelf his specialty is rc cars if that interests you. and peter pratt is a good man and needs our business.
I had forgotten about Pratts Hobby. I used to drive by every so often, but have not been out that way for awhile. I'll stop by this week and say hi.

Thanks for reminding me.
 
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