hobby lobby, joannes, and michaels

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Pappy

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went to hobbylobby last night, which is unusual for me because my first experience with them, before they opened a store in my area, was hearing that they had gotten snagged trying to illegally import religious artifacts into the US. this is beyond odd, and approaches the surreal, so i just avoided them altogether. The first time i went, a while back, i saw an immediate and even eerie similarity in the store layout to both joannes and michaels, so i didn't stay long. the michaels close to me has no rocket stuff, and little other cool man-boy distractions. lots of great art and crafty stuff, though, and great coupons, so i like michaels, but if hobby lobby is just more of the same, why stay?

last night i fully explored the local HL inventory, and i was pleasantly surprised at the glaring differences between them and the the other two craft stores. they had many rockets, stuff i haven't seen elsewhere (like the olympus and cherokee e) and the prices were good! i was shocked. lots of balsa in stock and many plastic kits (i found two military kits on clearance... 7.50 each! reg 30 bucks. sweet!), great selection of metal earth stuff, PLUS most of the stuff the craft-centric stores stock.

now... joannes fabrics. do NOT buy rockets at joannes lol. i'm guessin' most of this community already know that. 24.99 for an alpha. the msrp is 18.99! if they're willing to fleece the ignorant on rockets, i'm thinkin' they'd do it for everything. joannes can suck it.
 

Scott_650

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This is NOT a defense of any of the activities, beliefs or attitudes of the people who own/control Hobby Lobby, but the stores/company didn’t muck about with illicit imports of culture items - HL president Steve Green was the person who bought shadily acquired artifacts and got caught. So yeah, you can make the point the HL is a source for the money Mr. Green used to buy a Gilgamesh tablet from Iraq among a whole bunch of other “stones and bones” - but he was a weird rich dude before HL. And I know this is a reductio ad absurdum argument but if the less than ethical actions of corporate, political, entertainment, sports, etc figures would deter someone from doing business with the companies associated with them they may as well become hermits in a cave - there’s plenty of slimy behavior to go around! But if folks don’t care for the way HL does business and choose to shop elsewhere that’s a reasonable stance - there’s plenty of great rocketry vendors out there to pick from.
 

Five

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went to hobbylobby last night, which is unusual for me because my first experience with them, before they opened a store in my area, was hearing that they had gotten snagged trying to illegally import religious artifacts into the US. this is beyond odd, and approaches the surreal, so i just avoided them altogether. The first time i went, a while back, i saw an immediate and even eerie similarity in the store layout to both joannes and michaels, so i didn't stay long. the michaels close to me has no rocket stuff, and little other cool man-boy distractions. lots of great art and crafty stuff, though, and great coupons, so i like michaels, but if hobby lobby is just more of the same, why stay?

last night i fully explored the local HL inventory, and i was pleasantly surprised at the glaring differences between them and the the other two craft stores. they had many rockets, stuff i haven't seen elsewhere (like the olympus and cherokee e) and the prices were good! i was shocked. lots of balsa in stock and many plastic kits (i found two military kits on clearance... 7.50 each! reg 30 bucks. sweet!), great selection of metal earth stuff, PLUS most of the stuff the craft-centric stores stock.

now... joannes fabrics. do NOT buy rockets at joannes lol. i'm guessin' most of this community already know that. 24.99 for an alpha. the msrp is 18.99! if they're willing to fleece the ignorant on rockets, i'm thinkin' they'd do it for everything. joannes can suck it.
Joannes has rockets? I did not know that. I might have to stop by.
 

Scott_650

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Joannes has rockets? I did not know that. I might have to stop by.
Some do, some don’t - our local store only had rocket stuff during the Christmas holiday shopping season and the prices weren’t great. Though I have on rare occasions snagged some heavily discounted motors in January when my wife typically shops from wrapping paper and Christmas decorations 😆
 

Pappy

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...HL president Steve Green was the person who bought shadily acquired artifacts and got caught. ...
you make good points. i wasn't dogging HL, and i had read that it was top guy doin' the deed, just explaining why it took me this long to get in there and shop. i did patronize the store. overall i think i gave a good impression of the place. not so much for joannes house o' we don't give a s*
 

Bill S

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This is NOT a defense of any of the activities, beliefs or attitudes of the people who own/control Hobby Lobby, but the stores/company didn’t muck about with illicit imports of culture items - HL president Steve Green was the person who bought shadily acquired artifacts and got caught. So yeah, you can make the point the HL is a source for the money Mr. Green used to buy a Gilgamesh tablet from Iraq among a whole bunch of other “stones and bones” - but he was a weird rich dude before HL. And I know this is a reductio ad absurdum argument but if the less than ethical actions of corporate, political, entertainment, sports, etc figures would deter someone from doing business with the companies associated with them they may as well become hermits in a cave - there’s plenty of slimy behavior to go around! But if folks don’t care for the way HL does business and choose to shop elsewhere that’s a reasonable stance - there’s plenty of great rocketry vendors out there to pick from.
If so, then people shouldn't do business with Nike because their shoes were being produced by slave labor by the Uighurs, who the Chinese were in the process of exterminating. Look up what the Chinese have done to that ethnic minority (Muslim Chinese)f - its very Nazi-like, but people don't care one whit. Or Apple because they were making "obscene" levels of profit by having their Iphones made by Chinese workers who worked 16 hour days and lived in essentially company slavery, but that gets overlooked too. There are plenty of examples of companies doing unethical/scumbag things, but people only look at what the item costs and thats it.
 

Scott_650

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If so, then people shouldn't do business with Nike because their shoes were being produced by slave labor by the Uighurs, who the Chinese were in the process of exterminating. Look up what the Chinese have done to that ethnic minority (Muslim Chinese)f - its very Nazi-like, but people don't care one whit. Or Apple because they were making "obscene" levels of profit by having their Iphones made by Chinese workers who worked 16 hour days and lived in essentially company slavery, but that gets overlooked too. There are plenty of examples of companies doing unethical/scumbag things, but people only look at what the item costs and thats it.
Yup - one of the reasons I really enjoyed The Good Place TV show was the way they made it clear that it’s impossible in today’s multilayered, interconnected world to make purely ethical decisions - all you can do a great deal of the time is make the least bad choice. Though when it comes to Nike shoes I don’t like the fit so I’m pretty much an Asics guy and I get frustrated whenever I have to use my wife’s iPhone - Androids just seem more intuitive to me, but I grew up with 8088 and 286 processor PCs so that’s probably a factor.
 

Woody's Workshop

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Joannes is high on prices across the board from I've looked at.
However, they have some kind of reward program which may offset the higher prices?
But why go through all that, paying more up front, waiting to build up points or whatever, and then get one good deal.
I'm sure Joannes has decent prices on sewing, material and other stuff, something I don't really look at prices on.
Or they would out of business due to high prices and lack of sales.
You just have to pick from what you need from the stores that sell it for the best price, which includes a little time to find that out.
If money is of no concern (It sure is for me!), it might be a shorter drive than other stores if you can't wait for delivery thru online shopping.
 

Pappy

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I'm sure Joannes has decent prices on sewing, material and other stuff, something I don't really look at prices on.
yup, that place is fabric r us. they take that stuff seriously. i'm not that into clothes, but if i was that place would be the jam. still irritates, though, when a i see a $25 Alpha. if that rocket were reasonably priced, maybe some wandering mom would buy it for their kid, and bam! we got another true believer.
 

Blast it Tom!

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Joannes is high on prices across the board from I've looked at.
However, they have some kind of reward program which may offset the higher prices?
But why go through all that, paying more up front, waiting to build up points or whatever, and then get one good deal.
I'm sure Joannes has decent prices on sewing, material and other stuff, something I don't really look at prices on.
Or they would out of business due to high prices and lack of sales.
You just have to pick from what you need from the stores that sell it for the best price, which includes a little time to find that out.
If money is of no concern (It sure is for me!), it might be a shorter drive than other stores if you can't wait for delivery thru online shopping.
Joanne's seems to have a business model like Kohl's. Shelf prices are 1.5 miles past ludicrous, but if you are on their mailing list, cell phone "app"*** and rewards program, then you never pay full price for anything. Michael's is worse, you don't even get the coupons.

My wife sews and she says it doesn't begin to pay you to make clothes anymore, with fabric north of $10/yd often, and yarns at $7-$10 or more a skein. It's kinda ridiculous, but they keep the doors open somehow.

***I hate the term "app". And now Applebee's and other places are starting to apply the term to appetizers. Or should I say, they are app'ing the term to appetizers? Up the confusion level a notch? </rant off>
 

MJW

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Hobby Lobby == Chick-fil-A

Without getting into any sort of religious or political commentary, I wouldn't give either of those businesses a penny. There are other options, better ones and worse ones that will always win my business. I can go without food or miss a launch, but I can't live with the thought of supporting people like that. Boycott for life.
 

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Hobby Lobby == Chick-fil-A

Without getting into any sort of religious or political commentary, I wouldn't give either of those businesses a penny. There are other options, better ones and worse ones that will always win my business. I can go without food or miss a launch, but I can't live with the thought of supporting people like that. Boycott for life.
That is nice thing about America. That is your right. Fortunately, for everyone of you, there are 5-10 of me.
 

MJW

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Completely agree with you. It is great to live in somewhere that has enough options for people to have real choices about where to spend money and where to withhold it from.

For those who are interested here is the background on how HL looted Iraq during the occupation and as since disappeared hundreds of artifacts that were ordered returned to Iraq. These are now lost to science and may never be seen by anyone but rich collectors ever again. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobby_Lobby_smuggling_scandal
 
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afadeev

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That is nice thing about America. That is your right. Fortunately, for everyone of you, there are 5-10 of me.
Is that a hyperbolic "5-10 of me", or do you actually have numbers to back that up ?

Love them or hate them, Hobby Lobby opens one store per week somewhere.
Is that true, actually?
I'm genuinely curious.

I had been driving to 3 of the local HL stores (within ~50 miles of my house), and over the past ~5 years, all have significantly reduced inventory of rocketry components, stopped stocking all 29mm motors, and raised prices. In the nearest store, what used to be ~12-18 foot wide shelf-space of rocketry gear on the shelves has been squeezed into 6'-wide shelve space, and moved further back in the store. I ran into an talked to the manager, who explained that he doesn't really do inventory in the traditional way (owners do not allow managers to use bar codes, or bar code scanners), and no-one told him that rocketry supplies were selling. I said I had been buying them for years - he just shrug the shoulders and walked away.
2 out of 3 HL locations have decayed into the look and feel of a K-mart store a year or two before those went of business. Way too many empty shelves, floors that are dirty, burned out lights that don't get replaced, etc. Just unattractive places to visit.

Personally, I was not boycotting HL for political reasons (although there seams to be more of those than I realized). I googled, and wasn't prepared for the results:

At the same time, it's been more than year since I patronized one, or recommended one as a destination to someone else. I stopped adding them to my shopping stop itinerary after they removed rocketry supplies from eligibility for 40% OFF coupon, then abolished 40% coupon altogether. Effectively, they've raised prices while reducing the inventory of things I would want to buy.

Not a strategy that appeals to me, at all.
 

cwbullet

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Heck, you can't even get into a chick-fil-a here. The lines often back onto the streets. I do not need numbers to know they are doing good amount of business. As far as Hobby Lobby, I think they are expanding into most neighborhoods that I see. They have a very successful business model. Is it hyperbole, time will tell.
 

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Here's the bottom line about Hobby Lobby and Michaels. would you rather shop and spend your money with a firm that at least makes an effort to stand up for traditional American values, or a firm that has thrown all that to the dumpster and jumped on the diversity bandwagon? As for HL, I wouldn't be too quick to believe the propaganda you've heard. Either about them, or Chick Filet. On the other hand, Michaels leaves no doubt their position. Their website is littered with that militant diversity nonsense. I don't care for this political division and polarity any more that a lot of people. The 2 cannot and will not co-exist. I choose Hobby Lobby.
 

Pappy

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i started this thread to compare the basic business models of the three companies in relation to rocketry, not to have a moral debate. i think most of us here are traveled enough to realize these righteous diatribes are pointless. the comment made about 'the good place' was awesome.

... it’s impossible in today’s multilayered, interconnected world to make purely ethical decisions - all you can do a great deal of the time is make the least bad choice...
for myself, i believe in compassion, acceptance, and the golden rule (and a really BIG build pile...so many roc to build...). simple stuff. this includes accepting that i'm just me, and everybody has opinions and a crack down the middle of their ass. There are, as yet, no proven examples of absolutes in the universe. hobby lobby is not evil, nor is walmart. do they red-line the needle? yeah, i think so, but that is why corporations exist, to circumvent moral and legal responsibility. most of the stuff we buy at the supermarket is produced by companies that simply don't care if we die from it. last i checked, hobby lobby wasn't actively trying to poison me.

also want to point out, without pointing fingers or shaming, that "militant diversity" is not a thing.

hope y'all have a great monday, and that everybody you interact with is nice to ya. :)
 
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MJW

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for myself, i believe in compassion and acceptance, and the golden rule. simple stuff. and a really BIG build pile... so many rocs to build....
 

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To heck with all three of them. Rocketry is an afterthought to their business models. I used to go to Michaels for the occasional piece of balsa or plywood. Now that stuff doesn't exist anymore on their shelves. I am not wasting my time driving around town or clipping coupons for merchandise that is rarely available.

I'll do my shopping where rocketry is the primary business and caters to me. If I gotta have a screaming deal, then I'll look to ACSupply, BMS, Wildman, or even Apogee Rewards.

And yes, Chik-fil-A is packed with customers all the time, 6 days a week. I'm pretty sure it's about the food, not the politics.
 

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I found Michaels' had some foam I wanted to use as a mandrel.
In stock ~15 miles away at the third closest store.

If you order more than $35, they send it via currier (dasher).

Had them within 45 minutes - about half the time of a round-trip from my house.

I absolutely hate to goto their stores - but this is awesome.
 

Antares JS

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I'm sad that Michael's doesn't carry rocket stuff anymore to be honest. In the late 90's a Michael's in the St. Louis area supplied 10-year-old me with all my rocket needs. The only sad thing was I was limited to the kits they carried, but ignorance was bliss in that case when it comes to what I was missing out on at that time. Regardless, I have some nostalgia for buying rocket stuff at Michael's.

Hobby Lobby is the only place within (somewhat) reasonable driving distance of me that carries rocket stuff. The nearest actual hobby shops I know of are in Seaford, DE and Easton, MD.

I mostly buy Estes motors and wadding, along with paint, glue, and tools at Hobby Lobby. Even then, the motor selection is occasionally a source of aggravation as they only carry the most commonly recommended ones. They don't carry C11's at all, and only the most commonly-used delays of certain motors - they have B6-4's but not B6-2's. They also do not have D12-0's or E12-0's. I only very rarely buy kits there. They do not have the high-end ones like the Saturns that I would usually go for.
 

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Is that true, actually?
I'm genuinely curious.
I couldn't find annual numbers but wikipedia says that they had 50 stores in 1992, and 900 stores in 2020. The math says that, on average, they were opening 30 stores per year over those three decades so, assuming that the rate would be slower at first and accelerate as they got larger, one per week definitely seems reasonable, or close to it.
 

Rob Caswell

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To heck with all three of them. Rocketry is an afterthought to their business models.
Here, here! I'd much rather support the businesses that focus on our hobby, like eRockets, Apogee, Sirius, AC Supply, and others. I value their service and want to see them stay around. And when it comes to brick and mortar stores, I support the small local hobby shops whenever possible. They're a vanishing breed - and are FAR better at stocking the kind of things we need and speaking about them with some knowledge.
 

Blast it Tom!

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Yes. I buy from my local hobby shop whenever possible, and the on-line vendors only for what my LHS doesn't sell. He's a great guy and has a wide-ranging and VERY well-stocked store, and even employes an L1 rocketeer (and other enthusiasts in their fields, RC, scale modeling, trains, diecast, etc.) It's a great place to shop.
 
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rklapp

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Here, here! I'd much rather support the businesses that focus on our hobby, like eRockets, Apogee, Sirius, AC Supply, and others. I value their service and want to see them stay around. And when it comes to brick and mortar stores, I support the small local hobby shops whenever possible. They're a vanishing breed - and are FAR better at stocking the kind of things we need and speaking about them with some knowledge.
Agree. However as Bill mentions in the video above, they need to get the starter kits in the hands of children so they can grow up and spend their discretionary income on the excellent vendors you listed. Yes, Walmart will drain your soul but it's a huge potential account. (I'm not sure if they're stocking there yet.) Yes HL is a bunch of religious dicks, but it's a huge account also and a vital outlet for children. These megastores are necessary for fomenting the hobby until they get bored of their offerings and reach out to better vendors.
 

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Agree. However as Bill mentions in the video above, they need to get the starter kits in the hands of children so they can grow up and spend their discretionary income on the excellent vendors you listed. Yes, Walmart will drain your soul but it's a huge potential account. (I'm not sure if they're stocking there yet.) Yes HL is a bunch of religious dicks, but it's a huge account also and a vital outlet for children. These megastores are necessary for fomenting the hobby until they get bored of their offerings and reach out to better vendors.
One point we, the “hardcore” rocketeers, seem to forget - rklapp hits close to the mark - is that we’re NOT Estes primary customers. Distributors, retailers and the customers they serve (youngsters and the people who buy stuff for them) along with educational/institutional buyers are the primary customers. And Estes main income producing items are motors. IIRC they sell six to ten motors per kit - and even though the math doesn’t quite work out, they only plan on three to four flights per rocket. That Estes serves the hobbyist market at all is awesome - though without us, most likely, they’d have long faded away (trying to be a toy company that sells rockets almost killed the company back during the days of ownership by Damon). We’re the “yeast” that keeps the company rising, so to speak. Having sustainable, contracted sales agreements with major distributors and retailers is the lifeblood of the “luxury” ephemeral goods vendor world - if you want to think of the current agreements with HL and Target (and any future agreement with Wal-Mart) as “deals with the devil” that’s certainly a defensible position but without them I’m not sure we’d have Estes around in any recognizable form. And, quite frankly, without Estes at the entry-level hobby rocketry would be an even smaller and more rarified (read “expensive” - think live steam model railroading…) niche hobby than it already is.

Just to head off anyone who construes this as some kind of defense for the attitudes and actions of the people who own HL it isn’t - to be blunt I’m not particularly interested in those things - no more than I’m interested in what the owners of Coca Cola, Levi’s, GM, Circle K, the Chicago Cubs, DHL, etc…. think or believe…
 

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Really scary of some of the posts here where people find diversity and acceptance such a bad thing…..you all have the American Right to support companies with your pocketbook….and those you find not living up to your standards you should pass by…don’t give them a dime. Same should/could work for states and their economies…. :)

just my 2 cents is all…
 
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