Vanishing hobby stores

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Art Upton

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Not sure what this is all about or if it is nation wide, like the dearth of new automobiles at the dealerships*, but I have a bad feeling that this is symptomatic of something worse heading our way.

*Ford has no Torus, or Fusion's, Dodge/Chrysler has no Chargers, Challengers or 300's, Chevrolet has no Impalas, Malibu's etc., etc., etc., etc.
It is a global issue ... due to planed what ever
 

Art Upton

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I have no idea why folks say , "Let us not make this about politics." Any free thinking person can see everything around us for decades and now has always been about politics. Anything else is just being blind and deaf...
 

CalebJ

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I have no idea why folks say , "Let us not make this about politics." Any free thinking person can see everything around us for decades and now has always been about politics. Anything else is just being blind and deaf...
Rule #1
 

hball55

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That might just be bad luck. If it happened to me, I might ask them if I should get my paint at the nearest Walmart instead.
ROFL, Walmart in my town has the worst stocked paint shelves I have ever seen. Try buying flat white primer or glass white paint . . . always empty.
 

hball55

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Rule #1
The Watering Hole is the exception to that . . . until things get real heated.
 

CalebJ

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That list is posted -in- the watering hole. Where did you see an exception to it?
 
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Buckeye

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I'd be surprised if REI currently has any bikes in stock to sell. Nobody else does. My local WalMart's bicycle department is absolutely empty of bicycles as is two shops that I am aware of even their stock of parts and accessories is down to practically nothing.

Not sure what this is all about or if it is nation wide, like the dearth of new automobiles at the dealerships*, but I have a bad feeling that this is symptomatic of something worse heading our way.

*Ford has no Torus, or Fusion's, Dodge/Chrysler has no Chargers, Challengers or 300's, Chevrolet has no Impalas, Malibu's etc., etc., etc., etc.
Any and all brick and mortar stores are wiped out of inventory right now, the repercussions of lockdowns. As for the bikes, it may be a shortage of metals. Manufactured goods and services in the USA have worker shortages, too. Many of those people prefer to sit on their asses and collect unemployment and stimulus checks from their sugar daddy government, instead of returning to the job force.

The automobile brands you mentioned are all ICE coupes and sedans. The automakers have abandoned cars all together in favor of trucks and SUVs, and are ramping up electric vehicles.
 

CalebJ

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You must be against free thinking IMHO... so be it... you are now known for that ... for all here to know... and you do not post your real name like I do...
Fascinating - honoring the agreement that you and I chose to sign to join the site means I'm 'against free thinking'?
And you're very, very brave for posting your last name on a rocketry forum. So bold. I stand in awe.
 

High Desert Rocketry

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Indeed. I remember mail ordering climbing ropes, figure-8s, and carabiners from REI's newspaper-like catalog. Now REI is the place where suburban housewives buy overpriced NorthFace jackets.
I still remember when North Face claimed all their products were made in the USA. I was going on a climbing trip in (1973?) and had bought a pack but it was missing the ice ax loop. Since I would be driving past San Francisco I thought I would stop buy and see if they could sew one in. Their factory floor was a sea of goose down floating around as you walked and it looked like they were employing contract workers on the sewing machines from Asia. Not sure what they do now.

Fortunately, most rocketry products are still being made in the USA.

I noticed the change at REI started in the 80s when they brought on Walley Smith (as I recall, from Sears Roebuck) as the CEO. https://archive.seattletimes.com/archive/?date=20000208&slug=4003884 While working there, I noticed many of the REI branded products were beginning to come from China and at the time, we had many returns...tents missing loops for the poles, product weight 30% more than listed, etc Many times I would inspect items before members purchased...quality over the years of products from China has improved.
I appreciated working there part time while going to school. Did lots of in-service projects...trail building, in-store classes, etc, and met lots of members there that are still climbing friends. Well, back in our younger days ;)
 
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High Desert Rocketry

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Same. I remember standing in line to get cheap ice tools and gear. I also remember when North Face got out of climbing, and all the climbing gear was half off.

Now REI is just a lifestyle retailer for the Pradagonia crowd. My REI card and membership have lapsed.
REI membership is Lifetime. For a few years they gave us employee 'membership cards' to give to shoppers to try and sell them memberships.
 
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icyclops

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There have been several articles about thus in our local newspaper and I've seen several online discussions about it. Apparently, with everyone staying home more, sales of bicycles, and virtually all outdoor equipment, went through the roof. Stress everywhere sold out, warehouses emptied, and the supply chain hasn't been able to keep up. This has been seen in everything from fishing tackle, to kayaks, bicycles, and anything "outdoorsy." Coastal Pets is a large local maker of stuff for your dogs, cats, and other pets (like leashes) and they've added shifts and been hiring like mad throughout the pandemic and still can't keep up.
All COVID related....China’s factories were hit hard all the way down to the supply chain....micro chip shortage is hitting now...you will see shortages to all types of products that use higher end chips....cars included. Yes it is amazing to see the effects of this...
 

mooffle

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All COVID related....China’s factories were hit hard all the way down to the supply chain....micro chip shortage is hitting now...you will see shortages to all types of products that use higher end chips....cars included. Yes it is amazing to see the effects of this...
File this under reasons I keep Pentiums and PPCs on hand... 😋
 

icyclops

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You can specify grain and/or density (if I recall correctly). I wonder if they sort all the wood by weight and grain when they get it, or if they only go picking through it when someone orders hand-picked. I'm guessing the latter, but I dunno.

Honestly, I can no longer imagine buying balsa without specifying density. Before I learned to weigh it in the store before buying, I ended up with pieces both too light and spongey and also too dense and rock-hard. Since I started weighing it and making sure I get something within the target range, I've never had a problem with a single piece (either working with it, or durability). I normally target 10-12 lb/ft^3 (or as close as I can get), which qualifies as "medium density".
When i was looking at their site I saw no where that you can specify those specs....maybe it was at checkout or some where I just did not see.
 

hball55

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It is a global issue ... due to planed what ever
Notice how many new vehicles have plain flat paint jobs? My neighbor guessed that maybe the chemicals in metallic paints are deemed hazardous to the planet and are being phased out . . . remember, I am in Kalifornia.
 

CalebJ

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That's a really bizarre 'honest criticism'.

I mean - it's literally the number one rule of an agreement we all acknowledged when joining the site.

But hey, maybe I'm just incapable of reading comprehension. Or I legitimately hate free thought.

Clearly that's the only rational interpretation here.
 
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SharkWhisperer

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Any and all brick and mortar stores are wiped out of inventory right now, the repercussions of lockdowns. As for the bikes, it may be a shortage of metals. Manufactured goods and services in the USA have worker shortages, too. Many of those people prefer to sit on their asses and collect unemployment and stimulus checks from their sugar daddy government, instead of returning to the job force.

The automobile brands you mentioned are all ICE coupes and sedans. The automakers have abandoned cars all together in favor of trucks and SUVs, and are ramping up electric vehicles.
Regarding autos, there's also a chip shortage that's affected all manufacturers' outputs, with the exception of Toyota who saw the writing on the wall and stockpiled a 3-month supply. Probably most of the reason why used car prices in the US are at record highs across the board.

Oh, between all the bickering going on in this thread, I missed Cyclops' post on chip shortages. Sorry for parroting the same info...
 
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modeltrains

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Interesting that you mention balsa. I don't usually buy in bulk but the balsa sheets found in the newer rocket kits don't seem like good quality.
Now the balsa shelves are mostly empty.:(
2020 but it might shed some light,

China turbine makers winded after Ecuador lockdown leaves them without blades

  • Ecuador supplies 95 per cent of the world’s commercial balsa wood, which is known for its strength and light weight

“We have seen balsa wood shortages in 2015 and 2018, and started last year to procure from other countries to mitigate supply risk,” the company’s president, Cao Zhigang, said during an investor forum on Monday. The current situation in Ecuador is expected to impact blade supply in the second half and if it worsens, “the entire industry will be hit”, Cao said.
Don't see a date on this. https://www.vintagemodelcompany.com/balsa-shortage.html

Balsa Shortage


The good news is that we have a new batch of balsa wood arriving this week and so we can start to cut kits once again.
We have made almost all of our kits available for you to buy now.
The slightly less good news is that the wholesale price of balsa wood has almost tripled and so we have had to increase our kit prices accordingly.
 

modeltrains

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Regarding autos, there's also a chip shortage that's affected all manufacturers' outputs, with the exception of Toyota who saw the writing on the wall and stockpiled a 3-month supply. Probably most of the reason why used car prices in the US are at record highs across the board.
Brings this to mind, remembered from conversation elsewhere some months ago,

Electronics Account for 40 Percent of the Cost of a New Car
No technology has so consistently and dramatically rebooted the car as the computer chip.
By Eric Tingwall May 2, 2020
 

SharkWhisperer

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2020 but it might shed some light,

China turbine makers winded after Ecuador lockdown leaves them without blades

  • Ecuador supplies 95 per cent of the world’s commercial balsa wood, which is known for its strength and light weight



Don't see a date on this. https://www.vintagemodelcompany.com/balsa-shortage.html

Balsa Shortage
Glad I picked up a bunch from AC Supply, enough for a year for me at least. But just checked and his supply is getting low on wider sheets... At least his prices don't seem to have changed. Might have to place another order just in case the Ecuador situation doesn't get sorted out in a reasonable time frame...
 

Bill S

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I wonder if said chip shortages might prompt car makers to reduce the number of features new cars have, just to reduce the number of chips needed. Frankly, I don't use a fair number of the features the car maker (Toyota) pushed on us. I'm sure I'm atypical, but it'd be nice to be able to order up a more barebones model without all the lifestyle features (phone integration, Bluetooth, telematics, Onstar-type system, etc).
 

Scott_650

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I wonder if said chip shortages might prompt car makers to reduce the number of features new cars have, just to reduce the number of chips needed. Frankly, I don't use a fair number of the features the car maker (Toyota) pushed on us. I'm sure I'm atypical, but it'd be nice to be able to order up a more barebones model without all the lifestyle features (phone integration, Bluetooth, telematics, Onstar-type system, etc).
As much as I’m on the same page - I spent a couple months looking to find the right manual transmission model of my current vehicle (which is now no longer available) it’s highly unlikely we’d ever see something like that happen here in the NA market. Regardless of what folks say about buying “low-tech” vehicles - and it’s said on auto enthusiasts sites frequently - the worst profit producing models are the lowest cost versions of any given vehicle. The last thing any distributor or retailer is going to do is focus on products that make them the least amount of money - and those distributors and dealers are car company’s REAL customers, not consumers. And quite frankly the dealers don’t care about the MSRP other than in relation to marketing more so than sales - the sales people only care about the total/average transaction price. Add in the increase in production and logistics costs for the maker to include all the infrastructure in each vehicle for the tech features, which due to the way vehicles are designed to be as light as possible while using the least costliest materials as possible with the fewest manufacturing steps as possible, reducing tech by not offering features only saves on software costs, not by saving on material or manufacturing costs. As long as most of the market wants tech features (whether they use or need them is inconsequential - people are willing to pay for them) and the financial system works as it does (the debt produced by selling vehicles is a fungible asset - which seems bassackwards but it’s true) there’s simply no sustainable market for “cheap” vehicles. Take a look around any given parking lot and see what folks buy/lease - big trucks, big-box crossovers, high end sedans.
 

Art Upton

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All COVID related....China’s factories were hit hard all the way down to the supply chain....micro chip shortage is hitting now...you will see shortages to all types of products that use higher end chips....cars included. Yes it is amazing to see the effects of this...
The Micro Chip shortage was caused by Factories burning down in Japan, Taiwan, and China. Besides cars and trucks, even ham radios are now unobtanium in certain models due to those chip factories. Most were audio chips and maybe USB chips; as it seems computer chips were spared from the fires last year.

Now it is becoming a major effort to get back producing : https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...-repair-of-japan-factory-into-national-effort

Just to be clear, when I say "computer chips" I mean the ones in the laptops that are still in supply even when everyone working from home had to buy more laptops. I bought "Yet Another" for the Flip Screen Yoga Mode that I now find I enjoy more later at night than my day time laptop. Folded over and the keyboard under the screen now it is more convent if I just need to mouse about or use the touch screen which I still like the mouse on the arm chair better...
 
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Art Upton

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As long as most of the market wants tech features (whether they use or need them is inconsequential - people are willing to pay for them) and the financial system works as it does (the debt produced by selling vehicles is a fungible asset - which seems bassackwards but it’s true) there’s simply no sustainable market for “cheap” vehicles. Take a look around any given parking lot and see what folks buy/lease - big trucks, big-box crossovers, high end sedans.
Correct Sir...
 

Art Upton

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This radio is probably one of the best APRS-GPS ham radio HTs that is great for rocketry. The next best is the FT-3D. I bought mine for $420 , and I got my FT-3D for $320... Now the Kenwood radio is unobtanium and people are selling and getting double the price on them [$975] due to the Japan factory fire: https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/kenwood-th-d74a.763454/
 

SharkWhisperer

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Well, we've gone from the primary topic of vanishing local hobby shops to balsa, computer chip, and ham radio shortages. And overpriced cars, too! And a small dose of egos bellyaching in between, hah ha. But, looking back, it was mostly a pretty fluid transition. Beats watching paint dry, tsk tsk!!!
 

teepot

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Back on topic. The Hobby Town in Las Vegas closed a couple of months ago. I think it was the only place to buy motors and rockets. I would special order motors once a month from them before I found out BMS was just around the corner. The other hobby stores in Vegas are mostly RC.
 

Blast it Tom!

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Any and all brick and mortar stores are wiped out of inventory right now, the repercussions of lockdowns.
I shop at a local hobby store that is PACKED with inventory, I don't know how the guy does it. Everything from high-end die cast, trains of all scale, slot cars, static models, rockets, RC for land, sea and air, drones, tools, finishing materials and lots of stuff for kids, too.

Here in Western PA we are pushing back pretty hard on the whole lockdown thing, and it seems the Ickabod in the governor's office is finally getting it through his head that he's screwed up the state enough.
 
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