Vanishing hobby stores

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John Kemker

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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...
High-end audio, as well.

I recently discovered a company called Schiit Audio ( http://www.schiit.com ) that has some highly-rated equipment at affordable prices (Stereophile Class B rated turntable at under $1000 while the rest of the Class B rated turntables are running in the 10s of thousands USD, a Class A headphone amp, and a Class A DAC for under $2500.) I was lucky enough to get one of those turntables and now the owners are stating that the turntable may go out of production because of materials shortages.
 

icyclops

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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...
No doubt that fire had a big effect on the auto makers and their on board systems...however, the are 4 more big chip makers in Taiwan that also produce high end chips for the car and computer industry which Covid had a really big impact on them and the supply chain. Things are just starting to get back to some reason of normality, but the supply chain determines how fast from the other suppliers in that industry.
 

icyclops

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However, lets just hope that these are the real reasons for not enough chips and that it is not because some companies what to control the market for higher prices by stockpiling, and keeping available inventory low....much like what the gas industry does....hope not.

Now back to the real thread...sorry for the side-track.
 

icyclops

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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!!!
You never know where these things lead sometimes....I miss the local hobby shop for sure....sometimes it seems way too hard to find certain things on-line...a lot of time wasting sites out there...stuff not in stock and you find out later...things like that. But what are you gonna do? Keep looking.
 

Blast it Tom!

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Well, if we could stay with the chips for just a teensy bit longer, I've had my eye on a Flightsketch mini to help out with my parachute testing and analysis. Seems like a really nice piece of instrumentation. But it's been unavailable for several weeks now that I've been checking. I understand this is probably just the one fellow in "about us" or a few at most and I'm on the list to be notified - I sure hope he/they/ his family etc. are well, and this is in the same line as our beloved hobby stores - a specialty small business trying to make it in a difficult environment. Are our other electronics makers having supply issues as well?

Dang it. Now I want chips. :D
 

Art Upton

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Well, if we could stay with the chips for just a teensy bit longer, I've had my eye on a Flightsketch mini to help out with my parachute testing and analysis. Seems like a really nice piece of instrumentation. But it's been unavailable for several weeks now that I've been checking. I understand this is probably just the one fellow in "about us" or a few at most and I'm on the list to be notified - I sure hope he/they/ his family etc. are well, and this is in the same line as our beloved hobby stores - a specialty small business trying to make it in a difficult environment. Are our other electronics makers having supply issues as well?

Dang it. Now I want chips. :D
I bought that board with all that; Like in old 1970s He. Haw "Salute, hats off to that product!" ...
 

afadeev

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But REI wasn't a business. It was a co-op. I had a membership. I volunteered for their cleanup days. I went to their talks. I even gave one. My friends worked there so they could pro-deal outdoor gear from the manufacturers.
You make a fair point on the corporate structure and affinity one might expect to feel to a co-op vs. a retail store.
I have to admit I never fully appreciated that distinction, even though I am a "member" of half dozen co-ops, though mostly out of the requirement to shop or bank at places that I like. Perhaps there is more to the co-op membership structure that I haven't been expecting or experiencing.

REI used to have good bikes. [...] The last Novara bikes and new "co-op" bikes are built to the same low standard as Walmart bikes, but at twice the price. Don't believe me? Look at the lawsuits they've had to settle
Sorry, I have to disagree on your review of the quality of current crop of REI-branded bikes.
I've picked up CTY 2.1 and ADV 2.2 bikes for my kids recently, and both have been great. Not perfect, but way above the quality of Walmart (zero bikes in stock for past year+) or Dick's (full of $199 - $299 specials).
REI bikes are a bit more expensive than regular retail stock, yet still about 1/2 the price of what I would have paid at a local "independent" bike store. Assuming, that is, locals had any non-carbon-frame sub-5-figures inventory left in stock.

I'd be surprised if REI currently has any bikes in stock to sell. Nobody else does.
My local REI a few weeks ago, and its been that way all through the pandemic.
There has been a dearth of bikes in most bike stores, but REI has managed to keep its supply chain well lubricated:
REI bikes.jpg


Just a friendly PSA for those who might be shopping for bikes this summer!
 

icyclops

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Not to bad mouth the “somewhat pseudo hobby stores” of today but....they just don’t seem to carry an in-depth enough inventory of the good stuff we use to go to these stores for. I know this was mentioned earlier, but it seems they are really too broad...kind of a jack of all trades and a master of none. Have you tried to buy a plastic model besides the same old car and plane you see everywhere in these places like M and HL...sad. And most of the ones I have been in (few I admit) carry very little Rockets and roc supplies....sameo sameo stuff. These craft do-dads shops just aren’t great unless your into flowers and beading (sorry, not to take anything away from those hobbies as they are great in their own right). Yet they seem to be taking over and the traditional Hobby shops are getting fewer....sad no doubt.

Just my 2 cents,
Results may vary.
 

arconhi

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I also disliked the change from electronics parts to consumer electronics, but let's be fair... These days, how many people in any given area actually buy resistors or diodes or whatever? The clientele the original RadioShack had disappeared. The Shack's big mistake was not embracing Maker culture and jumping into that market with a vengeance. That was the closest market to the electronic geek of the past. If they had put a couple Maker tech specialist stores in each city, and also stocked computer build components, they would have survived longer and might still be around.
They had all kinds of toggle switches, lamp lights in different colors, assorted light bulbs in colors. Transistors, capacitors,oh how sadly missed.
 
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