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Old 12-20-2017, 08:13 PM
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DavidAgar
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Does any one have any idea why Tower has so many out of stock items? I have been forced to go else where and I have been shopping with Tower Hobbies for more years than I can remember. Thanks Dave
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Old 12-21-2017, 06:30 AM
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David, Have you asked them? My guess, and this is purely a guess, is they have added so much crap to their inventory trying to get more (non-enthusiast) customers they have run out of money to stock up for what the enthusiast want. This is happening everywhere, just go to your neighborhood Hobbytown. Even HomeDepot is no longer the place to go to get home repair parts, tools and accessories but you can sure get some expensive toilets and Christmas decorations..
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Old 12-21-2017, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by DavidAgar View Post
Does any one have any idea why Tower has so many out of stock items? I have been forced to go else where and I have been shopping with Tower Hobbies for more years than I can remember. Thanks Dave
Hobbico's deferral of payout upsets, confounds ex-workers | News-Gazette.com
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Old 12-21-2017, 09:30 AM
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Answering a survey before being able to read the article is NOT my way of doing things.
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Old 12-21-2017, 02:14 PM
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Hobbico's deferral of payout upsets, confounds ex-workers

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 7:00am Ben Zigterman
https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2017-01-05/hobbicos-deferral-payout-upsets-confounds-ex-workers.html https://twitter.com/share?url=http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2017-01-05/hobbicos-deferral-payout-upsets-confounds-ex-workers.html&text=Hobbico's deferral of payout upsets, confounds ex-workers javascript:window.print()
CHAMPAIGN — On Saturday, Hobbico posted to Facebook a thank-you note to customers for making 2016 a great year.

The day before, it sent a message with a different tone to current and former employees."Hobbico has experienced many difficulties this last year, such as intensified competition and what appears to be a hobby-industry recession," Hobbico President and CEO Wayne Hemming wrote in a letter obtained by The News-Gazette."As a result, important sales, operating expense and productivity goals were not achieved. It is expected that 2017 will also be a challenging year for the business."As a result of the rough year, Hobbico also announced in the letter several changes to its employee stock-ownership plan, a retirement system in which employees are given shares of the company, which are to be reimbursed after they leave.It dates back to 2005, when then-owners Clint Atkins and Bruce and Jeri Holecek announced they were selling the company to its employee stock-ownership plan as a way to encourage employees to think like owners."Distributions that were scheduled to be made in 2016 from the ESOP to you and other terminated Participants will be deferred to a later date," Hemming wrote.Two employees who left the company in 2010 and were expecting to receive their payment as a lump sum this past year now aren't sure when they'll get that money.Tim Thilmony, who worked at Hobbico for over 10 years, said he has more than $50,000 wrapped up in the program that he was hoping to get back this past year.Nina Sibley-Richardson, who worked at Hobbico for 11 years, was expecting to receive just over $27,000 from the employee stock-ownership plan. "I was hoping to pay down debt and put a down payment on a house," she said.
Thilmony and Sibley-Richardson were supposed to wait five years to get their money back, and tried to do so in 2016.
Sibley-Richardson said she tried during the summer and kept waiting for the payment to arrive.The financial group managing the plan "agreed it would be processed no later than Dec. 31," she said. "During November, I contacted them again, and they said it would be no later than Dec. 31. Then again Dec. 29, they said no later than Dec. 31." She then received the letter from Hobbico and has been trying to get answers from Hobbico on what it means for her.

"The letter was very vague. The payments were deferred, but it doesn't say to what date," Sibley-Richardson said.

Hobbico did not return multiple calls for comment from The News-Gazette.

In its letter to current and former employees, Hobbico cited a "hobby-industry recession."The model hobby distributor is the 12th-largest employer in Champaign County with 495 employees, according to the Champaign County Economic Development Corp. But that's down from a team of 700 in 2011.While board members of the Hobby Manufacturers Association said that competition is indeed tough in the hobby industry, they didn't believe it was in a recession. "It's pretty much been a flat market, but there is optimism for growth in 2017," HMA President Bob Wilke said."I don't see it as a recession," said HMA Treasurer Fred Hill, who also owns The Coach Yard, a manufacturer and retailer of model trains in California. "I haven't seen it with my business." HMA membership has shrunk a little bit, but Wilke said that's mostly because it hasn't done a national trade show lately.The industry is facing competition from manufacturers overseas, Hill said, since they sometimes steal designs and sell them directly."The American manufacturers design it," Hill said. "And the overseas manufacturers are copying them and selling direct. ... It's very frustrating." The internet has also been a challenge for the hobby industry."Everyone had to make a big change and had to embrace the internet," Hill said. "Consumers just don't want to get in a car and drive to a store and shop."Despite the challenges, Hill believes interest in hobby equipment is as high as it has been, with trade shows drawing thousands of attendees and drones gaining in popularity. "Interest continues to grow," Hill said.Hobbico was formed in 1986, when Atkins combined two companies he bought: Don Anderson's Great Planes Model Distributors and Bruce Holecek's Tower Hobbies, which was founded in 1971.According to its website, Hobbico has 12 different facilities, including five in Champaign-Urbana and others in Germany, the United Kingdom, California, Colorado and Neva
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Old 12-22-2017, 07:58 AM
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It could be that they have had a fantastic xmas season and have simply run out of stock. That's the good news.

On the other hand, they could be having cash flow problems and their credit is exhausted and maybe trashed which would keep manufacturers from selling to them on credit. That's the bad news.

I expect that we'll find out for sure come the first quarter of 2018.
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Old 12-22-2017, 08:38 AM
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I think Hobbico hesitated too long to get into the electric RTF market and they may not be able to ever recover. Their Flyzone line was a year after Horizons eflight, and had both reliability issues and cost more. They still have not embraced providing cheap batteries and electronics, so HobbyKing is eating their lunch in that field. All that is left is for them seems to become a "Sharper Image" store that provides cheap toys to the masses.

I haven't been able to order anything from them all year, and I ordered on average about a grand. Stuff being out of stock and available either direct (Robart) or from other vendors (Motion, Horizon, Hobby King) got my business. They have broken away from the providing for the hard core hobbiest by reducing their Great Planes brand to nothing while evisicating the Goldberg line. Now Top Flight seems to be waning.

They still have great service and excellent shipping deals, but they don't carry anything I need.
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Old 12-23-2017, 04:12 PM
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Due to some cash flow issues myself, I had a couple of things on my wish list there for several months. Before I could purchase them, I got emails telling me they no longer sold those items. I found them elsewhere, though. There seems to be less and less there that I really need that I cannot find elsewhere, often at less cost. Tower sure isn't what it used to be.
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Old 12-24-2017, 05:08 AM
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I`ve got something there on my wish list. I guess I better hurry up or I`ll be getting an email soon, too.
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Old 12-24-2017, 10:39 AM
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Being in the state of Illinois doesn't help either. The state is nearing junk bond status and the state legislature has just raised taxes again in a vain attempt to cover its pension shortfalls.
People are leaving the state at the highest rate of any state in the country.
Illinois is approaching a crisis......in truth, they are in crisis.
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Old 12-27-2017, 04:57 AM
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I think some of Tower's issues can be related to the glut of RC equipment and parts that are available on ebay, craigslist, and swap meets. Lots of people getting out of the hobby plus hobby shops going out of business makes a lot of items available in brand new or near new condition for cheap. I can buy all the hinges I can stuff in my pockets at the Perry, GA swap meet for $.50 a pack or less so why should I buy them from Tower for $2 - $3? Years ago it wasn't like this.

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Old 12-27-2017, 06:27 AM
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LEADER TO LEADER
Membership Drive Reaction
by Jim Rice, Chairman Leader Member Committee
As I write this, it is a week before Christmas and the final membership numbers for 2009 are fresh in my mind ... Depressing but still in my mind. We had a membership drive. A well-thought-out, but poorly executed drive. The leg work was done at the HQ level and the advertising was done in Model Aviation and by word of mouth via most of the District VPs.
Yet at the grass roots level, where the newbie meets the member, it didn’t happen very well; seemingly no interest in the growth of the membership by the average modeler or club.
That should give all of us with a little concern about the future of our organization cause to reflect on why we aren’t growing or worse yet, why we are shrinking. Everyone who has been a member more than five years (and that is who this article is targeted toward) remembers when getting a new member started flying rejuvenated your own enthusiasm, which was then expressed and passed on to the newbie, resulting in his or her rapid infusion into this addictive sport. The newbie then brings friends and relatives to the field to try to get them addicted as well. It could snowball, it should snowball from there, but lately it hasn’t done that very well! We keep harping on bringing in more new members but don’t concentrate so hard on keeping the ones we already have. If your club brings in six new members this year but loses ten old ones we have a net loss. If every club in the AMA lost just three members, we would be down about 7,000 members before we ever started to recruit the new members! So why are we losing them as fast, if not faster, than we can recruit them? You may know better than I do but I have some ideas from personal experience and daily contact with clubs and members that are having problems with each other. Following is a list of issues I have seen:
1. Club dues are too high when coupled with initiation fees and AMA dues and perhaps holiday spending if the club has renewal at the first of the year.
2. Club meetings are stagnant, discussing the same old business with no flair of creativity to try to encourage the membership to be there for the fellowship, the modeling exchange, and the educational experience.
3. Cliquish groups that make it hard for a newcomer to become a part of the organization—If you can’t afford an XYZ don’t sit with us; If you can’t do a double whifferdill with a twist you don’t need to fly with us; If you didn’t use escapements and reeds you won’t be able to communicate with us, etc.
4. Old-time members with a chip on their shoulders about new folks, new styles, and new ideas. Some old guys (I qualify for that) don’t want to have their club changed and are not willing to tolerate anyone who may have a good new idea. The board of directors ought to change fairly regularly and bring in new ideas and new blood. I have had reports of members being threatened by old timers who don’t want change, even to the point that the police have had to be involved.

5. Conduct at the field that is unacceptable for mixed company or families. I have seen and had reported to me too many incidents of vulgar and foul language being used so loudly that it made many at the field uncomfortable. Guys don’t want to bring their spouses or children out to the field and subject them to that. For that matter, many longtime modelers would rather not be subjected to that either.

6. Safety officers or instructor pilots treating the membership or new pilot like a stupid third grader (this assumes the recipient of the barrage is not a stupid third grader). I had a couple of guys who were longtime modelers tell me they joined a club based on my recommendation and began flying on the first day at the field with no orientation or advice. The Safety Officer observed they were not following one of the club’s local rules and berated them loudly and publicly instead of quietly explaining the rules to the newbies. They both quit the club after one day of flying. Fortunately for AMA they found another club instead of dropping the hobby.

Last edited by fliers1; 12-30-2017 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 01-10-2018, 01:32 PM
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Hobbico files for bankruptcy; layoffs next? | News-Gazette.com

I heard from my retailer several months ago that many lines were dropping tower. When K&S I think
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Old 01-10-2018, 02:44 PM
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FWIW, my sources tell me that it is business as usual for now. Unclear about the future, but Chapter 11 is not the end of the world by any means. Lots of companies have survived even worse situations. This move allows them to restructure and try to attract new financing. Sad thing to see, soon all we will have left is Hobby King
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:21 PM
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Well all the "Hobbico and Horizon" haters will be happy....who knows Horizon may be next. But I remember when Apple was on its death bed......
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:48 PM
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Remember the song:

"Video killed the record store.."

The Internet killed the LHS, and the Chinese vendors are killing the US vendors.
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:01 AM
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We have met the enemy; and the enemy is us. We all want more for less, and there are those who will give us just that. If I can save a buck over seller A by going to seller B then I will. When you read the article and see how much in debt they are you have to wonder why the employees didn't insist on new leadership before they got this far. Sad none the less.
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Old 01-11-2018, 01:11 PM
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If they don't get a buyer, then you can kiss them good bye. They outgrew themselves and left themselves stretched too thin to compete online.
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Old 01-11-2018, 04:43 PM
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Trying to rip off Traxxas didn't do them any good either.
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:41 PM
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Maybe Horizon or Motion RC will purchase Hobbico.
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Old 01-12-2018, 06:17 AM
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I really don't think anyone would buy a company that has been left in the dust by it's competitors and hasn't had any real innovation for the past 15 years. While Tower has name recognition, much of their base is either gone or going away quickly. Most newcomers into the hobby are not looking for quality or durability, they are looking for any way to get in the air with as little money and as little work as possible. Hobbico products certainly don't fit that bill.
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:11 AM
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In an example of "there is no problem that cannot be made worse," the last line in this newspaper says that "Hobbico is under a federal investigation. We first told you two weeks ago that leaders are accused of mismanaging employees' stock. Several current and former workers said their accounts have plummeted."

Hobbico files for bankruptcy | IllinoisHomepage
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by w0mbat View Post
I really don't think anyone would buy a company that has been left in the dust by it's competitors and hasn't had any real innovation for the past 15 years. While Tower has name recognition, much of their base is either gone or going away quickly. Most newcomers into the hobby are not looking for quality or durability, they are looking for any way to get in the air with as little money and as little work as possible. Hobbico products certainly don't fit that bill.
Sad but true. You hit the nail on the head.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:09 AM
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Some company needs to buy Top Flight and GP or those kits will be lost, just like Pica and Byron and several others. If SIG can work it out, that would be a good place to get them.
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:25 AM
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With the rate of flying field closures caused by development of farm lands/ noise complaints/just plain stupidity, puts all areas of RC flying are under attack and/ or scrutiny. It makes sense that dwindling flight time access means dwindling opportunities for the markets that supply the hobby
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