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Support your LHS

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Old 03-27-2004, 01:34 AM
  #1  
grinder-RCU
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Default Support your LHS

Just thought i would share with you guys and gals about an email i had sent my local hobby shop. Of lately i have been seeing lots of negative posts of this "supplier" and that "business" and ppl getting burned by mail order. Well here is an little something of the grass roots level.


Greetings, just thought I would drop you an line about what I did with my boys over March break this year. After two days of playstation I had enough and said I'm going to the LHS around the corner to find something constructive for the boys to do. We spent the better part of an afternoon assembling the wooden planes bought from AVF hobbies and flying them in the backyard. This might not have been an $600 dollar r/c radio sale but the $12 bucks was well spent as you can see the by the looks on the boys faces. Just thought you might like to see the final results after an sale. Once again thank-you, so the next time your at wits end just remember it's the small things that count.



Grinder.


http://www.avfrc.com/
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Old 03-27-2004, 09:36 AM
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Default RE: Support your LHS

I do support my local hobby shop. He beats all the mail order house's on price and is a nice guy to boot. I shall be going there today to order my Futaba 9c that he is selling me for $27.50 less than mail order. He is well stocked with all the common stuff and get's what I need in a couple of days if not in stock. I am lucky to have a few shops in my area, however I do 90 percent of my shopping in just one. God Luck, Dave
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Old 03-27-2004, 10:03 AM
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Tired Old Man
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It's great to see that you were treated well by your local hobby shop and were able to obtain that which you were looking for. The experience should always be a pleasureable one.

Too many people have bypassed the hobby shop in favor of internet and catalog sales shopping. Those actions have caused the closing of many hobby shops in countries around the world. Hobby shops work on comparatively small profit margins for the locations required of them. Having to maintain some type of store front (a requirement of hobby suppliers), and to employ people to assist the public, causes their prices to be a little higher than internet sales locations.

Most hobby shops will do much to ensure that you can obtain the product you desire in a reasonable amount of time. Price can often be negotiated. No hobby shop can maintain an entire inventory of everything available for the hobby. Some things HAVE to be ordered. Another benefit is the sharing of experience from the shop owner and his employees. It's also often a great place to meet others that share your interests, and to discuss different technology information. All done face to face. Something you cannot do over the computer.

We should all consider spending a little more of our hobby budget at local hobby shops. It won't bring back those that have closed, but it would go a long way in keeping those left open for business. Increased sales also has a tendency to reduce selling prices.

Just some thoughts.
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Old 03-27-2004, 04:57 PM
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Default RE: Support your LHS

Yes you guys are right. Living around the corner from the LHS has it's privileges. Especially when that part you have forgotten or need.

Grinder.
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Old 03-27-2004, 05:26 PM
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Default RE: Support your LHS

I'd say "SOME" people bypass the LHS for mail order based on price. I've vowed to never shop at our LHS ever again and he commonly meets or beats Tower/Horizon hobbies advertised price. Out of the 2 local clubs in town I'd say maybe 5-10% tops of stuff comes from the LHS in town and that is mostly trainers.

Now I drive approximately 2 hours one way to another hobby shop where I pay a premium price, along the way I pass the LHS about 15 minutes away from home. Sometimes it means I can't fly one plane while I wait on a prop or something small but it's the price I gladly pay.

The joke I heard the other day were there 3 requirements to join our field.

1. Learn to solo
2. Ding up a plane
3. Get mad at the LHS and start online ordering
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Old 03-28-2004, 12:29 AM
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I wish I had a home town hobby shop. The nearest shop to me is about a 40 mile drive and is a small garage type shop. The owner is a nice guy, but the size of his shop limits what he can stock. It is disappointing to drive to the shop only to find he does not have in stock or even carry what I am looking for. Yes, I have called ahead and been told what I was looking for was in stock only to arrive and find out it was not. So, out of necessity I find that I must mail order a lot of my hobby supplies. I would gladly pay a couple of extra bucks to keep a local hobby shop in business.

Steve
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Old 03-28-2004, 03:27 AM
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I'm going to my local hobby shop tommorow actually for the first time in months. I sure hope this time they have some Hitec servos[:@]
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Old 03-28-2004, 07:35 AM
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Default RE: Support your LHS

I support my local hobby shop for certain things. For example, when I bought my Ultra Stick, I bought it there (and got it for the same price as Horizon) because I could open up the box and look at the pieces. I will also buy my builing/repair supplies and fuel from him as his prices are not that bad and there is no shipping. However, I recently bought a Sullivan Dynatron starter and paid $63 from tower (plus shipping, so lets call it $70). The LHS wanted $109.99. 58% difference, which means that if tower is making, say, 20% (which I doubt I am sure it is higher) on the Sullivan than LHS is pulling in around 80% pure profit. Heck, at $110 that $82 which is probably what it costs to pay one of those RC car kids to work there for a day.....

I think the LHS's make their bread and butter off of the Car stuff. Yesterday I went in at 10:05 a.m., they open at 10. Already there was 4 people in there for car stuff!
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Old 03-28-2004, 09:19 AM
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I support mine! i udes to work there and i get stuff cheap. my brandy new os fs .70 II only cost me $189. I have seen used ones go for that on RCU! hes a great guy, and its only a 10 min walk from my house!!!

Thanks Frank at HobbyTown!

sean
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Old 03-28-2004, 09:30 AM
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Default RE: Support your LHS

[quote]ORIGINAL: NOVAflier

However, I recently bought a Sullivan Dynatron starter and paid $63 from tower (plus shipping, so lets call it $70). The LHS wanted $109.99. 58% difference, which means that if tower is making, say, 20% (which I doubt I am sure it is higher) on the Sullivan than LHS is pulling in around 80% pure profit.
Novaflyer, this isn't exactly true. Tower Hobbies is the retail trade name for Great Planes(a distributor) who buys that starter at distributor prices in very large quantities. The local hobby shop has to then pay a wholesale price plus shipping costs to the distributor to get it to his shop. The LHS pays a great deal more for the item than the distributor does. If the distributor buys products at his cost and the sells them to the public at over the counter prices he makes the largest profit because he is cutting out the LHS and selling direct to the consumer.
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Old 03-28-2004, 09:40 AM
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Default RE: Support your LHS

Without trying to put any of the sides down, let's go through some numbers to find "pure profit"

Using an item that the wholesaler sells to the LHS for $60.00, the LHS has to pay the shipping, $7.00.

He has to pay his help. pay for the rent, which will average about .80cents per square foot of floor space. A 3,000 square foot store will have a monthly rent of around $2,400.00.

He has to pay electric, phone, and insurance costs. He has to pay advertising costs. And he has to make a little bit of money on each item he sells to provide himself with enough cash to pay for his own living space, food, gas, and all the other costs that go along with living.

Most of the shops will mark up that $60.00 item around 40%. That amount will match the selling price that you see in all the catalogs from the manufacturers. Very rarely will he sell the item for more than that.

The end result is that the LHS is VERY LUCKY to end up with a clear 5% profit on the product. That $60.00 item will maybe clear a $3.00 profit. How may items do you need to sell with a $3.00 profit to pay YOUR bills?

The hard part of the deal is that one manufacturer/supplier goes out of their way to compete with, and undersell, the hobby shops THEY sell to. On the other hand, Horizon works directly with customersand never competes with their accounts. Their program ships the product ordered by the customer to the shop for distribution if at all possible.

Anyway, the point of this exercise is to illustrate that most, if not all, of the hobby shops are not getting rich from this hobby. Far from it. The vast majority of them are eating beans while their customers are eating steak.

By the way, I do not own a hobby shop, but work closely with one. Close enough that I know what they pay for their inventory, pay their help, and pay for their shop costs. It's a relatively successful shop, and I can tell you for a fact that I wouldn't own a hobby shop for what I would make on my investment. I'd starve to death on the "huge profits" that I earned.
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Old 03-28-2004, 02:28 PM
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I wouldn't care what our LHS charged if they had a clue as to what they were selling or would order what numerous local flyers have darn near "demanded". When presented with a list from the club stuff he should stock for members - espeically new ones he said he didn't need our damn help. I'm not talking stuff you never sell but basic stuff like props to go with the engines he sells. Nothing he stocks goes with the other. He only stocks hardware he gets in buyouts of other shops so you get leftovers, the engines he stocks make up maybe 30% of what local flyers fly size wise - same thing for planes. A request for an engine larger than a .61 (and he might have one - mostly .25-46's) gets the response "No one would ever buy one of those" - even tho .61-.91's make up probably 50% of the flyers at the local clubs. Funny part is I've yet to seen only one person fly an engine smaller than a .40 (a .10 on a sailplane type) - yet he keeps the same ones in stock for years....years... years. I've seen kits/engines/hardware sit on his shelf for at least 5 years. He onces told me the Fox brand engines he had in the display case for sale had been there at least 10 years.

Another example of his stuff not going together, the item he sells a LOT of are the GP U-CAN-DO's in both sizes. They're popular here and his price is pretty competitive. Yet he can no more tell you what a 3-D manauver actually is than the man in the moon. Want a prop for your new plane? Getting a prop with a pitch of less than 8-9 is impossible. Want a 12x11 - well I got tons of those. Great pattern prop - only problem - NO one here flies pattern or pattern type planes. Explanation - when I sell these I'll get some others.

When I'm forced to go in and get something to finish a plane or reqair one quickly I see/hear stuff like this.

Customer_01 - I've never flown, will this TopFlite Mustang be a good starting spot
Owner - Yep let me grab you a basic 6 channel radio and a bottom of the range engine..
Customer_01 - where can I go to fly this when I'm finished
Owner - any park in town

That's an actual conversation I overheard once
Another

Customer_02 - Ok I picked out this trainer/radio and I need an engine to go with it
Owner - An O.S. .46 would be a good choice
Customer_02 - Ok give me one
Owner - oops I'm out of those - here take a Magnum - it's made by the same company and just re-branded.

Happens all the time, day in and day out. I once asked for a 14x6 prop and he said "who would ever fly with a prop that big" yet he had in stock at the time a CG Sukhoi 1.20 size - yet his biggest engine was .61.

He and his employees (all family) have been invited out to the 2 fields in town multiple times and I'm sure if he spent 1 hour on a busy day he'd get an idea of what people locally want/use and make a ton more money. We post ads for the AMA and club at the field yet he "forgets" to mention us - sometimes he will refer someone new to us - sometimes he won't.

Once he sold a plane (pre-assemlbed ready to fly - it was on consignment) to a guy who came out with it to the field and said "the LHS owner said this was a GREAT plane to learn to fly on". It was an ultra stick with a really hot engine and a full length tuned pipe....someone flew it for him, but said it wasn't good to learn on - never saw that guy again.

I used to put up with it, now I just drive to the next big town that actually has less stock - but more of it is what people actually use. Some locals have never had a problem with him so maybe it's just me - but you hear a lot of griping and the "we're trying to get people to open a new shop in town" from the club members.

Well that's enough of my rant

If you have a GOOD LHS this post will help you realise how LUCKY you are - ENJOY
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Old 03-28-2004, 04:10 PM
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Good grief Bob, I'm glad you got that off you mind!

Tom
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Old 03-28-2004, 09:27 PM
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Bob101
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Heh, bit of a rant - but people should realise their lucky they have a good LHS. I've seen people here gripe about their LHS just because it only carries 2 brands of engines in their size, or 2 brands of props. I'd LOVE to to have that dilema
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Old 03-29-2004, 03:56 PM
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Default RE: Support your LHS

Heh, bit of a rant - but people should realise their lucky they have a good LHS. I've seen people here gripe about their LHS just because it only carries 2 brands of engines in their size, or 2 brands of props. I'd LOVE to to have that dilema
What I've seen is a lot of people support their LHS because thay are local. I say only support the stores that have good service and competitive prices Local or not thats what really counts... Too many times I've been in "local" shops with staff untrained, who are looking to push whatever is on the shelf to the unsupecting buyer. If you local hobby shop has staff with the (walmart & Home Depot) mentality (Its somwhere on a shelf in the store...go look) do yourself a favor and shop online or else where
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Old 03-29-2004, 11:50 PM
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Default RE: Support your LHS

The local hobby shop, local hardware, local grocery, local furniture store , the local appliance store. there all going away. We are all running to WALL MART and HOME DEPOT!

Lonnie
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Old 03-30-2004, 02:22 AM
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Default RE: Support your LHS

Here's some support,

RACERS HAVEN HOBBIES
Bakersfield CA.
(661)835-0441

"For all of your hobby needs"
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Old 03-31-2004, 12:32 AM
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Default RE: Support your LHS

Nice photo grinder-RCU ,
OCC, WCC beanies? Your boys have great taste, just wait till they want to go to the local Harley Shop
But seriously, I think we should all support or LHS but if I find a great deal on line, I'll go for it. I use to have plenty of cash to buy from both, but recently I went back to school and the green stuff isn't falling out of my pockets anymore. So I get by on doing side jobs for the LHS's, assembling arfs, flight boxes and repairing customers wrecked planes. I get store credit for all the time and labor, it keeps me flying and my house bills in check. So it short, I defiantly support my LHS in more ways than just buying from them, I pass on my finishing and repair skills to their stores reputation. It has an effect on their business, they now get more customers because the customers know they are a full service hobby shop.
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Old 03-31-2004, 01:43 AM
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ORIGINAL: planebuilder66

Nice photo grinder-RCU ,
OCC, WCC beanies? Your boys have great taste, just wait till they want to go to the local Harley Shop
But seriously, I think we should all support or LHS but if I find a great deal on line, I'll go for it. I use to have plenty of cash to buy from both, but recently I went back to school and the green stuff isn't falling out of my pockets anymore. So I get by on doing side jobs for the LHS's, assembling arfs, flight boxes and repairing customers wrecked planes. I get store credit for all the time and labor, it keeps me flying and my house bills in check. So it short, I defiantly support my LHS in more ways than just buying from them, I pass on my finishing and repair skills to their stores reputation. It has an effect on their business, they now get more customers because the customers know they are a full service hobby shop.
Couldn't agree with you more planebuilder66.

Thanks. grinder.
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Old 03-31-2004, 03:06 PM
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ORIGINAL: NOVAflier
I think the LHS's make their bread and butter off of the Car stuff. Yesterday I went in at 10:05 a.m., they open at 10. Already there was 4 people in there for car stuff!

There were some good threads on this when some people were thinking of starting a hobby shop. The consensus was exactly what you stated. The big $ is in cars and helis. When us airplane guys break something, we go in our scrap box and glue on a chunk. When cars and helis break it's time to get new parts.

That reminds me of one of my funniest trips to my LHS (whom I buy everything that I need from if he can get it). A guy carried in a Heli after a wreck. Heheeeeee, what a site. The rotors were each about 2 inches long now and the tail boom had a huge bend in it. The LHS owner and the guy sat down and had a little meeting about the repair costs.
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Old 03-31-2004, 05:19 PM
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All I can say is when you want to fly RIGHT NOW then gatta love the LHS.Thank God there around and ***** all you want you would miss them if they close tommorow.( no I don't own one).Try buying a prop a Wal Mart.-Mike
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Old 03-31-2004, 05:45 PM
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I wouldnt mind supporting my local hobby shop if the guy was a friendly helpful sort of chap but he aint and i would rather drive for an hour to a model shop where at least you get good service and advice than a local one where he aint bothered what you buy as long as its expensive!! [:'(]
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Old 03-31-2004, 07:35 PM
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i've bought everything i own excpet my futaba 7 cap at my lhs. they are very helpfull with everything. they even helped me figure out why my buddy box wasn't working. they have everything you would find on towerhobbies in stock.
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Old 03-31-2004, 08:41 PM
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Default RE: Support your LHS

there are some advantages and cons about yur LHS.
If you order something big, the tax cost more than your shipping and handling fees. Sometimes wshen i order from my LHS, it takes him forever to get the thing and i kno i could've gotten it already if i ordered it online.
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Old 04-01-2004, 10:02 AM
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NOVAflier
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You have to give the LHS Owners credit, it HAS to be a tough business. I will say one thing, both of our local LHS have always come through when the club was having an auction or contest in providing discounted prizes, they even donated a trainer plane each this year.

What I don't like, is when an employee or the owner pressures you to buy the SAME products every time you head in the door. We have a guy like this who whatever you are flying or building tries to sell you a particular engine or brand of models. I don;t know if the profit margin is higher or what, but everyone I have talked to agrees that it is almost annoying that every time you walk in the store you are pummled to buy this particular engine or model.
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