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Is Hobbico going out of Business?

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Old 01-11-2018, 12:04 PM
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MaJ. Woody
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Default Is Hobbico going out of Business?

I just heard Hobbico has filed bankruptcy. Is this true? What does mean for Tower Hobbies? What about Futaba? If this is true this sucks!
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:11 PM
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They are reorganising under bankruptcy code. I am sure they will try to stay in business. 2 different things
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_matt View Post
They are reorganising under bankruptcy code. I am sure they will try to stay in business. 2 different things
It seems like all the companies are doing this apparently.

First JR, now hobbico. The JR peeps swear there is nothing to worry about.
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:29 PM
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Interesting timing considering I had two conversations with two different people from two different companies talking about hour the market here is dead and dying. However the Asian markets for hobby things are booming. At this point the only way to get a model on my bucket list is to come up with at least 30k and wait 10pmus months. Seems younger generations are not as into r/c like us older farts. The younger generations seem to lean towards easy, and easy is small foamy ready to fly cheaper items. So need to win one of those 400+ million dollar lotteries!
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Old 01-11-2018, 01:36 PM
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Another one bites the dust ! it seems that the hobby business is suffering the worst kind of relapse into oblivion, retail shops are closing by the dozen because the rents are greater than the profits available, the online suppliers are taking the business that's left because its much easier to click a button on a computer than it is to find a parking place at the store.
The Chinese manufacturers are building better and cheaper stuff that can be had at the drop of a hat and delivered to your door , ready to fly with all the gear installed leaving nothing for the modeler to do but plug his RX in and fly..Builders are a dying breed, so few of them left to pass on their skills to younger guys who might otherwise never know how to build a plane. And whoever heard of a model airplane costing more than a Toyota Camry, cripes a mighty !! , they do and are frequently advertised for such money !!
I am as guilty as the next man for paying for the best , so how come solid companys like Hobbico and JR and Horizon cant seem to make a buck in this day and age with a lipo battery costing $170 and a receiver at $200 etc etc. Ask me another.
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Malcolm Kay View Post
............................... so how come solid companys like Hobbico and JR and Horizon cant seem to make a buck in this day and age with a lipo battery costing $170 and a receiver at $200 etc etc. Ask me another.
Because when they try to sell you an expensive battery... and it came from China anyway.... why pay for it? If there was a USA made brand (actual USA) I would pay the premium for it. Besides... I've been in this hobby long enough to see "Hobbico" as the low side of tower hobby.
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:16 PM
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Looks a lot worse than some are saying:

Hobbico files for bankruptcy; layoffs next? News-Gazette.com

Hobbico has also closed it's Reno wharehouse

It has nothing to do with young people being lazy. Airplanes have lost their luster and what young person wants to go to an old folks home meeting (RC club meeting)? The hobby is dying in many ways, but it's not just the fault of young people. I had to bust out of the old folks home myself, quit my local club.
Maybe someone that knows more than I do can make better sense of this, but the full scale side of things is dying as well.
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:41 PM
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Simply put = Direct Asian mail-order

"middle man has been removed"

We now live in a Global market place.
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Old 01-11-2018, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by TimD. View Post
Simply put = Direct Asian mail-order

"middle man has been removed"

We now live in a Global market place.
That is not the only reason.

Last edited by Desertlakesflying; 01-12-2018 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 01-11-2018, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by TimD. View Post
Simply put = Direct Asian mail-order

"middle man has been removed"

We now live in a Global market place.
That is not the only reason.
Edit:
Loopdeeloop said it better

Last edited by Desertlakesflying; 01-12-2018 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Desertlakesflying View Post
That is not the only reason.
Why would young people want to go out to a place that is overflowing with crusty old men that have bad attitudes and big mouths about anyone and anything they find unacceptable to them personally?
Naw,,,thats just you dude,,Crust on...

Back to topic, hopefully Tower will stay in Business, I just spent 1k with them before Christmas, and they do provide great customer support.
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:19 PM
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Tower has always been great, Hobby Services is another story. Pricing on Futaba stuff from Tower is absolutely outrageous. No real innovation, no attempt to keep good customers like the Gold Member evaporated this year much to my chagrin as I have a couple of new turbines to setup, the employees' who were owed money last year didn't get any and so on. Personally, I have just not had issues with Horizon either sales, warranty or support and for that I will pay extra.

Oh, I used to fly JR but I won't get into that here when there's another thread for it already.

JMHO.....

Last edited by Zeeb; 01-11-2018 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by raron455 View Post
Naw,,,thats just you dude,,Crust on...

Back to topic, hopefully Tower will stay in Business, I just spent 1k with them before Christmas, and they do provide great customer support.
I hope the same, really like tower and if you split a large Servo order you get big savings with the monthly codes.
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:17 PM
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Times continue to change. I remember when everyone said that Tower Hobbies and other mail order houses would cause the the demise of hobby shops.
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Old 01-12-2018, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by causeitflies View Post
Times continue to change. I remember when everyone said that Tower Hobbies and other mail order houses would cause the the demise of hobby shops.
Ummmmmmm. It did. I live in the country's 13th largest market, ripe with tech people, and we have 2-3 hobby shops in a 50-60 mile radius.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:56 AM
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Too wordy of a response to the "what's happening" in the hobby so I'll try to condense it:
1) Parents -- will not support kids that are interested in model aviation
2) Parents -- drop kids off at model aviation events set up specifically for them with the expectation that it is a baby sitting service.
3) Parents -- will not drive kids to a club field or meeting because they have too much other stuff to do.
4) Parents -- don't know which end of a screwdriver to hold themselves.
5) Parents -- allow kids to "be entertained" through mind numbing video games rather than encouraging them to "entertain themselves" though a hobby that requires building.
6) Competition -- Wonderful Taranis XD9+ for $200 or Futaba/JR/Spektrum/Graupner for hundreds more up to a couple thousand more.
7) Competition -- Global source of hobby stuff including bits and pieces (especially electronics related) that the local shops don't carry (or could not afford to carry due to lack of demand)
8) Education -- Clubs and hobby shops do not do enough in their communities to try and draw folks into the hobby. A once a year show is not enough. (My club does two fun flies, home & rec show, aviation day at the airport, AMA building program, Memorial Day Parade, city council meetings, talk to other civic groups, buddy box trials at any time.
9) Attitude -- Younger adults and their kids look for instant gratification. Buy on impulse, see if I can break it, and then beg for another one when they can't find parts at the local
hardware store.
Here are just two success stories of young folks who have their ticket for a great future in aviation because they were involved in Model Aviation.
1) Began buddy box work with me at age 10, got into heli's and became very proficient, private pilots licence before he got his drivers license. Junior at University of North Dakota in their aviation program. Paid to test fly for Northrup/Grumman Aviation/University program. Test fly for NASA. Now has his multi-engine, instrument and instructor ratings.
2) Foreign exchange student flew rc airplanes at our field and is now in the Norwegian Air Force (very likely flying drones) for NATO.
Opportunity is there but hobbyists need to do more than just fly to perpetuate the hobby.
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
Tower has always been great, Hobby Services is another story. Pricing on Futaba stuff from Tower is absolutely outrageous. No real innovation, no attempt to keep good customers like the Gold Member evaporated this year much to my chagrin as I have a couple of new turbines to setup, the employees' who were owed money last year didn't get any and so on. Personally, I have just not had issues with Horizon either sales, warranty or support and for that I will pay extra.

Oh, I used to fly JR but I won't get into that here when there's another thread for it already.

JMHO.....
Could have said pricing on Futaba stuff is outrageous leaving off the FROM TOWER. There is the indicator for who is next. As stated above the Chinese manufacturers are putting out much better quality and even though Chinese distributors are still pretty much useless when it comes to customer service (Bangwhogood?) some have American warehouses that are pretty reliable. I still buy from HK but only the American warehouse and never on backorder. Never had a problem. When I can buy 4 or so Turnigy receivers for the cost of one Futaba why buy from Tower. Like I've said in other threads on this subject Hobbico sealed their fate when the refused to deal with the cheap Chinese sources. They should have stayed a rep and let Tower and the others handle their one businesses. Tower could then have adapted to a changing market. Top-Flite could have made deals with World Models. And so on.

All that will likely happen now since the entire organization is up for sale. Anyone buying it as a whole is a fool or planning on divesting it. Breaking it into smaller pieces is a much better way to go.
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Old 01-12-2018, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by DrScoles View Post
Ummmmmmm. It did. I live in the country's 13th largest market, ripe with tech people, and we have 2-3 hobby shops in a 50-60 mile radius.
Exactly, and now it's their turn.
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rgburrill View Post
Could have said pricing on Futaba stuff is outrageous leaving off the FROM TOWER. There is the indicator for who is next. As stated above the Chinese manufacturers are putting out much better quality and even though Chinese distributors are still pretty much useless when it comes to customer service (Bangwhogood?) some have American warehouses that are pretty reliable. I still buy from HK but only the American warehouse and never on backorder. Never had a problem. When I can buy 4 or so Turnigy receivers for the cost of one Futaba why buy from Tower. Like I've said in other threads on this subject Hobbico sealed their fate when the refused to deal with the cheap Chinese sources. They should have stayed a rep and let Tower and the others handle their one businesses. Tower could then have adapted to a changing market. Top-Flite could have made deals with World Models. And so on.

All that will likely happen now since the entire organization is up for sale. Anyone buying it as a whole is a fool or planning on divesting it. Breaking it into smaller pieces is a much better way to go.
Let's keep in mind that Hobbico sets the markup margin on the Futaba stuff, not Futaba. That's why their radios cost so damn much more here than other places around the world and they get away with it because they are the exclusive distributor.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
Let's keep in mind that Hobbico sets the markup margin on the Futaba stuff, not Futaba. That's why their radios cost so damn much more here than other places around the world and they get away with it because they are the exclusive distributor.
everything is more here because of cost of living is so high in the US, main reason we import everything.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by loopdeeloop View Post
8) Education -- Clubs and hobby shops do not do enough in their communities to try and draw folks into the hobby. A once a year show is not enough. (My club does two fun flies, home & rec show, aviation day at the airport, AMA building program, Memorial Day Parade, city council meetings, talk to other civic groups, buddy box trials at any time.

I wholeheartedly agree with you on this point. I am almost 50 now, but I remember in junior high and high school we had a guy stop by from the local club to talk to our computer club about rc airplanes (it wasn't related, but interesting). They would do this at least twice a semester, even invited the students out to fly a club trainer, etc. The club I am in used to do 3 - 4 mall shows a year to get people interested, but they don't do that any longer. You are also right parents don't care anymore or don't want to be inconvenienced with their kids. My mother never had the means to get me into RC as a kid, but she did at least take me to the club field every once in awhile to watch. She also encouraged me with books and vhs tapes on aviation, she even sent me to see my older brother when in the navy just because he was stationed on an air base to see what it was like. My son is now 19 and he thinks he knows all and we sometimes fight, but RC was and still is the one thing we never fight about when he was growing up or now, it was the thing that we did together that actually brought us closer together.

Not to mention it got us both out of the house and away from the idiot box, which is what a lot of kids need today.

Patrick
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:45 PM
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Glad to see you and your son have RC in common. All my dad and I have in common are guns, HA! To each their own.
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by loopdeeloop View Post
Too wordy of a response to the "what's happening" in the hobby so I'll try to condense it:
1) Parents -- will not support kids that are interested in model aviation
2) Parents -- drop kids off at model aviation events set up specifically for them with the expectation that it is a baby sitting service.
3) Parents -- will not drive kids to a club field or meeting because they have too much other stuff to do.
4) Parents -- don't know which end of a screwdriver to hold themselves.
5) Parents -- allow kids to "be entertained" through mind numbing video games rather than encouraging them to "entertain themselves" though a hobby that requires building.
6) Competition -- Wonderful Taranis XD9+ for $200 or Futaba/JR/Spektrum/Graupner for hundreds more up to a couple thousand more.
7) Competition -- Global source of hobby stuff including bits and pieces (especially electronics related) that the local shops don't carry (or could not afford to carry due to lack of demand)
8) Education -- Clubs and hobby shops do not do enough in their communities to try and draw folks into the hobby. A once a year show is not enough. (My club does two fun flies, home & rec show, aviation day at the airport, AMA building program, Memorial Day Parade, city council meetings, talk to other civic groups, buddy box trials at any time.
9) Attitude -- Younger adults and their kids look for instant gratification. Buy on impulse, see if I can break it, and then beg for another one when they can't find parts at the local
hardware store.
Here are just two success stories of young folks who have their ticket for a great future in aviation because they were involved in Model Aviation.
1) Began buddy box work with me at age 10, got into heli's and became very proficient, private pilots licence before he got his drivers license. Junior at University of North Dakota in their aviation program. Paid to test fly for Northrup/Grumman Aviation/University program. Test fly for NASA. Now has his multi-engine, instrument and instructor ratings.
2) Foreign exchange student flew rc airplanes at our field and is now in the Norwegian Air Force (very likely flying drones) for NATO.
Opportunity is there but hobbyists need to do more than just fly to perpetuate the hobby.

!! Well Said !!
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rgburrill View Post
...Tower could then have adapted to a changing market. Top-Flite could have made deals with World Models. And so on....
+1,

Failure to adapt or try to change to a fast changing market even a little seems like the bigger reason why there's closings these days.

Seeing outlets in the US like Motion taking off to the moon selling more models at lower prices than their Asian counter parts and offering quick free shipping proves the ones who've adapted can compete.

There are plenty of kids interested in RC these days, kids love to fly .... drones ... because they offer

Graduated complexity
Graduated pricing
Offerings in Big Box stores (so its in front of them)
Their friends fly em

I call em gate way devices, a jet of any size usually gets their attention from a drone
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Old 01-13-2018, 04:36 AM
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Drones have killed the hobby...Instant gratification. No skill needed to assemble or operate. People loved helicopters as you generally assembled (mechanic) and it took time to set up and learn to operate. This is why many people got into the hobby...and what kept them in it. It used to be interesting for a long period, I have friends who keep buying the latest drone and wonder why 3 weeks later. Kids get bored really quickly. Guys get bored really quickly and since we don't really build models anymore, there is little pride at the field...listening to your mates praise your work.

Throw away world with impatience (all brought about by the evil of the internet) we all seem to have instant access.
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