Good grief guys, I must be extremely lucky! In my travels over the past 40 years or so, I've NEVER, NEVER had a bad experience at a hobby shop, with the owner or their staffs. I've had worse experiences at some regional NMRA conventions.
Every store that I've been to, whether it was a chain type store like the old American Hobby Centers, (This was an start-up chain in Mobile Al, during the 1970's. I thnik they went out of business in the 1990's) or a Mom & Pop store, I have always been treated with the utmost respect. Maybe it was the fact that I always approached the owner/sales staff, (I never waited for them to come to me), with this type of opening line, "Good Morning/Afternoon Sir/Mam. My name is Carey Jenkins, and I'm from Hoover, Alabama. I'm modeling the Southern Railway in steam, during the mid to late 1940's. I would appreciate any help you could give me in regards to.....(engines, cars, structures, whatever I was looking for at the time)." Using this type of approach, I've never been disappointed in the way I was treated.
Last edited by Cjcrescent; 10-24-2012 at 10:49 PM.
No real hometown Hobby shop but not too far from a chain one (Hobbytown USA) and about an hour from a LHS in Bowling Green that I want to check out soon, hope it's good and hope to do some business with them in the future. If it's anything like other niche market stores in the age of Internet sales, they better have the common sense to offer great service or their days are numbered (and frankly too many with great service are out of business anyway).
Okay, so I live in Western Kentucky but travel pretty often to Indianapolis and then pretty much everywhere in the Southeast (Nashville, Atlanta, Mobile, Pensacola, even Orlando in the future). Any "oh you can't miss this place" ideas?
I am in the same boat as many others, no local hobby shop. Living in Montana, we're pretty spread out, and the closest shop to me is in Billings, over 150 miles away. Whenever I happen to be in Billings I will stop in to see if they have anything I need, or even use. The majority of the time I get told that they can order it for me. Makes no sense for me. Why should I have them order it in, and have to make a 300 mile round trip and pay retail. I can order it myself and have it shipped to my front door, and also save by not having to pay retail.
Back in the 80's I had a Walthers dealership that I ran out of my house to modelers all over the state. I didn't mark anything up to retail. Most of the time it was cost plus shipping just to keep merchandise moving so I could keep the dealership going. I also had access to many other distrubutors too.
It was always frustrating when I tried to put an order in and find out that an item was out of stock or back ordered.
I am to the point in the hobby that I need rather specialized items, detail parts and such that are almost always special order, even from a large shop such as Caboose Hobbies. I always try to get by there when ever I am in Denver, over my wifes' objections, but she is usually pleased because even they don't stock what I need.
Last edited by montanan; 10-25-2012 at 12:38 PM.
I guess I'm really lucky. there are no less than FOUR Hobby Shops in a five mile radius and several more within a short drive. I'm not a big buyer since there is very little I need. I do appreciate that I can get small items and paint locally. Service and personalities are a mixed bag but they know me at all of them so I get treated OK. My biggest complaint (and I fully understand why) is that a lot of the stock is the same as it was several years ago and is never updated. The good thing about that is when I do decide I need that item, the price is that of several years back. Recent years I find myself buying once a year at the Wheaton swap meet and about as often online.
I'm going to give a LHS that I've just done internet business with (because they are still a LHS) and I think I might have been their first international customer.
Jesse and Beulah Bell
J. AND B. TRAINS
2 West Water St
Smithburg. MD 21783
Ph (240) 420-4930
Excellent service, quick response to my initial inquiry (I was looking for MTH HO 60' wood deck flat cars (machinery)), very friendly and easy to communicate with and resulted in a very successful purchase and a new record for delivery time from the US of 8 days inclusive. So if you're in the locale, pop in and see them and tell them I said Hi and thanks again.