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  • Editorial by Peter S. Barney


    Prototype Modeler - December 1980 - Page 5

    Last summer I had the opportunity to visit three out-of-state hobby shops, all three in more rural areas of New England where model railroading is not as popular a hobby as it is in the heavier populated metropolitan districts.

    All three stores, while differing in stock, location, and trade shared many similarities - each was founded by an active model railroader; each had an operating model railroad (two in HO and one in Lionel) just a few feet from the store; each depended on the Christmas trade to keep them profitable; and each commented in one way or another on the strain caused to their sales by the national discount stores which either siphon off some of their potential sales or create a discount atmosphere where they are under pressure to match the discount prices on a local level, something they can not afford to do as their overhead is much higher on an individual basis than the large mail-order discount operation.

    Now, in no way can the discount firm be criticized as being un-American for our system of econ omics encourages competition and allows firms to charge whatever they wish for their products and services whether it be full retail or only pennies above cost, the selling price is up to the store owner.

    And yet with mail-order something is lost for I can well remember the first time the enjoy ment of entering a hobbyshop and stepping into a wonderland where all manner of modeling items were available for personal inspection before purchase and the hobby dealer was there to handle complaints or repairs on a one-to-one arrangement as well as to pass on whatever industry news he knew, or of forthcoming products and item changes.

    Also missing by mail is the opportunity to meet other model railroaders who may share similar interests as the local hobby shop is usually the communications center for that par ticular areas modelers. Like the country store of another time which acted to promote social interchange, the individual hobby shop acts in this way on a more specific level. With Christ mas coming it's time to get out there and visit your local store.

    We'll all be the poorer if our local stores succumb through our lack of support. It is to your own advantage to support your local hobby dealer; it is true that he needs you but it is equally true that you need him as well. 

    As we are entering the holiday season our thoughts turn to the more pleasant aspects of our troubled world. And the holiday season is certainly one of the more pleasant. Please accept our sincerest best wishes for a bountiful Thanksgiving, a joyous holiday, and all the best of things for the coming year.  

    Article Details

    • Original Author Peter S. Barney
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date December 1980

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