Another hobby shop gone.

John Moore Aug 7, 2013

  1. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Needing a few pieces of Atlas sectional track and some rail joiners, plus running low on some of my styrene sizes, I decided to get out and make the 15 mile trek one way trip to the only hobby shop left in the area, reasonably close that carries those things. I get there to only discover that the store is now empty with a lease sign in the window. No indication on the web site so the trip was just a frustrating drive in traffic and construction zones expecting a store to be still there.

    So other than an exploratory phone call later today to another one to see if they have close to what I want, and I already know they don't carry styrene plastics, I am about reduced down to traveling to west of Baltimore or internet only and the occasional local train show which seems to be down to about once a year in this area now.

    So for an area that has a large population I seem to be down to one store that is at least an hour drive that has a wide selection of the items I use and best of all a realtime inventory that lets me know that something is actually in stock before I make the trip or order. Nothing more frustrating than to see that a store carries a product and get there or order and find they don't have it, or a clue as to when they will get it.

    Recently made a rare departure from my regular vender to order some decals I needed from another vender, that were out of stock with my regular folks. Web site stated in stock. Two weeks later half of the order turns out to be not in stock and unavailable, and the rest is going on almost fours weeks and no sign of progress. Based on that result I will not revisit that vendor again, and lesson learned, either order from the tried and true or directed from the manufacturer.

    It is a shame but probably a good indicator of the changing times that this area has gone from having close to twenty stores, all in a 30 minute driving distance, to less than three with a very limited supply of N scale or anything else for that matter.

    Ahh rant over now back to the regularly scheduled subjects.
     
  2. JB Stoker

    JB Stoker TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry to hear about another one biting the dust. There was one up here in Cave Creek AZ that just went belly up too. It was only around 6 months or so and was in a really poor location- high rent, low traffic. Add to that the fact that most of the folks around here with extra cash are snowbirds and probably don't have a second layout in their second home and it makes it tough to run a hobby store, especially in the summer. There are still a half dozen or so choices within an hour of me though (Phoenix). Isn't Model Train Stuff around your area John?
     
  3. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    I feel your pain. Try living out where I am in Montana. There are no decent hobby shops for hundreds of miles. I can see why, with the sparse population we have here. There is one around 150 miles away in Billings, and I will usually stop by when I am in town, but they never have what I need in stock and I get the "well, I can order it in" line.

    My layout was at a standstill for years because I couldn't find anything I needed. I had done some searching on ebay, but for the most part, that was a waste of time. Many times I had seen items go at over retail in bidding wars, and by the time shipping was added, it was a joke.

    Thankfully in recent years a number of on line retailers have come on board and I can get just about most everything I need, and most of the time with a discount. One thing you have to look out for is shipping. I usually make a list and put a larger order in and find that this helps quite a bit.

    I have been dealing with a few on line retailers and have been very satisfied with results. I would still prefer to see a product first hand, but at times you don't have a choice.
     
  4. LOU D

    LOU D TrainBoard Member

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    John,I can definitely relate..Over the last ten years,I went from having a half dozen huge,fully stocked hobby shops withing a 30 minute drive,and dozens more within an hour drive to nothing but a hardware store that sells hobby stuff,and even he's a half hour drive,and I really can't "connect" with the guy,he's always running around,never get to really talk to him,and he's not a train guy....You should see what I'm going through just trying to get paint and decals.There's not a single place I can go to to actually buy a train,I gotta do everything online,right down to the last boxcar or piece of styrene..I can't even find Modelmaster paints,let alone railroad stuff,and that was BEFORE Floquil went away...I'm so disgusted,I'm pretty much ready to pack it in..I live in a huge metro area,Scranton,PA,the only actual real train shop I have left is English's,almost two hours away..You'd think I live in the rainforest in South America..It's really getting to be too much.. like work just finding stuff.
     
  5. TetsuUma

    TetsuUma TrainBoard Member

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    There is one shop west of Manassas on Rt 28. They are primarily O but carry some building materials. PM me who closed.
     
  6. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Have been there and just wasn't worth the drive or fighting traffic. Sent you a PM.
     
  7. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Having grown up in the state I can relate. Although surprisingly about 55 years ago there was a small shop in town that did carry MRR stuff and I first got involved with HO buying stuff from there. When I returned there for a short spell after military service I remember a nice shop in Fargo, ND that I had found while there for some training. But you are right in that stuff out there is far and few between and probably less now.
     
  8. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    I've been very lucky in that all the places I've. Lived still have excellent hobby shops.
     
  9. Seanem44

    Seanem44 TrainBoard Member

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    How far is cockeyesville from Baltimore?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2013
  10. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    About 15 miles north of Baltimore off of I-83.
     
  11. brokemoto

    brokemoto TrainBoard Member

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    John lives in Falls Gulch, Virginia, which is a suburb of Washington. It is the next suburb to the west after Arlington. It must be close to a seventy five mile drive to get to Cockeysville, Maryland from there.

    I actually live in the District of Columbia. Even for me it is a trek that I rarely make, and I usually do not need to deal with too much traffic. I have about six lights on South Dakota Avenue, then I am on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The only traffic that I m ight encounter would be either on that Parkway or the Baltimore Beltway. Still, I go there only if I am going to a show at Timonium or GF wants to go up that way for some reason. It must be at least a fifty five mile drive for me, and I live in the Northeastern part of the City near Catholic University.

    I live in the Big City and if I do not buy it at a show, frequently I buy it on the web from one of three e-Tailers that I use.

    I am trying to guess to which store John refers.
     
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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  13. PacRail

    PacRail TrainBoard Supporter

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  14. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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  15. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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  16. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    I can imagine that it would be quite a trip for you. I have driven in that area years ago and wouldn't want to do it myself. I work in operations for a trucking company and our drivers whine and complain when they have to head into that area. out here two cars within a quarter of each other is considered heavy traffic.
     
  17. Seanem44

    Seanem44 TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry. I feel I might have misunderstood the guidlines that were outlined on the policy page, as I wasn't bad mouthing a store, nor was I saying they were great. I was merely pointing out the closest geographical dealer to the OP in an attempt to help.

    That being said, I'm not going to argue the fact that the name of the store was deleted, and I'll make sure I don't do it again.
     
  18. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well the store that closed in VA had been there about 8-10 years and used to have a decent amount of stuff plus a lot of consignment stuff. As far as my regular internet source we will just say it is in Maryland and quite a haul in the traffic around here. About the only time I show up in person at the new store is when there is a show up in Timonium, and with the gas prices, construction delays, and other things I don't go to many shows up there anymore.

    I had one last hope of finding what I needed and that was out in Chantilly, VA. A phone call confirmed no rail joiners and no new packs of Atlas fixed radius track. However the proprietor piped up and stated they did have some used Atlas track which got me on the road for a half hour drive. The used track I found at 25 cents a section was in as good if not better shape than the new in the package with factory air. I then spotted an Atlas track cleaning car sitting there with a decent price and two full length dome cars for far less than I could buy elsewhere. So they left the store with me also plus enough of the used track to finish out with some left over. Store has limited N scale and some consignment stuff plus some scenic materials. However I did not spot a single bottle of glue or plastic shapes in the store so it looks like the order route for me for that stuff and paint.

    So with the 11 inch radius and the 9 and 3/4 inch radius test track loops done I can now start on the 8 inch radius inner oval. Next up is a good basic DC power pack to replace the old failing antique I have from a trainset. Anybody have any suggestions for a good basic DC power pack just to be used with the test track.
     
  19. Pete Steinmetz

    Pete Steinmetz TrainBoard Member

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    San Diego is down to one train store left.

    Vancouver, B.C. is down to one train store.

    Buy engines on the internet and paint and glue in the local shop and see what happens.
     
  20. Seanem44

    Seanem44 TrainBoard Member

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    I live in Woodbridge, and there was a store right near Fort Belvoir off of 195 that I used to go to. Similiar deal. I show up one day and there is a sign saying they moved about 40 miles away. I'm stuck using the internet now.
     

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