Caboose permanently closed....

Keith Dec 11, 2020

  1. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

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    From my Facebook newsfeed today:

    [​IMG]

    Maybe they can return, in some fashion, when the current situation comes to some sort of an end!
     
    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  2. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Looks just like the real caboose this one is at an end too.
     
  3. drgwspup

    drgwspup TrainBoard Member

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    As someone who was thrilled to find Caboose Hobbies when I came to Denver in 1977 and visited their Broadway location on a weekly basis, it is so disappointing to read and hear about the recent business practices of the folks who bought the old Caboose name. I realized that the new Caboose was in trouble when I visited during the 2019 holiday season and there was very little product in the store. When you can't stock up for the busiest time of the year for a train shop, then its over. Hard to believe that new Caboose has so thoroughly trashed the legacy of original Caboose Hobbies
     
    Massey likes this.
  4. marmot

    marmot TrainBoard Supporter

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  5. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Just a quick heads up... The model railroad industry is overflowing with these controversial events. Just ask anyone who has played in the game for any length of time. Manufacturers get burned off ALL THE TIME. Usually you offer between 30 days and up to 90 days till your customer has to pay. While their intentions may have been to turn trick on your product over night then buy more with the profits, often what happens is they find a reason to not pay you.

    Next step is they start avoiding you, even hiding from you at train shows where you confront the deadbeat, they will spin a big web of lies, or you grab a pile of their most expensive products and walk from their booth. I have both seen, and been involved in these ugly dealings many times. Some of the most respected and coveted manufacturers have been caught up in both sides of these dealings from time to time. I myself have thousands of dollars still owed to me by both dealers and other manufacturers. :D It's all part of the game.
     
    CNE1899, Hardcoaler and BNSF FAN like this.
  6. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Yep, I felt the same way when I went in over Thanksgiving a year ago. I was quite disappointed as I had bought from them back in the early 70's when I lived in Laramie, Wy.

    Sumner
     
  7. S t e f a n

    S t e f a n TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting article. Apparently the owner is still hopeful. Calling your customer base 'foamers' might not be the best business move, though.
     
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  8. grande5771

    grande5771 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Lot's of BS in that article.
     
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes. A ton of it!

    When I read "...although it hasn’t been decided what form that will take...", it sounds like a completely rudderless vessel. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
     
    Mr. Trainiac and Kurt Moose like this.
  10. S t e f a n

    S t e f a n TrainBoard Member

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    Do you (grande5771, BoxcabE50) mean BS as in non-sensical statements coming from the owner, or BS as in factual inaccuracies made up by the reporter?
     
    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    See my quote of the owner, above. Just one of several from that person, which do not come across very well, at all.
     
    S t e f a n and Mr. Trainiac like this.
  12. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    Why would they want to go all-online if their online sales were so low? I would agree with the lack of direction. They want to manufacture in-house, they want to go all-online, they want to move to a new location. It just doesn't make sense. I think any one of those directions is a good idea, but all three at once? That seems more difficult than running the shop the way it was.

    MB woo woo woo went all-online and that seems to be working out for them, and in-house manufacturing sounds a lot like what Des Plaines Hobbies used to do. The ideas they came up with are not absurd, so why does Caboose not have the magic like other shops have?
     
  13. S t e f a n

    S t e f a n TrainBoard Member

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    It might have to do with fixed costs/overhead, and not enough margin and not enough volume. Just a guess.

    Slightly off-topic, but I just don't see how you can run a hobby shop successfully if it mostly serves as just as a showroom for other businesses, i.e. people come and look and research, and then buy elsewhere. There will always be somebody on ebay who will sell with minimal or no markup, because they are not so good with numbers, or just to get rid of inventory.
    To run a store under those conditions, it almost seems you would have to charge upfront for researching/taking pictures/taking measurements, and then you wouldn't mind to let people order online. You could even help them find the best price. Or a consulting subscription, like, for ten visits, or half a year? It seems difficult to compete otherwise.

    Or maybe a hybrid showroom/pay-as-you-go 'bring your own trains or rent ours' model railroad club?
    Taking a page out of Huckleberry Finn, you could even try to make people pay you for letting them build your model railroad:
    pay ten bucks, and try your hand at ballasting or rock carving or static grass or whatever; of course, afterwards somebody needs to clean up the mess.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2021
  14. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    I enjoy shopping in-person. My strategy is to do my research before I go (I know what I want when I walk in), which is why I like stores that have online shops, even if I don't order from there. It is good to see what is in stock before I go. I don't like paying shipping. For small orders like one or two freight cars, shipping may be 10-20% of my entire bill. On eBay, where you may buy from multiple sellers, that percentage is even higher. It feels like so much of my purchase money just vanishes into shipping rather than the actual models.

    I think inventory is important, but that's a double-edges sword too. We see stores go out of business because of excess inventory, or not having enough of it (which sounds like Caboose may have suffered from the latter). Location is probably important too. Metropolitan stores can probably afford more inventory because of a larger customer base. Larger orders probably means better bulk pricing for dealers too. It is just a cascade effect: low orders means low inventory and low profit, which means higher prices which means less customers and the cycle repeats.

    The coronavirus shutdowns were probably the final nail in the coffin. If their walk-in percentage was as high as they said, and with their website not being set up, I could see how it got bad quick.

    I think it is hard for shops to set themselves apart these days. With smaller stores, sometimes you find unique products like paint and detail parts. Most of the 'big box' online shops seem to focus on rolling stock. And with everyone having the same stuff from Athearn and Atlas, there really is no incentive to shop local because every hobby shop has the same products.

    Caboose probably suffered from all of it. Peoples' attachment to the old Caboose Hobbies probably soured them when they saw the new one. It just wasn't the same.
     
  15. Jan Hansen

    Jan Hansen New Member

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    Sendt fra min SM-A405FN med Tapatalk
     
  16. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Change of ownership. Moving the store from it's old and historical site. (Anyone else recall the old business axiom "location, location, location"?) Current business economics. And more? So many things which likely contributed.
     

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