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Whitchurch models closing on 29th may.


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On 17/05/2021 at 12:39, Matt Carlton said:

Peter - You made the same point that I made, so I'm not sure what I was missing. I completely agree that the hobby is not dead, my point was that to those who expect it to be the same as it used to be, it might look that way. 

 

Where I think we miss physical shops the most is inspiration. As wonderful as the Internet is, you have to know what you are looking for to be exposed to it. I became inspired by Aeromodelling by pressing my grubby little nose against the window of every hobby shop I walked past as a child. 

 

 

 

 

Apologies if I misread your post.

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It's a slightly off topic comment perhaps, but back in the days when the NATS show line actually demonstrated products which the visiting public could buy and fly at their club field, the trade stands were buzzing with people buying and ordering, spurred on by the ever eloquent Mr Bishop. Let alone those who scribbled down notes and went to their local model shops the very next weekend. 

That sort of promotion really works.

As wonderful as the current vogue for ever more extreme displays is, a £50K turbine model is so far away from most modellers reality that it is almost the opposite of inspirational! 

Maybe some more frequent but smaller scale trade displays would allow some of the online only retailers to have some face to face time with their customers. 

 

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Matt, it never seemed to work then. I used to see the bloke who ran Western Super Models, nice bloke, well stocked shop, who rented a stand at Woodsping wings, his local club. This was 20 years back. 
Stood there all weekend, no trade, priced out by Al’s Hobbies. 

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Don, I think you missed an important point of Matt's post.

 

2 hours ago, Matt Carlton said:

...

Let alone those who scribbled down notes and went to their local model shops the very next weekend. 

That sort of promotion really works.

As wonderful as the current vogue for ever more extreme displays is, a £50K turbine model is so far away from most modellers reality that it is almost the opposite of inspirational! 

Maybe some more frequent but smaller scale trade displays would allow some of the online only retailers to have some face to face time with their customers. 

 

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3 hours ago, Matt Carlton said:

It's a slightly off topic comment perhaps, but back in the days when the NATS show line actually demonstrated products which the visiting public could buy and fly at their club field, the trade stands were buzzing with people buying and ordering, spurred on by the ever eloquent Mr Bishop. Let alone those who scribbled down notes and went to their local model shops the very next weekend. 

That sort of promotion really works.

As wonderful as the current vogue for ever more extreme displays is, a £50K turbine model is so far away from most modellers reality that it is almost the opposite of inspirational! 

Maybe some more frequent but smaller scale trade displays would allow some of the online only retailers to have some face to face time with their customers. 

 

It worked well at Sandown Park, the place was absolutely ram packed from beginning to end while it was still being run by the club.

Whilst I see your point about the 50k turbine there is still a place for it at a show, it gives new modellers something to aspire to and older ones something to ponder on and if that fails, it's something to enjoy whilst watching between shopping. Wings & Wheels for me this year in June.

Edited by Phil McCavity
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Was in the shop last week chatting with Martin, he was shut 8 months over the last year and said how he enjoyed the time doing modeling/flying etc. Sods law I have been out of modeling for a few years and as soon as I get back to it the LMS closes. Its all the small stuff I will miss him for, glue, wood, servos etc.

 

Article about it in the local rag done by my son

 

https://www.whitchurchherald.co.uk/news/19311008.whitchurch-models-owners-thank-you-customers-shop-prepares-close-20-years/

 

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  • 6 months later...

It was sad to hear that Whitchurch Models that closed, Martin was very helpful and had a good assortment of items to purchase.

I shall miss the shop a great deal as it was very handy for me. I walked pass the other day and it didn't look right, rather like a building  that you pass by on a regular basis then it gets demolished.
Trawling the internet for hours and shopping online isn't the same as walking into a shop.

 

I wish Martin,Susan and Jasper well for the future!

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I thought that I understood why so many model shops have gone out of business, but I think the reasons are not so simple as perhaps many of us once believed.

I've mentioned before that I've taken up motorcycling again...... another niche pastime that is widely misunderstood by the general public. One can buy gear and accessories on-line from large warehouses like 'sportsbikeshop' or there is still the option of buying locally from an independent, of which there are many hundreds all over the UK still trading successfully despite on-line competition - very often between themselves as they all have good internet shops to browse. Yes, they do profit from service and repairs MOTs etc but the local ones I've looked around all have well stocked areas of clothing, helmets and bike accessories that they wouldn't bother with if they didn't sell. That industry has found a successful balance between on-line and walk-in trade that many smaller model shops seem to have missed.

All is not lost and we'll wind up with fewer model suppliers that rely on having a first class on-line option. Half a dozen names come to mind that are always cropping up in posts about good service.

 

Edited by Cuban8
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Bit more complicated Cuban. I too towards the end of my working life climbed back on a bike. I was faced with an daily commute, 76 miles, and I can’t thread through stalled traffic in a car, and to have a life, I had to get to work and home efficiently. Not much love, just efficiency.
I went to a shop, the man sorted me out for all weather, armored kit. Without  his help I would have spent a fortune on wrong kit, and still got wet, cold, or lose skin off my backside coming off.

And that’s the trouble with online shopping. Got to know what you need. Tyros and returnees get to spend money, sub optimally. And then they can lose the buzz of success.

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I agree entirely with your comments Don, buying kit as you have is best done in a real shop with a chance to browse and try things on. Not impossible to buy on-line as many offer free returns and exchange over a certain price. Most of our gear has come from on-line shops with the exception of boots - I have a wide fitting and needed to try several on before I got a pair that didn't cripple me. I did push the boat out on a pair of Alpine Stars armoured summer riding shoes from a real shop - not cheap but so comfortable you hardly know they're on.

I did buy some stuff from my local model shop yesterday.... some paint and glue for a plastic kit that I fancied having a go at over Christmas (blame the Hornby series on TV) - very little is marked up in the shop with prices, so when the bill came to £15 I did raise an eyebrow but paid up. I just checked on line and I could have got the same stuff for £11 on Amazon Prime which we use a lot these days.

 

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I'm not in the retail trade of any kind of goods, so this may be way off beam, but would model shops benefit from something like the 'Co-Op/Spar' type of group bulk buying. For example, six independent shops club together and say we'll collectively be able to order 50 'Wot 4' or whatever kit models, 100 packets of control horns etc. etc. Their bulk buying power affording them better deals with wholesalers/importers and or enabling the small(er) shops to take just one or two items.

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Nice idea Capt K but our hobby has been in the grip of a few exclusive importers and distributors for decades now and like to have things their own way. I doubt if things will change much now.

There have been challenges to their grip over the years, those of a certain age will remember Harry Brooks who offered modelling goods at discount prices and we've had a few others over the years. Not very much between all of them now - as has been shown by the lack of discounts and bargains at the model shows that still exist.

Edited by Cuban8
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31 minutes ago, Cuban8 said:

Nice idea Capt K but our hobby has been in the grip of a few exclusive importers and distributors for decades now and like to have things their own way. I doubt if things will change much now.

There have been challenges to their grip over the years, those of a certain age will remember Harry Brooks who offered modelling goods at discount prices and we've had a few others over the years. Not very much between all of them now - as has been shown by the lack of discounts and bargains at the model shows that still exist.

Totally agree with you Cuban8, and Harry Brooks now that is a name from my early modelling years past as a young Sussex lad. I have to admit much as online can be easy, there is nothing like routing through a traditional model shop. Probably  they suffer from fewer modellers and hence the social gravitational pull as much as the competition of the bulk online discounters. Where I live now in Essex I am at least lucky that I have A1 Models, Balsa Cabin a d a couple a little further afield, but we have in recent times lost a few too.

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Ah good old Harry Brooks,  I moved down to Portslade in the late 70s for work and spent most Saturday mornings at HB's in Victoria Road, in fact my then girlfriend (now wife!) said that my car knew it's own way to his shop. HB sold me my first proportional RC gear, his Sprengbrook system and also introduced me to the Chris Foss range of gliders with which I 'entertained' my girlfriend on the slopes of the Sussex Downs! The closest I have come to HB's is SMC, KLM and Pegasus with all 3 shops happy to pass the time of day talking model 'planes. I don't visit them much these days but try and buy from them on-line.

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Down 'ere in sunny Dorzet, we are lucky in having a local dealer who has a large industrial unit crammed with all things model aircraft. Ok, he is not a shop as such, and stuff is all over the place, but its all in there somewhere!.

I think this may be the way forward.

He buys up old stock, goes to all the shows and purchases all modelling goods no longer wanted / needed.

His prices are excellent.

We have no other shop as such, so he is really the only local place to go and look at model related items.

Hope he does well. Nice bloke.

Good idea on the "bulk buying".

I have bulk purchased "club models", fuel, Lipos and other items for members of our club. At the very least the postage can be split.

 

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