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Model Shops

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Dean Hunter19/02/2016 22:43:41
27 forum posts

I went to my local model shop today with the intention of buying several servos - £40-£60. I had the choice of two within 30 miles. As I was short of time I went to the nearer one approx. 7 miles. I asked did they stock servos, yes we do said the helpful fellow behind the counter, then I would like four please, ah we haven't any in stock, we should have some in stock in a week? I could have ordered them off the web first thing this morning and chances are I would have them the following day...... I did try and support my local shop but it is very difficult. I appreciate that a model shop has severe competition - I may try the shop again in a week out of curiosity to see if they have any in stock? the cynic in me thinks ......

Essjay19/02/2016 23:39:16
578 forum posts
1 photos

A simple phone call to the shop first to check stock would have saved you a trip.

Dean Hunter19/02/2016 23:49:16
27 forum posts

I could have phoned, but (i) I had time (ii) I like walking round model shops.....

Robert Parker20/02/2016 00:04:31
1008 forum posts
1398 photos

Hi Dean,

You are lucky to have a choice of model shops.

I once had a choice of three within twenty miles of my home, now I have none. I miss the just wandering in with the intention of buying a couple of odds and ends and walking out with either a kit, engine or even both plus a good chat to the shop owner. I miss those days.

I am now totally dependant on the web and miss the browse. yes I can chase lower prices on the net but the help and advice you can get from a model shop is priceless.

You don't know what you have until it is gone, trust me on that. Go back to the shop and if they have or have not got your servos buy some odds and ends we always need clevis's, nuts and bolts, prop or even a kit.

I say support your local model shop.



Stuart Z20/02/2016 04:55:47
401 forum posts

I used to have a model shop only 12 miles away, as Robert says _ when that is no longer the case you miss it big time. I now do a 100 mile round trip to a model shop every now and again and thoroughly enjoy the experience. And yes, it always involves a fair chunk of money. For the odds and ends, I support a select bunch of shops that I find provide excellent service. So in reality supporting several shops across the sector, but I do enjoy my occasional pilgrimage for face to face advice and buying the big stuff.

Denis Watkins20/02/2016 08:33:29
4649 forum posts
131 photos

Right lads, let's open a model shop, there is nothing to it. So we will need 3 of each plane , OK, 4 of each servo, every ESC, Battery And motor, fuel, every OS and Saito, SC and Irvine, and £1000 per week rent. That is cheap, so I will put my half in, How much do you reckon we need? £100,000, what would you think it takes to stock a model shop?

Dean Hunter20/02/2016 09:53:54
27 forum posts

I am aware of the financial implications of stocking a model shop - for that matter stocking ANY retail outlet. I will go back and see if the shop has received a delivery? But as I mentioned previously I suspect they will not be store when I go back? Its interesting that it will take the shop a week to get them in whereas I can order them off the web and get them prob within 48 hours. What is wrong with HIS suppliers?

Glyn4420/02/2016 10:06:35
734 forum posts
93 photos

I have never had the luxury of a LMS. Before I started flying there were at least 5 within my city environs. Now there are none.

I have chosen an model shop that has an Internet shop, nice n easy to use, prices comparable , not necessarily the cheapest, and I use that shop online as my LMS. I get on well with the guys if I phone them, either with a stock query, or advice. (No it's not HK)

Saves me driving, and I don't see something that I had no idea I wanted, as I would in an actual shop!

The downside is buying a small item that you desperately need to finish a job, that's cost a couple of quid, and you have to pay twice that to get it delivered. Ain't life grand.

Happy flying, Glyn.

Bob Cotsford20/02/2016 10:51:17
8794 forum posts
494 photos
Posted by Dean Hunter on 20/02/2016 09:53:54:

Its interesting that it will take the shop a week to get them in whereas I can order them off the web and get them prob within 48 hours. What is wrong with HIS suppliers?

The shop probably has to meet a minimum order value in order to qualify for trade prices from the distributor, hence most shops can't place an order every time a customer requests an out of stock item but instead build up a list of items required to make a weekly or fortnightly order . Also carriage costs are an overhead that needs to be minimised by reducing the number of individual parcels ordered.

As an individual you can order a single item off the web and get it next day by paying a) a unit price and b) postage on each item or small batch you order this way.

I order pretty much everything I want off internet traders as postage is usually less than it would cost me in fuel to drive to a model shop.

Edited By Bob Cotsford on 20/02/2016 10:52:25

Airtek20/02/2016 11:22:16
19 forum posts

I am reading this thread with interest because one of the things that strikes me is the change in attitude of people towards the UK model trade. Just a year or so ago there was a lot of hostility towards us but it makes a very welcome change that people are running to our defence and have more enlightenment towards the problems that are faced.
Internet trading and face to face are two very different things. I don't think the retailer purposely or even wanted to be out of stock of the servos but you are judged on whether you a have a particular item for an individual at a set time. With internet trading yes you do often have more stock and if you have a good relationship with suppliers can get items sent straight out to customers so you do effectively have them in stock but not at your premises.
The trade is suffering a fairly chronic supply shortage at the moment. One major manufacturer is suffering from problems both political and natural in their country having an adverse effect on their ability to manufacture/supply, and we ourselves have thousands of dollars with Chinese suppliers at the moment who are slow because of their New Year break leaving us with stock problems. These things filter right down to your local shop and there is very little he can do about it.
I am at the moment sat in our own shop which we open on Saturdays till 1.00 pm. We are lucky in that we are located in a good catchment area with a lot of active clubs within easy driving distance and the total number of customers we have had so far today is nil and I suspect that will be the case for the rest of the day. So from my point of view model shops seem to be dead because no one seems to be interested!

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator20/02/2016 11:52:38
15748 forum posts
1460 photos

There is no question at all that it's very tough for the independent LMS these days. There is also no doubt that unless we support them they will go under - they are not crying "wolf" by any means. I have 3 model shops within reasonable driving distance (60-70 mile round trip). But only one is really any good and generally that one is excellent - Steve Webbs in Frodsham. The others do some aero stuff but one is mainly cars and the other mainly railway stuff.

What to do though? Its a chicken and egg situation isn't it? We don't buy because when we want to they can't always offer the stock levels and range of choice we can get off the web. They don't heavily stock because we don't buy enough!

My strategy is to support Webbies even for routine purchases whenever I can - even if that means paying a little extra. I need them to stay in business so that when something critical goes U/S on Friday night I can nip there first thing Saturday morning and get an immediate replacement nne times out of ten and I don't lose a weekends flying.

The second thing I do is give preference in my general buying decisions, whenever I can, to LMS's trading on the web. That way I can have the convenience of web shopping but at least I can support someone else's LMS.

Personally I only really buy two items from the big online traders like HK. The first is things only they really stock - particular kits or very specialosed items that in all reasonableness I couldn't expect an LMS to stock for the one they might sell every two years! Second is batterries. regretably the price differential between the LMS and HK for batterries is more than even I am prepared to shallow! I understand the reason, an LMS might be ordering a 50 batteries, HK have the buying power to commission thousands, direct from the manufacturer.

So, in short I support when I can, even at a bit of a premium price, and I keep my fingers crossed its enough! In my personal view - and I know that for some fellow modellers this might be luxury they can ill afford - we do collectively need to do this if we are to keep the shops that are left and the wonderful experience of going in for a "packet of clevises and tube of glue" and then coming out, after a nice chat and even a cup of coffee, with that kit we just had to have!


Former Member20/02/2016 14:14:34
8090 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Nigel Herron20/02/2016 14:31:26
72 forum posts
130 photos

My Nearest model shop is a 150 mile round trip so very very rarely have I visited I'm afraid it's far easier to do tinternet shopping but even that has its down sides, having recently purchased a Seagull Super Tucano only to find on opening up the box that the item was damaged, (All due credit to my supplier hopefully we have come to a mutual agreement).

As this is my 3rd Tuc from Seagull but supplied by 2 different model shops and 2 of them have been damaged on receipt im thru with buying ARTF's. I shall continue to carry on building and there again I use tinternet for materials, Why Because its easier in the long run probably not as cheap as nipping to a local M,S and would they have every thing I needed,( probably does away with impulse buying when you see something on the shelf). you think ahhh yes will have one of them etc etc. so now only go looking for what I need.


leccyflyer20/02/2016 14:43:42
1628 forum posts
339 photos

Having been spoiled for many years by living within walking distance of Webbies I'm three years into not having an LHS. The nearest "proper" model shop that I've visited is a 250 mile round trip away and, I understand, has recently moved to a warehouse setting. There are a couple of shops that might have a few bits and pieces a bit nearer.

Don;t forget though, that plenty of model shops also have mail order and even Internet shops as part of their business. That would seem to be an important factor to try to ensure their survival, as the passing trade and in-person trade is simply not there in the volume that it once was. Shops might also need to specialise more than previously to thrive- they are operating at a disadvantage anyway with high street rents and rates, parking problems and competition.

The bottom line is, if you are lucky enough to have an LHS then make use of it, if you value that immediate supply of the things vital to a weekend's flying. Otherwise, you will have to be more organised and carry your own large stock of spares - like those folks who don;t have the luxury of a nearby LHS.

ChrisB20/02/2016 19:56:07
1220 forum posts
34 photos

I think it's a sign of the times. I can remember 20 years ago when my LMS would always have the items I wanted in "next week" and time after time it was on order and would be in next week and a few years ago it closed. The stock never really changed in 20 years.

As hard as it is if a retailer doesn't have the items you want, be it in person or over the Internet or phone, cannot say when they'll be available and doesnt have alternatives and does it all with a grimmis then how long will you keep using that retailer.

It comes down to attitude and customer service as well as price and availability.

Bob Cotsford20/02/2016 23:13:29
8794 forum posts
494 photos

Since Bob's Models in Sheldon closed my nearest LMS is now a 1 1/2 hours and half a gallon of diesel round trip away. It's cheaper and easier to switch on the computer and let Google find me someone advertising the items I want, then the postie delivers the goodies to my door in a day or two. That's retail life these days.

As for HK, I do order items from them, but it's either cheap items that I'm prepared to write off if faulty, HK 'exclusives' or high value items where the savings make the risk/hassle balance worthwhile- e.g. engines.

Barrie Dav 221/02/2016 12:37:13
1012 forum posts
14 photos

Thumbs up for Airtek. I write from personal experience. Always helpful and polite. Bravo Airtek!

Former Member21/02/2016 12:40:44
8090 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Tony Harrison 221/02/2016 12:54:00
261 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by Percy Verance on 20/02/2016 14:14:34:

I must be something of a rarity, in that I've bought precisely nothing from Hobbyking or wherever/whatever you may refer to as "HK". No, these days I rely on the two model shops I have within easy travelling distance plus the occasional order to other UK based shops.....

Me too. As a beginner, I am fortunate to have two model shops a few miles away in Newton Abbot, Stan Yeo's Phoenix Models, and Bekra Models in Queen Street. They are both well stocked, and Stan in particular is a goldmine of knowledgeable advice freely given. Apart from planes/kits (which I've bought s/h on Ebay so far) nearly all my bits & pieces have come from these shops - plus a few from UK mail order places. I want to see model shops thrive, not just because it's healthy & convenient for this recreation but because they are such valuable repositiories of advice.

rgds Tony

John Tee21/02/2016 13:02:08
901 forum posts
73 photos

I'm "lucky". I live in a village called Warnham just off the A24 main road. My nearest (only) model shop is Sussex Model Centre at Worthing - 18 miles away. The shop is located on the A24 so it is literally just down the road.


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