Which of these represents your local train shop/dealer?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Mastiffdog, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. Mastiffdog

    Mastiffdog Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2003
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    0
    Couple of questions, and I anticpate some good responses from everyone, so here goes:

    1. Is your local dealer (and please don't tell me you live a zillion miles from your local hobbyshop) a one man, sitting behind the counter guy who might be smoking a pipe or cigarette and the store stinks and so does the inventory?

    2. Is your local dealer the kind that hides in the backroom while some lackey behind the counter has to go into some clandestine back office to get permission to sell you something at a slight discount?

    3. Is your local dealer the kind that employees 10 salesman with little green (or some other color) vests on with tons of collector pins on them?

    4. Is your local dealer the kind that always makes you order everything you need because he doesn't carry anything more than Model Power or older Bachmann?

    5. Is your local dealer, "Bob" the train guy the kind who has everything and is hestitant about selling something because he thinks you know something about a special road name that he doesn't?

    Dog
  2. belg

    belg Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2001
    Messages:
    901
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess if I had to chose one #4 would be closest to the truth but he does carry Atlas Kato Micro Intermountain but all at a very limited qauntity and since 9-11 his stock seems to be even smaller because his business is slow,but I hate to tell him it's slow because of the selection.
  3. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    0
    The LHS inthis area is close to #4 , but they do have a better selection than trainset quality merchandise. It's a chainstore in this area that covers all sorts of hobbies called "Hobby Bench".
    When I kept getting the " no, but we can order it" I asked if he knew of another store in the area. His reply was "I'm the only game in town from Phoenix to Flagstaff". I have only been buying at the train shows since. I'd rather put my few dollars in the hand of another modeler. Which reminds me I'll have to post my shopping list in the buy/sell catagory.
  4. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Messages:
    5,347
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow! It occurs to me how lucky I am! My LHS is only two miles away. The dealer is a nice guy with a dry sense of humor who carries a diverse range of products and happily orders anything I want that he doesn't have. He's knowledgable and seems to enjoy talking to customers about the hobby. He's building a layout in front to demonstrate products like sound system equipped steam engines or scenary materials. He has also been very helpful with to wife who at times secretly visits the store to purchase birthday or Christmas gifts for me!
    Ralph (feelin' lucky!)
  5. RidgeRunner

    RidgeRunner Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2003
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    Lots of guys in green aprons is what my LHS is. Great place too! I buy very little online (and even tolerate special orders thru the hobby shop) simply because their prices are fair, service is good, and they have a tremendous amount of stuff in stock... so it's only the oddball stuff like Proto:87 wheelsets that I end up ordering. :D

    The fact that they're across the street from a major train museum helps too. ;)
  6. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2003
    Messages:
    668
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hmmm, I guess I am truly bless with several great LHS's.

    For starters, everyone knows about Model-Expo... they are about 20 minutes from me on the expressway... though they are getting out of MRR altogether.

    My regular LHS is Tex-N-Rails... nothing but trains, and nothing but the best - Kato, Atlas, MT, Athearn... etc etc. They specialize in N, but have a great selection of HO and their prices can't be beat! (Ha, this sounds like a plug!) But the owners are really cool and always willing to help and offer advice (but never unasked for).

    Another great LHS is Ready-To-Roll trains. They carry EVERYTHING! In fact, they have 5 layouts on the premises, I was very impressed! They carry a much wider range of stuff from Z to G, along with all the trimmings! I've only ever been there once, so I cant tell you how the shopowners are, but first impression was a good one!
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Messages:
    4,709
    Likes Received:
    0
    My LHS is none of the above. The owner likes Lionel, but I forgive him for that! He has a general hobby shop cattering to trains, planes, rc cars, and boats. There may be some other things there as well. The shop is arrainged in depts. and he hires people in the hobby for each dept. Therefore you don't get a rc car guy trying to help with trains or vice versa. The train guys are very knowledgeable, as well as neat guys. I've been going there since I got into the hobby in the late 80's, and am on a first name basis with the guys behind the counter in the train dept. Furthermore, he discounts most everything he stocks by 10% except for a few items from companies who don't allow enough markup in their pricing. In addition, he offers an additional 10% off to railroad club members. He also will get deals from time to time from distributers on "white elephants." He got a bunch of the first run Atlas rs1's and sold them for $39.95 when they were normally going for around $90.00. The reason, he got them decorated for various Eastern roads that no one wanted in So Cal. I bought one in Southern colors, removed the paint, and painted it black. It is now waiting for me to get time to put on zebra stripes, but now I'm thinking of painting it red and doing it as Arkansas & Missouri. He got a bunch of Ertl building kits in that were priced from the manufacturer at $75.00 each. He got a deal from a distributor who was stuck with them, and is selling them for $15.00 each! I've bought about a dozen of them at a rate of one a week. I haven't figured out exactly what to do with them, but I see a lot of kitbashing possibilities. Each kit contains a brick warehouse and a small stone building + details.
  8. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2001
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    0


    OK it isn't a zillion miles away, only half a zillion. Much too far to make a trip specifically to go there but I do try to stop in when I'm in the area. He covers a wide range of hobbys so doesn't have a huge inventory in any particular one, maybe 20% of the store is dedicated to MRR, mostly HO and N. He is friendly and knowlegable and has been willing to help out with any question I have put to him. I would rather buy from a LHS but if it weren't for the internet and ebay I wouldn't have a 10th of the stuff that I do.
  9. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2002
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess I'm lucky as well, my primary LHS while almost thirty miles away in Denton TX, is a one man operation with a decent selection of HO and N scale products. He is very knowledgable as well and can order anything that he doesn't stock. On top of that, everything is 20% off, with a few locos 25% off the list price. Further away, but only six miles from where I work is a very large discounter in Addison, (you Dallas area guys know who I'm talking about), that is a wonderful place to shop. Hugh selection of detail parts and rolling stock in all scales.
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Messages:
    2,950
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. Is your local dealer (and please don't tell me you live a zillion miles from your local hobbyshop) a one man, sitting behind the counter guy who might be smoking a pipe or cigarette and the store stinks and so does the inventory?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That would depend on the shop I go to_Overall they are great guys.But,I will mention one.First you gotta get by his horse that he calls a dog.Of course Fido just loves you and has to jump on you to let you know you are most welcome and looks you in the eyes while making you feel welcome.Now then Bub-ba is sitting behind the counter chugging a cold beer and watching TV.Then this happens:
    Hi Bub-ba
    Bub-ba-Burp! Howdy.
    Where to you keep your floquil paint? (He keeps moving things around its his hobby you see)
    Without taking his eyes off the TV he points and says over there..Burrrrp! Yet this is one of the busiest hobby shops with discount prices! :eek:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2. Is your local dealer the kind that hides in the backroom while some lackey behind the counter has to go into some clandestine back office to get permission to sell you something at a slight discount?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    No,All the shops I go to his run by Mom & Pop.Ole Mom knows as much about the hobby as Pop does in most cases.:D
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    3. Is your local dealer the kind that employees 10 salesman with little green (or some other color) vests on with tons of collector pins on them?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That sounds more like the customers as Mom & Pop is usually dress in casual wear.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    4. Is your local dealer the kind that always makes you order everything you need because he doesn't carry anything more than Model Power or older Bachmann?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    No luckily I live by some fully stock hobby shops that doesn't sell "train set" locomotives.Not even Bub-Ba sells those.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Is your local dealer, "Bob" the train guy the kind who has everything and is hestitant about selling something because he thinks you know something about a special road name that he doesn't?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    No,except perhaps Bub-Ba.But then he's a great modeler and very knowledgeable.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  11. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Messages:
    2,837
    Likes Received:
    0
    None of the above.
    The guy that runs my LHS, has it in his basement, friendly, helpful.
    He even let me borrow his air brush, just to try airbrushing for weathering.
    If he doesn't have it in stock...He's quick to order it for you, and a few extras for the shop...Just in case.
    Can't ask for anything else.

    But I have visited other shops, that contain all that you have mentioned. It was always my first...and last visit.
  12. jwmurrayjr

    jwmurrayjr Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    My LTS here in the DFW (TX) area is great!

    And it's a Train store not a hobby shop.

    Friendly, helpful staff.

    Plenty of stock. Gobs of stuff.

    Special orders with no deposit.

    Easy returns.

    Mail order.

    20% discount on everything but decoders (10%).

    They have demo tracks for locos, sound and DCC systems.

    And it's 15 minuets from where I work.

    If you're near Dallas you probably already know about Discount Model Trains.
  13. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2002
    Messages:
    3,221
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess I'm blessed, I have at least five railroad related hobby shops, all within 45 minutes of the house, and all good stores with good people. Then there's four others, who are a little more specialized (collectors/lionel/brass/toy). I have ocasionally done business with some of these.
    If the shop can support my needs, I do business with them, whether they have tons of collector pins, smoke, or the owner hides in the back room, or not.
    It's not whether they have detail parts in stock, it's how fast they can get them for me.
    Pete
  14. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Messages:
    1,744
    Likes Received:
    0
    The LHS I visit is about 50 miles away. I go there when the wife and I go to Sacramento to do some shopping at Sams Club. If there was another train store within a reasonable distance I would change fast. I have never been happy with this LHS. Every time I stop there, I see the clerks standing around the cash register gabbing. (Usually 2 or 3 guys). If I can't find anything, I have to up to the register to get help (maybe). After standing listining to them for a couple of minutes, I interupt and ask where I can find such & such. They stop talking and look at each other as if they are trying to decide which one of them wants to help me. Finally one of them decides to help and leads me to where the item is. Quite often there are several types of that item and I turn to him for help and he is gone. Another trip to the register and after awhile another guy leads me back and I get a little more help. I pick up what I want and turn to him to ask where something else is and low and behold, he has disappeared. Another trip to the register and this time I get another guy, but in the meantime they all look at me as if I have two heads or something.

    And as far as pricing. I believe they take the list price and add 20%. I can shop all over the web and every place is a lot cheaper.
    Example, A Bachman Northern 4-8-4 is just under $300.00. I got mine on E Bay for $30.00 and it runs just fine.

    The last few months, the only reason I go in there is to look at something I might be interested in buying on the Web.
  15. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2002
    Messages:
    1,061
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't go to the LHS around here (Stafford, Va). They are mostly the gaming and RC Car/Airplane variety. The one train store that I have visited in Manassas is primarily MTH and Lionel but "will order anything". They do have a good supply of MT rolling stock at standard retail prices. Store staff is not much help.

    When I do go to a "Model Railroad Shop" it is generally out of state- like Seattle, WA, or St. Louis, MO. I have found "The Train Center" in Seattle to be a fabulous place for N-scale locos, stock, structures and just general conversation. I have spent more than $500.00 and 4-6 hours in the past 2 years at that shop. And I will continue to go there. BTW all our grandkids are in the Seattle area so we make at least one trip a year to see them.
    :) :)
  16. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,154
    Likes Received:
    0
    Allow me to give my favorite LHS a plug here...

    Scale Reproductions Inc.
    3073 Breckenridge Ln. (McMahan Plaza)
    Louisville, Ky 40220

    The owner is Brian, & he, all the guys there are SUPER!
    There are a lot of "propeller heads" & military modelers who frequent the place, but so what? I've actually learned a thing or two from some of them!
    The train dept is VERY well stocked...N, HO, & O scales LOTS of mfgrs, & what they don't have, they can get it for you.
    Scratchbuilder's heaven...all kinds of stripwood, balsa, & scale lumber, brass, styrene, ABS...
    I can't say enough about this place...Brian started out in the basement of a house, & now he's got a nice sized place ina suburban shopping center. I feel a strong obligation as a hobbyist to do my part to keep guys like Brian in business.

    btw...Why is this thread in the HO forum? Do I detect some kind of bias here?:p
  17. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Messages:
    3,877
    Likes Received:
    0
    #4...gotta order everything-but-he's part of a train museum and all profit goes into restoring the depot and railroad cars-plus- a 10% discount, makes it all worth the wait.
  18. Flangehead

    Flangehead Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2003
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    There are a few hobby stores nearby, but they are not really model railroad shops. When I really need something, I can usually rely on MB Kleins in downtown Baltimore. They seem to be a combination of all the types you listed, but they will work with you and give you a fairly good deal. Plus, they don't mind when I go in there just to browse around.