I have two issues. One is our local hobby shop that has been open since the late 40s, is run by grandfather, father, son. They are rude but yet seem to have a loyal core. The have some 3 rail but are mostly an HO shop. I am a 2 railer but am building a 3 rail for our local railroad museum. I have made this argument before that, let's say, a dealer makes $1.00 per year. $.60 cents of that will buy merchandise (some companies make that number $.70 cents. You now have 30 to 40 cents to pay everything else like taxes (WOW) insurance should a little kid go home and open a jar of dad's paint and drink it. Rent, big factor. Oh, you want to increase your inventory, well now you have 10 cents left. Contributions to the local High School band fund, payroll if you have any workers. Last of all is your own pocket book. You might get 5 cents for you. I know as I had a store in the height of the mail order craze in the 70s.
It boils down to the fact if you want to make, let's say $40,000 a year (I will be generous and say you make 10 cents after everything is paid) that means your sales have to be at lease $400,000 a year. I very much doubt our crabby local hobby shop has that kind of volume.
#2, One mail order business took my prepayment a few weeks ago and now this esteemed forum tells me that they have sold their business to some one else. I have 9 Atlas Zephyr cars, have paid for the 10th, waiting for the the arrival of #11, and told him to order the last two cars. He won't answer my email or has the company that bought his business. Now what?