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A local shop in Troy Mi has closed it's doors.  Was known as Empire Hobbies.  When it was on the west side of town it was named "Merri Seven Trains". Not a large store - had a mix of N, Ho and 3 rail O gauge. Plus model kits and gaming stuff.  On the 3 rail O gauge some new stuff, some NOS of older pieces. Prices were on the higher side.  They were friendly. Did have nice collection of postwar trains and toys from that time period for sale.  Was handy for paint, building supplies etc.  Don't know the reason why they closed.

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C&Osteam posted:

It has to be tough to complete with Internet sales. The excellent service at GLH in Sterling Heights keeps me coming through the doors. It would be much harder to create my little world without them. 

Tom at GLH had several good business teachers (father and uncles). GLH has been a great place to buy for several years.

enjoy your trains...

 

C&Osteam posted:

It has to be tough to complete with Internet sales. The excellent service at GLH in Sterling Heights keeps me coming through the doors. It would be much harder to create my little world without them. 

You're right, but there is nothing to stop the smaller shops from also competing on the Internet as well. I know of one hobby store in my area whose walk-in retail sales might not keep it in business in this day and age, but the owners were willing to take the time to learn the on-line systems and now do a brisk internet business that keeps them busy, provides a good income and keeps the doors open.

Getting the old man to want to ring things up vs tinker was a challenge that left me empty handed and driving to another store a couple of times. The wife and (then) teen son however would do backflips for you so I always gave them a shot at Merri-7.  Like Wild Bills, I could never catch them open on the north side of town.  Every time I stopped they seemed to be closed during posted days or times.

Very nice owners, and I was sad to see them close.  They had a great selection of Postwar trains, and a large percentage of the Postwar locomotives and operating cars  were repaired by the owner before they were put up for sale in the vintage, sliding glass cabinets at the back of the store.

One of my friends growing up had a Tuscan GG-1 that we ran regularly on my buddy's layout, which would have been considered almost "Hi-Rail" today.  The layout  literally took up half of the basement in their modest bungalow on the far northeast side of Detroit.  My buddy's dad was also an avid hobbyist, and, he was light years ahead of his time with respect to layout building, detailing and scenery construction.  (The dad was an excavator, and had a lot of spare time to work on the layout during the bitterly cold winters when we were younger.)

Several years ago, I took my buddy, and his 93 year old dad to see the Lionel layout in Chesterfield, MI.  The dad was like a jubilant kid in a candy store.  Fortunately, he made it to his 94th Birthday, which my buddy arranged to celebrate at a very nice restaurant, along with two of our other friends from grade school and Scouting, and, each our wives.

Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2018, I visited Empire Hobbies, and they had a near mint, Tuscan Postwar GG-1 for sale.  After talking it over with my wife, she agreed to put the GG-1 on "Christmas layaway" at our home for me.  Every time that I run the GG-1, or see it on the shelf,  I'm reminded of my buddy and his dad.

Last edited by Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611

Around 15-18 months ago and new hobby shop opened in Frankfort,IL, Choo Choo Works. They  have a huge inventory of O gauge, some S and the smaller gauges also.  There is a lot of new items and NOS  in the store, no building materials, looks like he only sells RTR merchandise. The owner and he wife told me they collected everything from shows and Internet purchasing and now decided to sell it in a store. They have a website but do not sell on the Net, only to reserve the business name so no one else can use it. Prices are reasonable and expected for the merchandise they sell. They also run a custom shop next door for automobiles.

A few years ago, High Country Hobbies opened in Enterprise Alabama.  They moved  there from somewhere in the Midwest.  On my first visit I asked him how much business that he gets from the internet, "85%," he said.

Since it's almost a two hour drive for me, and it's my closest hobby shop, I'm forced to do most of my purchases on-line.  An Internet presence is important for a hobby shop to survive.

Jan

@Richie C. posted:

You're right, but there is nothing to stop the smaller shops from also competing on the Internet as well. I know of one hobby store in my area whose walk-in retail sales might not keep it in business in this day and age, but the owners were willing to take the time to learn the on-line systems and now do a brisk internet business that keeps them busy, provides a good income and keeps the doors open.

High Country Hobbies is my LHS. They are a small operation and also deal in R/C and diecast aircraft. Trains aren't really popular around here. If not for their internet business, I am sure they would have been long gone. I think the days of being just a walk-in type of store with no internet presence is over.

It isn't over where populations are higher and stores are well managed.  Plenty of folks don't do ANY online buying. I have yet to enter a card number online once, and have played with the tech since the 80s.   Plus there is the "in hand" factor.  E.g. a pal has received 4 broken (at factory) and 2 totally wrong items, and is waiting again for his Dec. order..... at a brick& mortar this wouldn't happen after the first round.  

Save dime and maybe time, or pay a bit more, save a hassle, and feed a neighbor.  "It ain't all about me" 

@John C. posted:

Been opened much, much longer than that...guessing 10 to 12 years.  Was in Carmel in two different locations before relocating to Atlanta 4 or 5 years ago?

Actually, we opened the public display layout on December 8th, 2008 but we didn't sell anything - good memory, John.... We moved to the 146th W Carmel Drive location and built the second public layout in time for the LCCA convention in Indianapolis the summer of 2014 and started selling trains then - so it has been more than five years........ Then we moved to Atlanta, IN

@Jan posted:

A few years ago, High Country Hobbies opened in Enterprise Alabama.  They moved  there from somewhere in the Midwest.  On my first visit I asked him how much business that he gets from the internet, "85%," he said.

They used to be located in Colorado, hence their name. He certainly wouldn't have relocated to Enterprise, AL, with the thought of getting heavy foot traffic! Hardly a surprise that 85% of his sales are from the internet. I've had a few dealings with him over the years, including when he was in Colorado. Very nice guy.

Last edited by breezinup

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