I'm not sure if this has been posted already but my brother just sent me a screenshot of a newspaper ad for Walkers Hardware in Totowa, NJ indicating they are going out of business. They are almost two hours from me but, lacking a local shop, I've bought trains from them a few times. Unlike the famed Madison Hardware, trains took up a small part of their store space but whenever I was there most of the customers were hanging out in the train area. It had a nice old fashioned feel to it.
Unfortunately train sales don't pay the rent or keep the lights on. I have a store near me that is a hardware store/Train shop. He does great business in hardware, but the train side of his business has slowed to a trickle. He had to take away from some of the space the trains occupy so he could expand the hardware end of his business. Broke his heart however, he needs to maintain his business
J & D Whistle Stop in Quakertown, PA is no more. I used to sell items on consignment and also made purchases.
Wow! I haven't been to either of these places in a while! This sucks but I am a reason why this is happening.
Sorry to hear that another train retailer is closing. Back in the day the popularity of model trains brought customers into many different retail outlets. I recall them being sold at not only toy stores but hardware stores, hobby shops, appliance stores even at furniture stores. Model trains were popular items and they were profitable to sell. Today's all that has changed and the cutthroat nature of the market has thinned not only the profit but their availability. As with other products, today online sales has largely replaced most of the shows and the brick and motor stores. All this is just a sign of the times.
In this case it was less a matter of the changing marketplace but rather the owner being in his 70s with none of his children willing or able to take over the business. Like most of us, he wanted to spend his last years doing something other than going to work full-time every day (and running a business requires far more than what most of us consider full time hours).
Whatever the reason, it is certainly a shame when brick and mortar businesses close. The big box stores and internet sales may offer a lower price, but few of the other "extras" that once drew us to the smaller shops. We often hear the blame placed on failure to have up-to-date websites or other concessions to modern times, but prrhorsehoecurve accurately said above that we are the biggest cause. Loyalty to a local dealer (when warranted) is too-often abandoned to find the lowest price elsewhere, for items that are not even necessities. Nobody seems to care that their money goes to corporations or even smaller companies far away, rather than supports locally owned businesses, and the jobs that go with them. Many aspects of our society have dwindled, and loyalty is one of them.
This topic came up a few weeks ago here. Will be sad to see this store close since its minutes away from me. I have bought some pieces there over the years, really nice owner.
German and Ed H, I'm so glad you posted the above info about this store's closing. If ever there were a chance to get really good prices on trains and their related paraphernalia, it would be now from this very convenient and pleasant store. Ken Webster is the proprietor. Walker's was the name for 150 years, so when the Websters acquired it, they kept the name , as it had long-ago become a local icon for good service and hard-t-find (elsewhere) items.
I've been going there to see Ken these past several weeks, once I heard from him the closing was for certain, and to get caught-up and re-supplied, far forward, on myriad hardware supplies, as well as to have keys made and some screens re-screened.
I would bet some gentle "suggestions" during in-person train-stuff purchases would turnout to be satisfying for the customer and Ken these next several days. But I would get there very soon .
(My entire entrance into our hobby started there when my wife noticed a neon "Lionel" sign in this store's window while we were waiting at a traffic light. WE went in and bought my first contemporary trains ( 6 scale locomotives and the consists to go with them), tons of track and switches, and Ken instructed me on how to construct the platform and how to order the lumber for it.)