Skip to main content

Greenville and Spartanburg had 2 great train stores that also sold bicycles and other hobby items.  The Great Escape I believe was the name.  Pretty sure they have both been out of biz for quite a few years.  Here in Hendersonville, about 40 miles away, there is a hobby shop, and the owner was trying to sell it for a couple years with no takers.  The plus to it is that the owner owns the building and the land, is basically retired, and running it for something to do, so any income is just extra cash to him.  He has been in biz for over 50 years, and says getting inventory is almost impossible now, plus having to compete with online sales, which he also participates in and is the larger money maker for him.  One of the big hobby store killers back in the 70's was the invention of the toll free 800 number.  I believe MTH started that way, he didn't really have a store, but a storage building with a great inventory of off the shelf stuff, and an 800 number to call.  Might be confused on that issue, would have to dig out some old Model Railroader magazines from the era, but thought I recall full page ads with hundreds of items listed with 'Mike's Train House' at the top of the page.  I also recall that brick and board shops complained to all the suppliers about not being able to sell their inventory, people would come in, look at things in person, and then go buy it via the toll free call.  The suppliers tried to help by offering a more generous wholesale discount only to brick and board stores, but apparently it was not enough when it came to selling trains and supplies.

Years ago a friend and I considered buying an existing full functioning high end hobby shop in Florida, a top notch high quality home owned store. The cost was so much and the annual profit was just not worthy of the time involved. Yes, it would be fun to own a good hobby shop, but it would become a beast and possibly cause one to get sick of the hobby. We were told if we wanted to become millionaires, invest 2 million into the store and after a year, we might be worth a million. So, we decided to just enjoy this great hobby by simply building our home layouts. As an on the road Hardware salesman, (23 years with a large company) calling on many retail businesses, I saw many struggle to make so to speak “buckle and tongue meet”. Owning a retail business is a seriously large responsibility, it could be very profitable, but it would be a very up hill battle. Let’s be happy with our trains. Happy Railroading Everyone

@paigetrain posted:

i don't think i can do repair work because of my lack of cordnation and dextarity

i one time took a locomotive apart and ended up breaking it because of my lack of skill and cordnation plus i have no idea what i'm doing

i also fear a sodering iron because the heat

its because of these things that i feel helpless

although i am good at running trains that are not DCS / LEGACY

Tinplate is my favorite trains like marklin o gauge and prewar lionel and american flyer o gauge

especially european tinplate like marklin or ace and others has really grown on me in recent years to the point where i have often thought of making it my main focus and operation on my layout

Cody, I am 62 years old. Last year I learned two CAD programs, slicing software, webpage design, and operation of a laser engraver and two 3D printers. You MUST overcome your fear and think outside the box.

Your hobby will cease to be your hobby. Being in business is a different mindset.

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.