the era of online shopping that began in the mid-to-late 1990s (maybe
a bit before for some tech-savvy modelers), hobby shops and the
wealth of knowledge that was contained within began disappearing.
This advertisement from the Annual edition of the 1963 American
Modeler magazine illustrates the close relationship many modelers
used to have with their local hobby shop operators. Some of the
bigger hobby shops near larger metro areas have managed to survive,
but most small-town establishments have gone the way of the IBM
Selectric typewriter and the buggy whip. At first the problem seemed
to be that the online distributors won due to lower prices, but
in the last few years the surviving local hobby shops (aka LHSs)
have tried to meet the online princes in order to retain customers.
The last remaining hurdle is the advantage online outlets have through
tax-free purchases. Inevitably, tax-revenue-hungry legislators will
win the battle and remove that barrier as well. Maybe at that point
we will begin to see LHS operations begin to reappear. That might
be the one good thing that will result from Big Brother's ever-increasing
imposition on our lives.
"A Tribute to The American Hobby Dealer"
The man is a Hobby Dealer, and thank goodness there are thousands
like him from Maine to Malibu. Many storekeepers who sell hobby
products wouldn't know a glow plug from a nite light, or a smokebox
from an ash tray. He knows. You're a model airplane buff
or an HO railroad fan, you come to him for advice. Or for repairs
too tricky to handle yourself. Or for that rare kit or part nobody
ever heard of. He not only heard of it, he probably has it in stock.
good man to have around. You feel confidence in the merchandise
he sells. You pay a fair price for it and you know that if something
goes wrong, he'll stand behind it.
You feel at home
here. Nobody rushes you. Nobody pressures you to buy something and
get out. You like this man, this businessman who's never too busy
to help out, even if the problem has nothing to do with turning
In a time of automatic vending machines,
help-yourself floor displays, and pay-as-you-leave checkout counters,
it is comforting to know that here is one man, your hobby dealer,
who holds fast to the traditional values of Quality, Service and
Plain Dealing. It is time to remind ourselves, without embarrassment,
that it is this kind of philosophy that has enabled America to prosper,
and endure. Support your hobby dealer, visit with him soon.
An advertisement in tribute to the American hobby dealer by
Aurora Plastics Corp., West Hempstead, N. Y.
Posted July 21, 2012