How Will the Pandemic Impact the Model Railroad World?

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JazzDad

Gandy Dancer
I believe it will go well beyond just hobby shops, Bob. In the near future, we may not be visiting many stores. New "stores" will be built like a warehouse, and the employees will pull our items and deliver them, either to our homes or our vehicle waiting outside. Overhead will be drastically reduced. It will be similar to the method most of us (I assume) now use for our hubby supplies.
 
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Railrunner130

Well-Known Member
Like Willy alluded to, there is something to be said about being able to physically put your hands on a product before you buy it. Plus, you need to be immursed in the world of your LHS. The smell of the smoke oil... The sounds of a running locomotive...
 

Patrick

GNRR Mechanic always fixing stuff
Bob,

I don't really consider Hobby Lobby to be a "train store" either and agree with your assessment of it being the "I got a train set" store, but they do carry some items for "scenic" work that no one else has, although it does cost more there that other places. But as far as actually having stuff, they're what we have locally.

About another 50 miles out, I can get to 2 in the metro Kansas City area and Spring Creek in Nebraska. I've run into them at train shows and someday will be doing a road trip just because I need to go someplace.
 

TLOC

Well-Known Member
I think jazzDad has hit it on the head. With so many big name brands telling Mall ownership that they can’t pay the rent his scenario makes the most sense. The only hands on shopping experience I miss and will for awhile into the future is the grocery store.

My modeling purchases for styrene are at the LHS, Walthers and Model trainStuff online when they have better sales then the discount I get from the LHS. Paints, glues, paint supplies, Dremel parts are 95% online purchases. Locomotives and rolling stock needs have been reduced significantly but the few items wanted will be online from Lombard Hobbies and Hiawatha Hobbies. So how will the pandemic affect the Model Railroading hobby? In my case not much. For the world, the pandemic may have accelerated the demise of lots of the Brick and mortars shops including the LHS.

TomO
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
As I have age and controlled diabetes, I am reluctant to order anything online that has to be shipped by common carrier or even USPS. While there are a few items that I would like to purchase...eventually...I can live without them for quite awhile. So, I guess the industry will have to live without my economic support for the time being. :(
 

MikeInHubCity

Well-Known Member
There are a lot of "Hobby Lobby" shops still around, but as you mention, the train selection is small, if they have any at all, and generally geared to to the "Buying a train set for the Christmas tree" crowd, at least in the few I've been to. So I don't count those as serious hobby shops for model railroaders.
Bob- yeah, HL’s supply of mrr products are pretty much limited to Bachmann sets & EZ-Track and JTT and Woodland scenery products.
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
Bob- yeah, HL’s supply of mrr products are pretty much limited to Bachmann sets & EZ-Track and JTT and Woodland scenery products.
They do have an assorment of cyanoacrylate glues and some K&S , a better source for building matierals is the local Dollar General , they have poster and foam board at much more reasonable prices than HL . 1/8 foam is around $1 at DG and the last time i looked is was $7 at HL ?



The biggest damage I have seen so far from the virus is availability of various items has gone down (i 'm talking 2nd hand bargain basement stuff), I assume that most of that is coming from estate sales , which may no longer be taking place due to the "gathering restrictions" that have been put in place. Again I am assuming that dealers/sellers cant or wont go to sales or the sales never happen , as a result the stock on ebay dwidles and what is there the sellers are asking higher prices to keep up their cash flow.

The other big issue is you cant get anthing from overseas right now . If you buy something from overseas , you dont know when you'll get it , I have 2 orders out that are 15-20 days overdue and the other is almost 60 days overdue. Most shipping from overseas P.O. s and private shippers is nill because overseas passenger flights are down 70 - 80% , So theres no spare cargo space to ship . What space is there is probably reserved for hi priority medical / health supplies.

So if you are ordering anything from overseas and you dont use FedEX ,UPS ,(cargo carriers) be prepared to wait
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
You guys are gonna have to be real careful on this one. After our last little kerfuffle we're back to "Anything even remotely political will be shot on sight!"

So far, so good, but tread carefully.
Bob, I understand your concerns. I won't be drawn into a political debate, especially on this topic.

Politicians did not create this virus. Nobody is certain what the right way to handle this is. Pointing fingers during this crises is counter productive in my mind. Let the experts debate what we should do, in private, not in the media and certainly not on this train forum! All we can ask is politicians heed the consensus of experts and I think they have all done pretty good with that.

Maybe I should have asked "How will the Pandemic impact us as model railroaders?" I was more interested in us as individuals than the industry itself.

Personally, I have been spending a lot more time and money on my Toy Trains!

As for the business aspect, for me being self-employed for most of my adult life I never worried much about economics. All I could do is cast my vote. I didn't have the resources to lobby congress or even my local representatives. All I hoped for is they don't keep changing things. I'll find a way to make it work. Or should I say Capitalism will find a way.

Also I did not have the time or luxury of whining and crying about economics in my professional life. I had to make ends meet. I had to find a way to turn profit every month. I did pretty good with that.

There is always many excuses why you can't make it. All you need to do is find one way to get it done! My go-to answer was service, be better than the other guys.

Not to mention, quality service usually provides a higher gross profit. If not? You are doing something wrong.

In business you always have to be looking to sell or do something different. "If this doesn't sell, try that!"

If you do what you have always done you will be lucky to get what you have always gotten.

I can't be certain how this will impact the model railroad as an industry.
 

bnsf971

Gomez Addams
Staff member
This has also affected mail order. I ordered something from MB Klein, usually a week before it's in my hands. I ordered April 25th, and it hasn't shipped yet. A note on their website shows they are currently shipping orders from April 22nd, so it will be a while before I get my stuff.
If they are being forced to quarantine at every step like the place I work, they will have to wait 24 hours after one person has left the buiding before another can enter. That person will pull and pack the items, probably for a day's worth of orders, then leave. Then, another 24 hours later, the shipping person will ship those items, and they will have to wait another 24 hours before someone else can come back in, and pick and pack again.
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
This has also affected mail order. I ordered something from MB Klein, usually a week before it's in my hands. I ordered April 25th, and it hasn't shipped yet. A note on their website shows they are currently shipping orders from April 22nd, so it will be a while before I get my stuff.
If they are being forced to quarantine at every step like the place I work, they will have to wait 24 hours after one person has left the buiding before another can enter. That person will pull and pack the items, probably for a day's worth of orders, then leave. Then, another 24 hours later, the shipping person will ship those items, and they will have to wait another 24 hours before someone else can come back in, and pick and pack again.
Terry, those procedures are extreme.

Amazon made masks mandatory along with maintaining 6 feet distance between each other. Otherwise it's business as usual. As far as I know we are back on regular shipping times. At least my recent orders have been shipped to me on time. Of the 96 packages I delivered for amazon last week everything was on time

I ordered a locomotive from Mr. Muffins trains on the 27th and UPS tracking shows it's out for delivery today. In fact, according to the UPS live map the truck is only a few blocks away.
 

bnsf971

Gomez Addams
Staff member
Terry, those procedures are extreme.

Amazon made masks mandatory along with maintaining 6 feet distance between each other. Otherwise it's business as usual. As far as I know we are back on regular shipping times. At least my recent orders have been shipped to me on time. Of the 96 packages I delivered for amazon last week everything was on time

I ordered a locomotive from Mr. Muffins trains on the 27th and UPS tracking shows it's out for delivery today. In fact, according to the UPS live map the truck is only a few blocks away.
Louis, if it wasn't DCC and sound locomotive for a hundred bucks, I'd be very impatient. Since it is, I'll be a little more patient than I normally am.
 




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