Gord: I applaud you for your efforts to keep up the hobby at your store despite your core customers' non-interest.
Hi Roy and Thanks.
I appreciate your support. I am not sure why the tiny minds take my comments so personally.
I do own a hobby-ish store in a small town and I am concerned about the health of the hobby in Canada. Not sure why the retromingents and wethers are so offended. I can trade insults with equal facility (the slow witted can look up the words in my previous sentence). But would prefer to stick to substantive discussion.
Model sales are pretty much irrelevant in my store. Sadly, I haven't sold a new armour kit in over a year. In that time 3 new car kits and around 20 of thos little Airfix 1/72nd scale gems. The bottom line is always price.
Used sales are fine as long as I can keep finding interesting and inexpensive items.
I have brought in and opened Mirror Models kits (Otter and C-15a), AFV Club Churchills, M10's, Tamiya Greyhounds Cromwells, M10 as examples. The response is always "Very nice, How much?" and then the eyes glaze over and the customer buys another pack of Pokemon or Magic or Vanguard or ... New kits usually end up in my "to do" pile. Hell, I brought in the AFV Club Dieppe Churchill which should be a lock for sales in a Canadian town full of veterans. I was pretty shocked by the wholesale price. I have been showing the kit to any customer who will stand still long enough. You can actually hear the air whistle out their ears when they see the suggested retail price. I have offered deep discounts, 30%) to good customers) and still no interest. I will keep it for myself.
I have endured some quite ignorant comments on here about my prices. One idiot suggested he could get the CDP Sexton for $50CDN. Horsehockey!
A quick look at ebay shows the average price for a CDP Sexton is at a rough average of $45US plus $15 shipping (the one offered at 39 has a $22US shipping tag. Lets say an average total of $60US. XE Currency converter makes that $80CDN and you could get tagged for duty and the glorious Canada Post $5 handling fee. Add $30US for a decent set of tracks and I think anyone can see the problem (the non CDP version runs about 10 bucks cheaper but I bet the tracks are perfectly useable). If I had known I would be ordering proper tracks anyway I would have saved myself the 10 bucks.
My kit sales come from collections I have bought or items picked up at shows, thrift stores etc. Customers are happy to give up the joys of the "New Kit Smell" in favour of half price (or better), and if I get stuff really cheap I give it away to kids, hoping they catch the bug.
I keep model kits on my shelves because I love the hobby and believe that this is a great hobby for kids and adults (anything to get them off their computers). I actually should be filling my shelves with Pokemon card singles and toys as they actually sell.
I am only recently returned to model building after a 20 year hiatus spent slot car racing, war gaming and monster painting.
Currently on my building table are the Tamiya Greyhound, Italeri C15 Truck (ex Peerless Max) an ARV MkI an AbomniRat (whiskers just added) and a Frankenstein re-build. You know what? The monsters and fantasy figs sell because they are decent value and hours of fun. Models are so much more expensive that they don't have anywhere near the same perceived value.
I'd like to grow the hobby, I don't need to carry models. They are becoming an expensive luxury in a shrinking economy.
Thanks again Roy and others with helpful and informative comments!