From Bob's Desk
Friday May 19, 2017
So here we are seven months
later and all those decision have been made. It all began with the Deer Valley Road
landlord and her refusal to work with us on rent and lease terms and facility updates
and repairs. And so, we had no choice but to move on. We searched far and wide and,
in case you aren't aware, wound up re-locating just a couple of miles to our new location
at 18440 N 7th St. As was suggested, the store is much smaller. The old store was
3,200 Square feet, the new store is 1,260 square feet. It's been a bit of a squeeze
but we are getting settled in and making progress every day. We have also reduced
our business days and hours to Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 - 5:00. All of this
gives the brick and mortar operation some much needed stability.
It's still a struggle but it is still a requirement to maintain our dealerships.
The majority of our
business continues to shift to ecommerce . For the year 2016, a full 75%
of our revenue came from the web store. Like it or not, it can't be ignored
so that is where our emphasis lies. A new web store on a new platform is in the works
as well as some other digital enhancements for 2017 and beyond. If you haven't
tried our web store, give it a look. The savings can be significant.
Now only one of my original
questions remained unanswered. Anybody want to buy a train store?
From Bob's Desk
Friday October 14, 2016
This is a day I have been
dreading for a very long time. It’s not like I didn’t see it coming – I did. I did
everything I could think of to hold it back. It’s not specific to just this store
or even our hobby. It’s everywhere. It’s inevitable. It’s the internet.
When we bought the store
from Paul Gosch in 2006 the economy was strong and the store was doing well enough
we took down a wall and doubled our square footage. Then came the 2008 housing bubble
burst. We took a massive hit and, to this day, have never recovered. Our sales, like
the economy, drifted downward until the last couple of years when the drift turned
into a crash. I am sorry to say our sales have slumped to the point we are losing
money in the Deer Valley store. There are many reasons why. Higher model costs, lower
profit margins, higher rent, higher utility costs, higher insurance costs, direct
sales from manufacturers and distributors and lack of support from the local modeling
community are all contributing factors. But the single largest factor is also our
saving grace. You guessed it – the internet. Over the summer, our web store has accounted
for nearly half of our sales. Here’s where things get interesting. I need to maintain
a brick and mortar store presence in order to qualify for dealerships from our critical
So now what? At this point,
I honestly don’t have that answer.
snow birds will be back soon. That will help sales until Spring
71 days until Christmas – also temporary
space, fewer days, fewer hours to cut expenses?
reduction has already begun
presidential election result will have an impact
wants me to spend more time with our 3 great grandsons that I so adore
really want some time to enjoy this hobby that has been my passion for my whole life
want to buy a train store?
There is a lot to consider.
This one thing is inevitable. Going forward, you will see a shift in emphasis from
retail to web store. That’s where the future lies.