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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 suppliers.

 

So now what? At this point, I honestly don’t have that answer.

          The snow birds will be back soon. That will help sales until Spring

          Only 71 days until Christmas – also temporary

          Smaller space, fewer days, fewer hours to cut expenses?

          Inventory reduction has already begun

          The presidential election result will have an impact

          Sharon wants me to spend more time with our 3 great grandsons that I so adore

          I really want some time to enjoy this hobby that has been my passion for my whole life

          Anybody 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.

 

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