Hattons - best known as the largest mail order model railway supplier in the UK - actually has a shop. A proper shop you can walk in to and buy models from. Admittedly, the location isn't convenient if you use public transport, but for those using a car and in the area, it's excellent with plenty of parking and not far to walk from the door with your purchases.
Inside, the shop is well laid out and you can buy everything on the website. Most stock is in cabinets and if you can't see what you want, just ask. Not everything is on show. Having said that, it's probably in stock in the big room next door.
Yes, the famous warehouse. I wasn't sure what to expect but in truth it's just a very efficient warehouse but full of model railways.To be fair though, they are really putting some effort into customer service by being able to answer questions and help people out. Several of the team I spoke to are real enthusiasts, including one who is a volunteer on the Manx Electric Railway and recognised me from touring the sheds a few weeks earlier!
Yes, picking and packing is the core of the business, but this is really evolving as yesterdays announcements show.