Tuesday, August 06, 2019
Why I love my local model shop
Now, I might have a slightly weird job, but even if I didn't, I'm sure I would love having a local model shop. To me, the convenience outweighs any slight price advantage I might get ordering on-line.
A few days ago, a future mag project deadline being chopped in half, I nipped in to see what there was in the N gauge section. A few minutes, and 35 quid later, I had a bag full of the stuff you see above. Now, I could have ordered over the web, but I wasn't at the stage where the project was fully thought through so I could modify things based on the products I could lay my hands on.
Apparently, there are those (according to popular web forums) who really don't like model shops. I struggle to understand that, I really do. Maybe it's the need to avoid human contact, or simply that their modelling entirely involves buying new boxes for the lowest price possible, but how can you beat rooting around in the depths of a shop for surprises?
Anyway, my local shop is Classic Train and Motor Bus, who reach their 20th birthday this year. That's 20 years of excellent service AND prices. They have just altered their opening times fro close at 3:45 to allow for more time on mail-order and expanding their web presence. Apparently, after analysis, this is the best way to free up time to work on expanding the business, or at least getting down to the Post Office to send off parcels!
If you have a local model shop - pay them a visit this weekend. It's summer and things are quiet, so do your bit to keep them open with a purchase. With a bit of luck, they will them be there when you need them.
Update: Over the weekend, it was revealed at the Ian Allan shop in central Birmingham is to close. This makes me both sad AND angry. It's a terrific shop, and a staple of any visit to the city. I've spent many, many pounds there in the past and yet it looks like there aren't enough people like me to pay the bills. I know there are people who will crow about this saying "I told you so" but if a city centre can't support a single model shop, what hope is there for the practical (rather then filling a cupboard with shiny boxes) side of our hobby?