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Julien

Models in WH Smiths

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What about Guildford then?

The Farnborough manager told me there would be a Modelzone opening in the Guildford store.

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Nothing in the Horsham WHS. Then again is a smaller banch. But in the Hobbycraft Crawley, the kit stock has got better with Airfix and Revell in prominence. More than likely for the Christmas build up.

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Well, I haven't looked into this thread for a while, and it seems I've missed a lot! There is a reasonable, sensible discussion going on here (unusual on an internet forum, I know) with very good points being made on all sides.

I am all for the likes of WH Smith etc to start selling model kits, as anything that gets the next generation into building models is a good thing. I do not see that, even with the acquisition of the Modelzone brand, that those branches will offer much more than Airfix, Revell, Tamiya etc alongside the Scalextrix, and I would not expect them to. WHS has in recent years opted for the more populist, middle-of-the-road approach to its stock, which is why there are rows and rows of general fiction paperbacks as opposed to only a shelf or two of military history. They do not have the specialist staff, and nor are they likely to employ them, to be able to give customers any kind of detailed knowledge of what models they are selling. That is not a criticism; it is the way it is.

As regards how the specialist model shop fits in, I think it will do so very well, but as has been mentioned here it too needs to be able to attract the casual buyer as well as the dedicated modeller. I have always said that I have to operate two separate model shops in one place; one for each of those markets. Somebody who wants to buy a present for their grandson or an older relative is a very different customer from the person who is after the latest Meng or Eduard. Each of those two needs to be treated accordingly, and to be supplied with the correct and appropriate level of information to enable them to make their selection from a wide choice of suitable products. Product knowledge needs to be maintained; as the business' accountant SWMBO likes at me in a very old fashioned way when I tell her that the business pays for my modelling magazines, but she sees the sense in it.

Can the LHS and the WHMZ model exist side by side? Of course, as the independent model shop will be able to offer that specialised service (or should be able to) that WHMZ cannot, and it should also hope to be able to hold its own against WHMZ by doing so. At the same time it should be able to have a good share of the starter kit buyers as well. I think that too many owners of model shops only look after the more experienced modeller and sees the starter kit market as an encumbrance. More fool them, frankly, as they won't have any market at all in a generation's time with that attitude.

As to the kind of service you get from either place, well I guess there's good and bad in both. I've generally found that staff in most larger stores give good service, with some being more enthusiastic than others. Occasionally, you do get the person who wants to be somewhere else, but their disadvantage will always be that lack of specialised knowledge I have already mentioned.

And in independent model shops (minefield time) as already stated in this thread there are good, knowledgeable people who will take the time and trouble to ensure that their customers receive good service, will order in items that are not in stock, while at the same time there are also those who can't be bothered and see anyone entering their domain as unwelcome. Those of you who have come into my shop will make up your minds about the service you have received there, and I hope that you feel I belong in the former. If not, please tell me.

The full impact of the internet has not, I feel, fully hit the high street. However, there is still a strong desire among many shoppers (and I include modellers) to want to see and inspect the goods before they buy and unless internet businesses improve their customer service (which is very patchy) the high street will continue to survive.

Lastly, I am in full agreement that to stock large amounts of aftermarket products is not feasible for all but the biggest model shops. Having said that, to be able to get it within a short of space is, and should be the accepted service.

So, to recap:

-the LHS and WHMZ should both aim to attract new modellers

-the LHS should use its strengths in terms of specialised knowledge and wider choice to compete with WHMZ

-the LHS should offer at least the equivalent level of customer service as WHMZ, but aim to do better

-the LHS should be able to offer the widest possible range of products and a good ordering service to get those it cannot stock

What it boils down to in the end is good customer service. If a customer perceives that they have received poor service, they will not come back.

Edited by T7 Models

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Ayup All...

Over the years Ive argued that the Internet hasnt always been the best for our hobby, and that its best in my mind to have visible LMSs on the High street to entice kids in to buy models. I'm pleased that WHS has bought the Modelzone name to do this. Even if its purely commercial, and overseen by staff who see a starter kit as just another 'Unit' to put on a Hanger. But my real concern is, that although this is good, I dont want kids to think that 'Airfixing' (Ewww) with them is what the hobby is all about. I would ask all Modellers, especially those in clubs, to reach out to their wider community, Say at a summer/winter fete, or community event, and be visible to help kids make the connection between the starter kit and the wider hobby. This, I feel, is one of the ways for youngsters to be exposed to our great hobby. Then, the Internet can come into its own be used to widen the childs horizon, and so hopefully help them to want to join a club, join IPMS and become a member of the best hobby in the world.

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Well, I haven't looked into this thread for a while, and it seems I've missed a lot! There is a reasonable, sensible discussion going on here (unusual on an internet forum, I know) with very good points being made on all sides.

"etc, etc . . . "

. If a customer perceives that they have received poor service, they will not come back.

offer the widest possible range of products and a good ordering service to get those it cannot stock

This is a sound argument, presented by someone who could have the "competing" WHS-MZ within a thirty second walk. Well put.

Edited by Dave Batt

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But my real concern is, that although this is good, I dont want kids to think that 'Airfixing' (Ewww) with them is what the hobby is all about.

I believe this phrase summarize up the whole point of this conversation.

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Other than an Airfix poster, no sign of any models in Guildford Smiths this morning.

John

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Hi, I've read a lot of comments on this post and many interesting points have been raised. I usually build OOB but try and include some aftermarket and would welcome any way to get models onto the high street. Not having internet at home or being able to drive obvoiusly affects my thoughts and i do but on line. If the new modelzones would stock such things as Tamiya thinner,etc that would be good as there seems to be getting more and more restictions on getting such things delivered. Though maybe i'm being too optomistic. I totally agree with Fea's post as there's a need to reach out and tell others about this great hobby. I've looked into starting a club where i live but it seems to cost money i just don't have and would love a place to meet others or get others involved in modelling. I would love to stop getting funny looks like i'm about to chop someone's arm off when i tell them i'm a modeller and this can happen if our hobby is publised more.

Sorry if it's off topic a bit and i know our hobby is a solitary one mostly.

Ta.

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Rodders,

How would this cost you money other than a room to rent somewhere if that was needed? if you can get a few like minded people then try and give it a go?

Julien

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Rodders,

How would this cost you money other than a room to rent somewhere if that was needed? if you can get a few like minded people then try and give it a go?

Julien

Sorry Julien i was not very clear.I was made redundunt 3 years ago and am still unemployed and money is very tight especially with things like the Bedroom Tax starting this year. I wouldn't want to give others the burden of paying for things. Though i've tried to start a club i couldn't find anyone near where i live. There are clubs but as i said i can't drive and they meet on a Wednesday or Sunday which are completely out for me. i have a local model shop so i could put up an advert in the window(don't know why i didn't think of it before).

Thanks.

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Rodders,

How would this cost you money other than a room to rent somewhere if that was needed? if you can get a few like minded people then try and give it a go?

Julien

Being practical here, it's going to cost upwards of £30 a night to get the use of a room for two to three hours, so you'd need fifteen to 20 people to turn up if they were to get away with the usual nominal fee of a couple of pounds per head. With respect to Rodders, I think this is the sort of thing he may mean. It is very possible to find venues that can cost a lot less, but the finding of them can demand that someone somewhere has to do a lot of legwork, which would cost them (as an individual) a measurable amount.

Getting a club up and running demands a fair amount of work and unreturned investment from a very small number of people.

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Where is your shop...I must visit.

Very refreshing points T7....and from someone with experience.

Croydon have announced a WHS MZ.

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Where is your shop...I must visit.

Very refreshing points T7....and from someone with experience.

Croydon have announced a WHS MZ.

I'm based in Truro, in not-always-sunny Cornwall, and I also have an online shop.

Much of what I say could be described as self serving... After all, if the kids don't get interested my business will not have a long life! But thank you for your comments.

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Being practical here, it's going to cost upwards of £30 a night to get the use of a room for two to three hours, so you'd need fifteen to 20 people to turn up if they were to get away with the usual nominal fee of a couple of pounds per head. With respect to Rodders, I think this is the sort of thing he may mean. It is very possible to find venues that can cost a lot less, but the finding of them can demand that someone somewhere has to do a lot of legwork, which would cost them (as an individual) a measurable amount.

Getting a club up and running demands a fair amount of work and unreturned investment from a very small number of people.

It's a long time now since I had to do this sort of thing, but I'll back Dave here. It's rather sad (for such organisers) that peoples' idea of an appropriate "nominal fee" has't risen much with inflation, unlike room hire charges. However, if the numbers of interested parties is known to be small, then the traditional meeting place for starting a group is in a corner of a pub. Or just the front room of a house, if you have such a thing. Both of these would restrict the age range of your attendees, unfortunately.

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Ahhhh Truro..lovely part of the world.....well my parents used to live in Boscastle alas no more, we used to visit Cornwall twice a year, but I can't see that happening for a while. Maybe next year when I am down for the surf.

The model shop in Launceston has gone.

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It's a long time now since I had to do this sort of thing, but I'll back Dave here. It's rather sad (for such organisers) that peoples' idea of an appropriate "nominal fee" has't risen much with inflation, unlike room hire charges. However, if the numbers of interested parties is known to be small, then the traditional meeting place for starting a group is in a corner of a pub. Or just the front room of a house, if you have such a thing. Both of these would restrict the age range of your attendees, unfortunately.

There is a possible third option for the first instance these days; an email mailing list. Set up a website with a contact detail aimed (through posters or notices in local shops, libraries, free papers, etc) specifically at the local area, and as the contacts come in set up an emailing list so people can gel into a group with a physical rather than electronic meeting place.

As far as the 'nominal fee' goes, you're right but where can we go with the discussion about a 'realistic' fee. Speaking strictly hypothetically here, if I was to go to a local club for the first time and was faced a request for £5.00 for the night, I would be expecting something in return. It would not be good enough to be faced with an attitude of "We see who might turn up and then find out how things might 'gel'!" That might be acceptable down the pub where you come back after spending a few quid but there was no-one to have a chat with, but at least you had the benefit of a couple of pints which is what you'd paid for.

What we always refer to as "clubs" might be better referred to as societies. A club you go to, pay your membership fee, joining costs, attendance rates, whatever, and you get what you pay for - or you go somewhere else where the rates are more attractive. A society is where an individual goes, puts in a bit and takes a fair share of a lot, for a society is almost always greater than the sum of its parts.

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Given the launch date of 23rd November I'll be mightly impressed if Meadowhall is open on time. There was absolutely no sign of it lastnight in the store, not even a poster.

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Come to that , there is no sign down here in Portsmouth either.

I spoke to their manager down here and his reply was that they were opening a few in-store areas as a trial and then working from there.

As for LMS , with the price of shop rental rising along with everything else, its hard t see where these will come from, sad but true.

With more shopping centres being built and high rents being asked it pushes the independent trader further away from the beaten track.

Simon.

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Taking on board the fact that young people will be put off by ancient kits in shiny new boxes, I think it would be great it WHS had a knowledgeable buyer who refused to put the old kits in their stores. For a long time, I've thought that Airfix should use some sort of vintage packaging for the older kits; yes there are those experienced modeller who like to build these old kits, but kids on the whole don't appreciate them. Same for Revell: some of there older kits are a bit of a nightmare, and some of their new ones too: the Hudson for instance. Maybe Revell need three lines: vintage (inc. ex-Matchbox, etc.), expert (higher detailed kits like the Eduard WWI types, or the Hudson), standard range of new moulds. If the suppliers are not willing to market in these streams, then the high street retailers should.

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