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Why mail order?


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#1 Mark Crowley

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 09:58 AM

I am baffled why buying mail order vs buying from your local track is even an issue.  If you regularly buy slot car parts I assume you visit a retail establishment (or have your own track).  If you don't buy at your local track who is supposed to subsidize your track access?  I have seen a lot of excuses but none that make sense if you want to actually drive a car on a commercial track.  Should track time costs be increased?

I'm sure there are special cases where mail order was necessary but by planning ahead and having a little patience this  should be minimal.

I am not a track owner and want to stay that way and still play with slot cars.  Compared to most other hobbies this one is cheap.

 

Mrk


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#2 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 12:13 PM

Two factors usually reduce the practicality of mail order.  A third also helps.

1) You have a track within twenty miles of where you live.

2) Parts you need are actually on the peg to buy when you are there.

3) Someone is actually interested in your purchase behind the counter and willing to order what you need if suitable.

 

Factors that encourage mail order.

1) No track exists in an hours drive.

2) Shipping costs are less than State sales tax for the purchase. Also consider your trip costs as shipping costs.

3) The source HAS what you need at a fair price.


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#3 Dave Crevie

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 02:28 PM

The mail order houses discount the goods well below what a track or hobby shop can. I was involved in the 1/32nd

scale basement racing scene for many years, and almost everyone bought from mail order, even though the big

box discount stores also had the merchandise. It was just cheaper, even including the shipping. In fact, most mail

order houses gave free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount. 

 

I'll tell you a story about what happened to a local hobby shop sometime in the 1966/1967 time frame. He stocked

a lot of commercial track items because the local tracks did not have a highly varied inventory. One track which was

in a bicycle shop only carried a few ready-to-run cars. No parts. So for at least a year the hobby shop was the primary

supplier for us racers. At this time, discount stores started popping up around the area. The hobby shop owner found

out that the discount stores were selling cars off the shelf for less than he could buy them for wholesale. So, on

garbage pick-up day, he came into his shop early and threw all the slot racing stuff in the dumpster. He swore there

would never be any slot racing items sold in his store again. And there wasn't, until after his death. After a while,

the heirs of the store decided to handle 1/32nd sets and cars. But when those became available over the internet,

they got burned again, and stopped ordering new stock. The only sold what they had on hand. Their primary business

was radio controlled cars and planes, but when people started buying those on line, the store's sales could not support

the place. That along with some other problems, and the store is not around anymore. 



#4 Mark Crowley

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 03:03 PM

Two factors usually reduce the practicality of mail order.  A third also helps.

1) You have a track within twenty miles of where you live.

2) Parts you need are actually on the peg to buy when you are there.

3) Someone is actually interested in your purchase behind the counter and willing to order what you need if suitable.

 

Factors that encourage mail order.

1) No track exists in an hours drive.

2) Shipping costs are less than State sales tax for the purchase. Also consider your trip costs as shipping costs.

3) The source HAS what you need at a fair price.

Those are reasons why people do or don't mail order.  My point is that mail order may get us parts quickly and cheaper but in the long run it is a dead end.

Mrk



#5 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 03:10 PM

Even if you try to have it both ways.......From '99 to '04 I made an annual trek to Las Vegas to attend the  "Slot Car Convention" hosted bt Jon Pierraccos at Rad Trax. It was a large shop with at least 4 tracks: A Blue King, a routed 4 lane "1/32" track, an HO track and a large plastic track.  He carried a large stock of 1/32 cars and parts (I can't speak to the 1/24 stock - didn't look).  I know that I (and many of the other participants) ran up sizeable tabs between races.  He also carried on an extensive mail order business - a room off the main shop was devoted to packing and shipping - I used this function routinely the rest of the year although, truth be told, the on-line shop was not very user friendly. I do not know nor can I speak to what kind of in-store traffic the shop saw the other 362 days of the year nor do I know what other business issues might have contributed but Rad Trax closed in '05.

 

EM


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#6 munter

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 03:14 PM

Down here we mostly all buy through mail order. One guy near me set up his own online business selling RTR 1/32 stuff and you could pick up parts or cars in person but.......you had to suffer 30 minutes of listening to the guy talk, mostly about himself.

 

Even though most cities in NZ had a commercial raceway back in the day there are none in existence now, it is all clubs of individuals in their garage doing their slotcar thing.


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#7 Mark Crowley

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 03:15 PM

For me the bottom line is that if we want a local tracks to continue it is up to us as racers to help make that happen.

-Do I want "stuff' fast and cheap?  Yes but I need a track to run my cars.

-Do I want my local track to have everything on the wall?  Yes, but he can't read my mind nor can he afford 10 of "everything".

-Do I like not paying tax on out of state purchases? Yes but this is a huge political problem that is unfair to local businesses that help the community.  This hurt communities.

 

We need to look at the big picture and help our tracks stay alive.

 

Mrk


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#8 Mark Crowley

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 03:30 PM

A wise man once said:  (Or maybe it was Swiss):

"It is easy to own a Slot Car business worth a millions dollars.  Start with 2 million and wait a week."

 

Mrk


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#9 Mark Crowley

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 03:39 PM

Down here we mostly all buy through mail order. One guy near me set up his own online business selling RTR 1/32 stuff and you could pick up parts or cars in person but.......you had to suffer 30 minutes of listening to the guy talk, mostly about himself.

 

Even though most cities in NZ had a commercial raceway back in the day there are none in existence now, it is all clubs of individuals in their garage doing their slotcar thing.

I assume being in a club would cost more than supporting a commercial track for individual racers.  At least it would be for the guy that bought and houses the track.

Mrk



#10 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 04:16 PM

I might have spent $1500 to build my track - MDF, support framing, magnabraid, 25 A variable regulated supply, track control system + computer, specially made router bit etc.  I had it for 20 years thus $75/A.  I probably hosted 3 races/year, $25 per race. (and, of course, the rest of the time I had it for testing, playing etc.)   We have 6 other tracks in our group and I suspect the economics are similar.  I recognize that this does not address the racing interests of many (most?) on this forum but, looking at the numbers, this may represent the long term future of slot racing in the U.S.A.

 

EM


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#11 Garry S

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 04:24 PM

I am baffled why buying mail order vs buying from your local track is even an issue.  If you regularly buy slot car parts I assume you visit a retail establishment (or have your own track).  If you don't buy at your local track who is supposed to subsidize your track access?  I have seen a lot of excuses but none that make sense if you want to actually drive a car on a commercial track.  Should track time costs be increased?

I'm sure there are special cases where mail order was necessary but by planning ahead and having a little patience this  should be minimal.

I am not a track owner and want to stay that way and still play with slot cars.  Compared to most other hobbies this one is cheap.

 

Mrk

 

Why would any customer of any business be obligated to buy specific products or services from them?  Should your local golf course demand that you buy all your equipment from their pro shop before you can play their course? 


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#12 Mark Crowley

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 05:34 PM

 

Why would any customer of any business be obligated to buy specific products or services from them?  Should your local golf course demand that you buy all your equipment from their pro shop before you can play their course? 

 

 

Really.  No customer is obligated to purchase anything from anyone.  Period.  You can buy from anyone you want at any price you want, for any reason you want and you can put it on credit if you can't afford it.  In fact if your local track loses money it is not your problem.  Just don't be surprised when your local track closes. Or has it closed already?  How many tracks are left in Iowa?

Having a place to play with slot cars may become your problem, but on the bright side perhaps you  could sell your now useless slot car equipment on Ebay and help someone else close their local raceway.  Shooting yourself in the foot is also an option.

 

Most people do NOT buy their golf equipment at the golf course.  So they charge high dues and/or greens fees.  Plus some make you rent a cart.  How much do you want to pay for an hour of practice on a Blue King?

 

Don't get me wrong, I know many if not most people do mail slot car products for one reason or another.  I just wish I knew a valid reason why people do it.

 

Mrk



#13 Pablo

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 05:56 PM

I am baffled why buying mail order vs buying from your local track is even an issue. 

 

I'm equally baffled why you don't understand I'm not going to drive 6 hours at 75 MPH to buy parts at my "local track".

You speak as though everyone has one, like we are presented with one at birth :dash2:


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#14 jimht

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 06:20 PM

"Most people do NOT buy their golf equipment at the golf course.  So they charge high dues and/or greens fees.  Plus some make you rent a cart.  How much do you want to pay for an hour of practice on a Blue King?"   :laugh2: How about a $20 minimum?

 

And this why golf courses seem to be a more viable business than slot car raceways.

They assume that regardless of where the equipment came from, it has to be used at the golf course...and they make sure they profit from their monopoly.

 

Raceways have been proving over and over since the Sixties that you can't pay the rent by having cheap track time, races 2 days a week and selling cars and parts for those races.

 

In actuality, the tracks themselves are the only thing we have exclusivity on and yet many of our customers think that because they own cars they should get to play for free or even be paid to race, (by winning prizes).

 

This is so much fun, why should one have to pay? :dash2: 


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#15 LindsayB

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 06:31 PM

Simple fact - mail order will kill slot car tracks. The people with the overheads need to make money through sales. When you race in one state and buy mail order from a track in another state because you can save money - dont be surprised if your local track shuts.


Lindsay Byron

#16 Mark Crowley

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 06:32 PM

I'm equally baffled why you don't understand I'm not going to drive 6 hours at 75 MPH to buy parts at my "local track".

You speak as though everyone has one, like we are presented with one at birth :dash2:

That makes perfect sense and I understand we do not live in a perfect world.  But how can we help your track 6 hours away so you don't have to drive 8 hours next 

Pablo you are between a rock and a hard place but there is no solution I know of when tracks close.  Experienced racers like you are a treasure trove of experience we all learn from.  We have regulars that come up from Wichita, the Ozarks, Eastern Missouri and Iowa to race at RIR.  They are all very good racers and have upped everyone's game. 

year.

On the plus side now if you buy direct from JK you are at least now helping your "local" track.  That's a start.  When you do plan on going to the track maybe you can send them an order a week to two in advance.  Have you asked your closest track to send you parts.  What are the alternatives?  Are there other racers in the same boat as you that live nearby?

 

Mrk



#17 Pablo

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 06:38 PM

My "closest track" doesn't send parts.

My JK selected "raceway source" is Chicagoland and that works fine for me.

I'm totally onboard with JK's decision.

 

I just wish everybody would understand not everybody has a "local track" and please stop speaking as if everyone has one.


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#18 Mattb

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 07:37 PM

Even if you have a local track, it doesn't mean they will stock the parts you want.   You want to build a car to race in one of their organized race series, they have all the parts.   You want a drag car they have all the parts.   You want a JK or a flexi?    Don't stock or sell them.   Want a forged motor bracket?   Don't carry them.   You want some kind of tires besides Protrack?   don't stock them.    That is ok,   I buy some of those parts for  fun racing me and my friends do.  Maybe nobody else would buy any of that, so it is stupid for the track to tie up money in stocking it.    I can get what they don't stock by mail order.   I need axles, guides, braids, I get it all locally and don't even ask the price.   I like living in the US and having a choice in a free economy.

 

Jim mentioned $20 track rental fees.   I don't think that is unrealistic.    You spend 3-4 hours at the track, that ought to be worth $30 or so.

You would pay $15 or so to watch a 2hr Hollywood movie that you probably would not recommend to a friend!    Might even spend $10 to get an additional 50 cents worth of popcorn and soft drink.       I think some people even go to coffee shops and pay $3 or $4 for a cup of coffee!

 

A lot of talk about keeping raceways healthy.   Maybe the problem is that track time is just too cheap.

 

Alan's track costs are very realistic.   Having a 4 lane Carrera track can be as much fun for friends as a trip to the big track.   With some thinking and careful spending a 60-80 foot 4 lane track can be built for under $2000.   If you want to rout a track, you can do it for less than that.   You can run 1/24 cars and enjoy the hobby which is what it is about.


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#19 Garry S

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 07:43 PM

Really.  No customer is obligated to purchase anything from anyone.  Period.  You can buy from anyone you want at any price you want, for any reason you want and you can put it on credit if you can't afford it.  In fact if your local track loses money it is not your problem.  Just don't be surprised when your local track closes. Or has it closed already?  How many tracks are left in Iowa?

Having a place to play with slot cars may become your problem, but on the bright side perhaps you  could sell your now useless slot car equipment on Ebay and help someone else close their local raceway.  Shooting yourself in the foot is also an option.

 

Most people do NOT buy their golf equipment at the golf course.  So they charge high dues and/or greens fees.  Plus some make you rent a cart.  How much do you want to pay for an hour of practice on a Blue King?

 

Don't get me wrong, I know many if not most people do mail slot car products for one reason or another.  I just wish I knew a valid reason why people do it.

 

There are no commercial tracks in Iowa, which is the main reason I installed my own 76ft Gerding 4 lane.  Between the track and cars/parts/accessories, I have over $10k invested.  That's how much I like slot car racing.  No, not everyone can afford to do that.

 

But by your logic, I shouldn't allow anyone to race on my track unless they buy their cars and parts from me!  I'm not going to do that, lol.

 

Private or "club" tracks - and there are a lot of them - are proof that this industry won't just curl up and die for lack of commercial tracks.  The remaining commercial raceways need to change with the times, and adopt business models and pricing that will keep them in business.  They don't need to rely on "charity" from racers, and racers shouldn't feel obligated to buy from only one local source.  

 

I'm sorry to be so harsh, but these are the cold facts.  If raceways aren't profitable without "props", they WILL die.  Private tracks will survive, and there's enough parts out there to keep us old guys busy 'til WE die.  

 

I hope slot car racing survives long after my lifetime, but I'm confident that complaining about who buys what from whom won't help.  We need actual businessmen who understand profit/loss and are willing to cast aside antiquated ideas and promote the industry.  If this means higher track prices, home sets, franchising, or whatever, it will have to be done.   


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#20 Phil Hackett

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 07:59 PM

"Most people do NOT buy their golf equipment at the golf course.  So they charge high dues and/or greens fees.  Plus some make you rent a cart.  How much do you want to pay for an hour of practice on a Blue King?"   :laugh2: How about a $20 minimum?
 
And this why golf courses seem to be a more viable business than slot car raceways.
They assume that regardless of where the equipment came from, it has to be used at the golf course...and they make sure they profit from their monopoly.
 
Raceways have been proving over and over since the Sixties that you can't pay the rent by having cheap track time, races 2 days a week and selling cars and parts for those races.
 
In actuality, the tracks themselves are the only thing we have exclusivity on and yet many of our customers think that because they own cars they should get to play for free or even be paid to race, (by winning prizes).
 
This is so much fun, why should one have to pay? :dash2: 

 
Many golf courses are subsidized by local gov'ments. Slot car tracks should be so lucky.
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#21 Pablo

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 08:15 PM

Nothing wrong with mail order, Mark Crowley. I think we are on the same side.

Unfortunately you fail to acknowledge there are people in this hobby who do not have access to what you lovingly refer to as a "local track".

 

JK hasn't killed "mail order" at all - it has simply taken a step to re-define and improve it.

When I mail order a part now, a genuine raceway owner gets a part of the profit.

 

Isn't that what we all want, raceways to profit?

So, why badmouth "mail order"? :diablo:


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#22 Phil Hackett

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 08:21 PM

The reason slot car tracks are having problems goes beyond "mail order" (really, when was the last time you wrote the order on a piece of paper and MAILED it?). The cost of commerical rents//leases, power bills, insurance, just plain living for the propietor and any employees amongst other expenses has out paced sales and profits. The demographics have changed. The culture has changed.

 

Everything has changed yet we all pine for days that passed by 50 years ago and pretend that "only if this or that would be done" there'd be 3000 slot car tracks suddenly opening acoss the USA.

 

In 1968 I remember the manager of Revell Raceway complaining of mail order sales and how it was killing the sales at the track. (Point of irony here is that Revell cars/parts and acessories were *all* available from mail order....Revell was obvisiously selling the parts to the mail order companies). So, now 50 years later it's discovered that mail order is the death of commercial slot car tracks despite the major changes in culture/leisure time activities/demographics/ and prestige. Sure, let's keep pounding the same mantra that mail order is *the* evil in our industry and ignore the really big reasons that no one can control.

 

It all a niche business and as a niche business it will have it's ups and downs, there are no anchors.


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#23 Mark Crowley

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 09:35 PM

But by your logic, I shouldn't allow anyone to race on my track unless they buy their cars and parts from me!  I'm not going to do that, lol.

Not at all.  My intent is simple.  By my logic you would not have to buy a track yourself if the racers had adequately supported the track voluntarily.  You should want the track to stay open.  How or if you help is your call.  I am willing to help however I can.

From your perspective lets say you are the only music store in town.  Everyone is town buys their instruments from Amazon and would then bring them to you for adjustment.  Or say a customer visits your store to test different instruments and then buys the one he wants online because it is cheaper and they don't have to pay tax.  This is why local businesses are important.  You and your store provide added value to the instruments but these people go for the immediate reward of lower price.  They may regret their choice in the long run when they need another instrument or want to trade in and your store is no longer open.  It sounds like you are a good businessman and currently offer value that people are willing to pay.  You have probably also adapted.  How do tracks adapt?

Hopefully we can keep commercial tracks alive for a little bit longer.

Mrk



#24 Mark Crowley

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 10:03 PM

Nothing wrong with mail order, Mark Crowley. I think we are on the same side.

Unfortunately you fail to acknowledge there are people in this hobby who do not have access to what you lovingly refer to as a "local track".

 

JK hasn't killed "mail order" at all - it has simply taken a step to re-define and improve it.

When I mail order a part now, a genuine raceway owner gets a part of the profit.

 

Isn't that what we all want, raceways to profit?

So, why badmouth "mail order"? :diablo:

We are on the same side.  I like slot cars and you like slot cars and we hope it continues.

We agree that mail order that helps a track is good and buying direct from a track is even better.  This is exactly what JK-Tim is now providing.

 

I know how lucky I am to have a close local track with great owners.  I was into slot cars in the 60's and the track we could ride our bike to closed.  I got back into slots in the 80's when a track opened a few miles away.  That track started to emphasize RC and let slots slide.  If my local track closes and I probably would not travel 6 hours to a nearby track.\

 

Why don't you move to Kansas City?

 

Mrk



#25 Garry S

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 10:49 PM

Not at all.  My intent is simple.  By my logic you would not have to buy a track yourself if the racers had adequately supported the track voluntarily.  You should want the track to stay open.  How or if you help is your call.  I am willing to help however I can.

From your perspective lets say you are the only music store in town.  Everyone is town buys their instruments from Amazon and would then bring them to you for adjustment.  Or say a customer visits your store to test different instruments and then buys the one he wants online because it is cheaper and they don't have to pay tax.  This is why local businesses are important.  You and your store provide added value to the instruments but these people go for the immediate reward of lower price.  They may regret their choice in the long run when they need another instrument or want to trade in and your store is no longer open.  It sounds like you are a good businessman and currently offer value that people are willing to pay.  You have probably also adapted.  How do tracks adapt?

Hopefully we can keep commercial tracks alive for a little bit longer.

Mrk

Actually, my installing a track in my home was not motivated by the lack of commercial tracks, but I am probably the exception.  I expect there are other private track owners who DO live near a commercial track, though.

 

The music business is a good comparison, and much of what you describe does take place.  Here's how we have adapted:

 

We aren't an authorized dealer for any name brand, thus we avoid the stocking requirements and the "test players" that try out instruments at dealers then buy online.

 

We do have customers who buy Amazon instruments and other ISOs (instrument shaped objects), and we will gladly provide repair for these (at customers expense).  Our competition will not, they will only service what they sell.  We also aggressively explain the differences between these cheap instruments and good ones, both through direct customer education and intense involvement with the schools.

 

Our income is balanced between four divisions:

 

1.  Retail sales, including some readily available "lesser" name brand guitars, and many used band and stringed instruments reconditioned by our shop, as well as parts, books and accessories.

 

2.  Instrument repair, mainly band instruments brought in by schools and individuals.  Most of these were not purchased from us!

 

3.  Band instrument rental, which is brokered through a national agency.  This also gives us access (virtually never used) to dealer prices on name brand instruments.  

 

4.  Lessons, for all band instruments, guitar, bass, drums, violin, banjo, ukulele, etc.

 

Our "competition" is traditional music stores that are burdened by huge inventories of brand name instruments, and they must follow the dictates of those dealer agreements, i.e. buy 20 $300 guitars that will sell in one month and get saddled with 3 $2000 guitars that will take 2 years to sell, if you ever can lol.  Their business is not their own...

 

But this is still not a recipe for success in the music industry, it is merely a strategy.  One crucial ingredient must be added: CUSTOMER SERVICE!  All of our technicians, salesmen, and instructors are 100% dedicated to "spreading the music", because we sincerely believe that music changes lives for the better.  

 

You have to educate the customer where you can, and adapt where you can't.  We don't sell price, we sell value, and this is the critical difference. If you don't believe in value (and have the passion and skills to sell it), all you have left is price - and the big guys will always beat you on that field.   


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#26 Rob Voska

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 04:58 AM

* Too many classes
* Too much specialised and varied equipment.
* Too much inventory NOT stocked by the "DISTRIBUTOR"
* Cottage industry.
* Too much time lag between the "racer" ordering parts & finding out the next week the "distributor" didn't have it.
 
Try to look at the root of problem, not your personal pet peeve.
 
Funny but I don't see people say we should make adjustable controllers obsolete, or power supplies, or tire truers, or 50 GTP bodies or anything home made or modified or boxes that hold more than two cars or, or, or...
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#27 Mike K

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 06:12 AM

"complaining about who buys what from whom won't help.  We need actual businessmen who understand profit/loss and are willing to cast aside antiquated ideas and promote the industry. "

 

I buy from suppliers that have what I want in stock. If they don't take the time to note what I ask for when they don't have it on the wall, why should I be concerned about giving them my business? They need to understand their customer. When I ask about an item and they say they don't have it and I say that I would have bought TEN of the item if they had it, wouldn't you think that they would take the opportunity to find out what my needs are rather than just saying they don't have it in stock?

 

Customer service in the slot car business is typically the shop stocking what they want to carry and the customer having to find a source that has what the customer wants.....usually not one in the same shop. When the supplier has what the consumer wants when the consumer wants it they make a sale, but not until they have the item that is requested. Simple supply and demand.

 

The shop needs to do some of the work in seeking out what the customer is looking for and stocking items for their customer base..

 

The more times the shop says they don't have what I want, the less times I am inclined to ask if they do have what I want.


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#28 gjc2

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 06:35 AM

I understand the raceway owner’s complaint about his racers buying equipment they use at his raceway off the web. However ecommerce is here to stay, it affects almost all businesses. Every business owner has to find a way to deal with it

.

 

I don’t think it’s just a matter of price. When you shop on line you can find exactly what you want, you don’t have to compromise. Raceway owners have to make an effort to know what their racers need and have it available.

 

 

Instead of complaining about the internet join in. There are raceways that have successful eBay stores.

 

 

I have always tried to buy all my equipment for my home raceway although if I need a specific part the raceway doesn’t have I’ll get it on line. I have also bought used stuff like Parma Turbo controllers that I’ve modified and changed the resistors, there’s no point in buying them new.


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#29 Mattb

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 08:45 AM

We  always end up going around in circles in these discussions!   A lot of this goes right to the heart of the commercial track slot car problem.   Managing a slot car track is no different than managing a factory or a grocery store.  The manager better be a good business man and not a hobbyist  spending a 20 hours a week running his slot car track for his friends to race on.    

 

This is a business and requires good business sense and ......lots of work and thinking.    

 

We live in a supposedly market based economy and major changes have come about many times over the years to how our economy works.   The internet is the latest change and things will settle out  however they will settle out.   If you want to run slot cars, we will all find a way to keep running them in one way or another.      


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#30 Phil Hackett

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 11:41 AM

* Too many classes
* Too much specialised and varied equipment.
* Too much inventory NOT stocked by the "DISTRIBUTOR"
* Cottage industry.
* Too much time lag between the "racer" ordering parts & finding out the next week the "distributor" didn't have it.

 
I especially agree with #1, #2, #5.
 
The fractioning of slot car classes, sometimes just to satisfy some personal whim, is the MAIN reason the supply problem exists. When Sonic made tires there were 3 tire sizes on the same wheel using the same rubber. Now, I make *dozens* of varieties of wheels. Throw is the different tire compounds, the varied hardnessess, wheel widths, and the wheel sizes from .300 to .800 in diameter and you can see the problem: too many solutions for few problems. How is a track or distributor supposed to keep up with all that?
 
Cottage industry? I know I'm not paying for a cottage every mont... Wait! I'm in SoCal where a shack can get $700/month. Cottages are much more rent... please don't let my landlord know!
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#31 blue&orange

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 11:56 AM

There are few perfect win-win situations, but JK may have come close.
 
1) Let's assume a manufacturer sells an item at 60% of retail (and skip distributors for now).  Buying selling mail order at retail and giving 15% to designated tracks, a manufacturer makes an extra 25% -- more $$ to invest in new items.  Seen any new items you like from JK lately?  First win.
 
2) This is a mixed bag. The shop doesn't make its 30-40% markup on an item. On the other hand, the shop makes 15% by doing nothing! No ordering, no shelf spaced used, no unwanted or obsolete items gathering dust. Now maybe the shop can concentrate on using its buying power to keep in stock the items most used/needed by the local racers, on which it will still make its 30-40% markup. Second win.
 
3)  The racer gets the needed items quicker, with shipping costs probably equaling gas and sales tax. Third win.
 
I know this is simplified, but my question is, if this really works for JK, will other US manufacturers follow? And if not, why not?
Chris Matthy

#32 Don Weaver

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 12:21 PM

Often overlooked is the practice of putting 6 items on a card.  A racer sees something "special" that he wants and asks the raceway to get him one.  But for the raceway this means having to order 6 not 1, the other 5 of which may sit on the wall forever.  A $1.00 item costs the raceway $3.60 (6 pieces at 60%) which it then sells for a buck.  If the raceway can't sell the other 5 "special" pieces then it loses $2.60 on the sale.

 

In this case it is far better for the raceway to "lose" the sale to some other mail order provider.

 

Don


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#33 Phil Hackett

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 01:11 PM

Sometimes the cost of packaging and shipping a part packaged one at a time exceeds the cost of the part itself by multiple times. Multiple parts on a card saves everyone money. Just think about it.


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#34 Don Weaver

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 02:09 PM

Simply pointing out the expense to the raceway of ordering "special" parts for one racer.  The distributors and mail order houses have a much broader customer base both in numbers and interests to purchase the other 5 pieces on the card.  Losing $2.60 on a $1.00 order is not a good business plan for long-term survival.


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#35 gjc2

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 03:54 PM

Simply pointing out the expense to the raceway of ordering "special" parts for one racer.  The distributors and mail order houses have a much broader customer base both in numbers and interests to purchase the other 5 pieces on the card.  Losing $2.60 on a $1.00 order is not a good business plan for long-term survival.

 

That's an excellent point. When we were racing hard bodies and I wanted a particular model the raceway or hobby shop might have to order a case of four to six models to get the one I wanted. If he already had a big inventory of models what could he do? 


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#36 crazyphysicsteacher

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 08:35 PM

Guys, the real issue is why do people think mail order is causing shops to shut down.  If it is the cost of the parts and items, well that could be the shops are marking the parts up too much or they charge too much for track time. 

I have recently started traveling to various other tracks for races. I was talking with my home track owner who travels and races but enjoys running the track.  his location has had more traffic than I saw at any of the other tracks I went too.  Even when there were 20 racers, there were still rentals coming in and renting time on the other tracks.  He does not have super fast rentals, but he does not push people to buy the fastest car.  He lets them decide what they want to do and has the options for the just going and running a car while also having stuff if they want more.  He works on their stuff for them and works with them to make the car enjoyable, not super fast but so they can run the car and enjoy it.  Now, I know many tracks look for the fastest rentals because people do not want to drive slow cars, but really those slow poorly handling rentals are what draw people back.  They race each other and have to really drive the cars to beat each other, no flat out running with the trigger pinned the entire lap.  Hell, us racers have more fun driving those slow cars than the fast stuff.  We even tell people that on a regular basis because it takes so much more skill to go slower than to really go faster.  The ability of tracks to stay open is the keep people coming in for fun, not trying to turn every new face into a racer.   


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#37 MSwiss

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:02 PM

It's just the opposite by me.

My casual customer prefers good handling rentals, with the power set where there is a small level of skill involved, at least in the beginning.

They are looking to spend more time with the car in the slot, than walking around, to put it back in the slot.

If they have had previous experience doing a casual rental (which is pretty common, considering in the 90's, Chicago might of had 20 raceways within an hour of each other) they usually marvel how well my rentals run.

If 5 minutes in, they are still off, every second lap, I offer to lower it.

If they stay in, 15-20 laps in a row, I'll offer to raise it.

In a 20 minute rental, I might change it, up to 4 times.

And probably 1/3 of my rentals, are 3-6 year olds, running full tilt, on about 6V,with them constantly reminding their dad or grandfather, that "I'm winning, I'm winning".
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#38 Mark Crowley

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 10:26 PM

Guys, the real issue is why do people think mail order is causing shops to shut down.  If it is the cost of the parts and items, well that could be the shops are marking the parts up too much or they charge too much for track time. 

The real issue is why do people think that mail order sales by companies without a track will not impact a slot car business with track.

Mrk


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#39 crazyphysicsteacher

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 06:45 AM

Mike, The good track owners, like you, pay attention to the people on the track and will adjust the power for the rentals.  Either turning it down or up as needed, but I see lots of kids running the rentals.  They like racing eachother reguardless of how fast they are going.

 

Mark, this is just a play.  Tracks are not shutting down because people are buying from the internet.  IF your local track shut down because people only buy from the internet, then there was a problem with getting people into the track.  The owners of the track were not doing enought to keep people going and buying from them.  They did not make friends with their customers.  People aslo need to realize that there will always be those that do not buy from them or buy what they do not carry.  It is then the track owner/operators job to either direct them to the parts they have that work well or foster the relationship to create loyal customers.  I think that is the real issue at heart, having loyal customers.  I learned long ago that it is better to spend a little more for better service and having a person local to get repairs from, no such source from the internet.    


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#40 Rob Voska

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:02 AM

Distributors "should have" offered drop shipping direct to customers at an extra reasonable cost to the racer / raceway............ but failed to do so.  They refused to change with the times and did not recognize they were becoming obsolete.

 

Who has not ordered something from their local track, say 6 body's all the same because you are going to do some painting & when you get to the track the next week the track was sent 2.

The distributors didn't want to stock inventory.   I have talked to body makers that said the distributor wanted to order body's 2 at a time from them...... so how long will it take for the racer to get 6 in his hands?

Is the distributor the solution or the problem in this case?  Or just the weak link and delay in the supply chain?  Who is really hurting the raceway's business?  The racer just wants parts, nothing more and nothing less.


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#41 Mark Crowley

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 12:06 PM

Mark, this is just a play.  Tracks are not shutting down because people are buying from the internet.  IF your local track shut down because people only buy from the internet, then there was a problem with getting people into the track.  The owners of the track were not doing enought to keep people going and buying from them.  They did not make friends with their customers.  People aslo need to realize that there will always be those that do not buy from them or buy what they do not carry.  It is then the track owner/operators job to either direct them to the parts they have that work well or foster the relationship to create loyal customers.  I think that is the real issue at heart, having loyal customers.  I learned long ago that it is better to spend a little more for better service and having a person local to get repairs from, no such source from the internet.    

Again.  The point of this thread is that if you don't support your local track then who will?  If a track closes then where do you race your mail order stuff?  Should track owners be better business men?  You bet.  Should they evolve to be more profitable?  Of course.  Should they have every part you want when you want it?  Nice but not realistic.

Maybe, just maybe we as racers could help the tracks a little so we will have a place to race.  Do you buy a burger at McDonalds and take it to Red Robin to eat it?  Why do theaters not allow people to bring in treats?  That's not fair, because I can buy a liter of pop at Quck Trip for $1.

Since many people think tracks should adapt to the changing time how about tracks charge double for track time if you buy your cars elsewhere?  That's fair so I'm sure no one with have an issue with that :shok: .  They are not making you buy anything from them.  Its your choice.

People say my track doesn't do this, should do this, won't do that, doesn't have what I want (and I what it now), not open enough, closes too early, etc. You don't need to give him any help.  It's not your problem anyway (yet). Tracks are like Starbucks.  I'm sure there is another two blocks away.

 

Mrk



#42 John Streisguth

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 02:34 PM

When I see people who have maybe 100 motors etc, I always have to wonder where they buy them. God bless them if everything is purchased at the local raceway. but my bet is that it wasn't. 

I buy in this order: home raceway, raceways I travel to race at, then and only then online if (a) none of the raceways have the part and/or cannot get it from a distributor in a reasonable amount of time (b) it's something I realize at the 11th hour I need for an upcoming race © it's something specialized that won't be available through normal channels.

It's a two-way street between the raceway owners and their customers.  Each one has to do their part. Neither one will be the sole reason for a raceway closing.  In fact, I would bet landlords are one of the biggest reasons for raceways closing up.


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"Whatever..."

#43 munter

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:51 AM

You have a local raceway?.... you are incredibly blessed.


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#44 John Streisguth

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:01 AM

I actually have one about 20 minutes from my house, but they haven't had a regular racing program in years.  They are just finishing refurbishment of what seems to be the only Altech track in existence, so there is hope!.  My "home" raceway is a bit over an hour away.  Having local raceways was not always the case in these parts.  From the mid-70's until the early 90's, there was ZERO in northern New Jersey.  Then around 1990 there was a boom, probably a dozen at one point.  All are gone except the one that started it all, Zeppelin Hobbies. 

If it weren't for the commercial raceways, I would be racing HO scale, or most likely, not involved with slot cars at all (I had no involvement from 1974 to 1990)


"Whatever..."

#45 raisin27

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 01:29 PM

I buy mostly mail order as I have no local raceway to deal with. When I do attend a race I will purchase from that raceway while I am there.


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#46 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:03 PM

I find it particularly interesting that mail order or internet shopping remain quite so controversial within the hobby. 

 

https://www.hemmings...kis-auto-world/

 

Mail order to under-served customers of the hobby has been around effectively since the earliest days of the hobby. Without it, the manufacturers lose customers because a hobbyist who cannot get the tools of his hobby FINDS ANOTHER HOBBY. Fewer customers leads to smaller production runs of costlier components by smaller manufacturers who oftentimes cannot handle escalated product demand. 

 

But it's not like we're facing anything of that sort in the hobby right now...


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#47 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:48 PM

I understand the OP's intent and logic, but in this day in age it is a fairytale to think it can be reality as a whole. To start, slotcar racing and a raceways chance of survival is regional. You just cannot deny that the heavily populated areas that slotcars thrive are also the areas where the successful raceways are. Personally I have never seen a raceway grossly overpriced compared to mail order, or not enough to even be a decision maker. No matter what arguement you want to make about the $10 you save kills your raceway, there will always be those that still do it.....always!

 

Back when we had a "local track" I was committing to $400 a week in parts. If I was lucky the track would get in 25% of what I ordered. I am very patient when it comes to ordering parts, but after a month or so passes you have to do what you have to do to keep racing (I am hard on equipment). I confirmed numerous times that the parts simply were not getting ordered opposed to them not being in stock at the distributor which left me no choice. Now the track we race at once a month rarely carries normal replacement parts (tires etc.) so every racer orders them elsewhere prior to coming. There are plenty out there still supporting their local tracks or at least trying to, but that doesnt mean that the money spent is put back into the raceway either.

 

Not a blanket cure here.


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#48 Markomatic

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:51 PM

I believe in and do support my local raceway as much as I can. I am fortunate that I have two tracks a little over an hour away and maybe two about 2 hours away. If more raceways did more mailorder they would still get their piece of the pie. Too many tracks rely on who walks in the door. The world has changed and frankly I have a hard time spending 4 hours round trip to drive to Swiss's track. I email Mike and I pay and he ships the order. Easy peasy. If he or any track had an online store I would use that too. Back in the 90's in NJ there were 6 or 8 tracks within an hour. You had to travel to see who had the parts you needed but usually someone had them.


Mark Miller

#49 John Streisguth

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:57 PM

I understand the OP's intent and logic, but in this day in age it is a fairytale to think it can be reality as a whole. To start, slotcar racing and a raceways chance of survival is regional. You just cannot deny that the heavily populated areas that slotcars thrive are also the areas where the successful raceways are. Personally I have never seen a raceway grossly overpriced compared to mail order, or not enough to even be a decision maker. No matter what arguement you want to make about the $10 you save kills your raceway, there will always be those that still do it.....always!

 

Back when we had a "local track" I was committing to $400 a week in parts. If I was lucky the track would get in 25% of what I ordered. I am very patient when it comes to ordering parts, but after a month or so passes you have to do what you have to do to keep racing (I am hard on equipment). I confirmed numerous times that the parts simply were not getting ordered opposed to them not being in stock at the distributor which left me no choice. Now the track we race at once a month rarely carries normal replacement parts (tires etc.) so every racer orders them elsewhere prior to coming. There are planty out there still supporting their local tracks or at least trying to, but that doesnt mean that the money spent is put back into the raceway either.

 

Not a blanket cure here.

If a business owner refuses to have what the customers want to buy, why is he in business?  Or is the question... how?


"Whatever..."

#50 Matt Sheldon

Matt Sheldon

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:59 PM

If a business owner refuses to have what the customers want to buy, why is he in business?  Or is the question... how?

I guess that only strengthens my statement "when we had"


Matt Sheldon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






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