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Slots-A-Lot Raceway on Long Island is changing ownership


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#26 gjc2

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 04:01 PM

I've run on the King and the Kingelman within the last month. They're in decent condition, certainly usable. I haven't run on the Hillclimb in a long time, however i've seen people on it.

The raceway seems busy on weekends.

For someone able to put some time into it, it could be a viable business.


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#27 NY Nick

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 07:03 PM

I was on the Hillclimb two weeks ago; car ran great after the power was run up. The King was good but really dusty; it was like driving on snow.


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#28 gjc2

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 05:22 AM

The cars were very "loose." 
 
I'll be sorry to see the place gone.
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#29 mreibman

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 10:21 AM

The Kingelman and the King are dry and dirty. They need to be vacuumed (including the slots), cleaned, and spray-glued for proper traction. That's an afternoon's job at most.

However, what concerns me is the braid on both tracks is not in great shape (and that's being generous). All the staples need to be removed, portions need to be rebraided, perhaps the whole track. That's more than an afternoon's work.
 
If it were only a case of needing some help with these things, I would do work on these items willingly, although would be better with some younger helpers. But I believe it's a case of the owner doesn't wish to run this business anymore for their own reasons. So good luck to them. Good luck to whomever may purchase it... I agree, I hope someone purchases the business, or gets another track set up in Nassau...
Mike Reibman
Alleged amateur racer
Mostly just play with lots of cars.
Able to maintain slot cars with a single bound.
Faster than a speeding womp.
More powerful than a 36D
 
 

#30 Joe Mig

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 07:56 AM

The place had a great following we were racing two nights a week and they would have drag racing on Friday night. The place was good three nights a week with parties always on the weekend with the two different previous owners.

Too bad there was a person there who drove all of its customers away and the previous owner sold due to no business any longer.

The new owner was more of a hobbyist and claims he has a slot car track in his basement. I guess he thought it would be cool to own a raceway but after meeting the fellow I realized he had no idea on what is involved with slot car racing.

He was a real estate guy so for him it was more of a thing of owning his own raceway and it didn't matter if it lost money because it was a write-off

It would be really nice if somebody took the place over and ran it the way a raceway should be run.

I think a big part of the problem is rent; if someone wants to take it over I would think trying to come up with the new deal with the landlord.


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#31 Samiam

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 08:30 AM

Last I heard the rent was below market for a location like that. Hempstead Tnpk. (Rt 24) is one of the busiest roads on LI. And the traffic light in front of the store is a big plus.

 

Like Joe said, there was an individual involved who did irreparable damage to the raceway's following. Singlehandedly destroyed a robust Saturday night kid's racing program. Miss Management at its worst.

 

It's a shame nobody can step up with the same enthusiasm Gary had for the raceway when he saved it from closure in the eleventh hour. If someone does step up they have my full support. I did hundreds of pro bono hours for the last two owners. I would do it again.   


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#32 Lone Wolf

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 10:48 AM

Sam,

 

I'd be willing to put in some Sonny Bono hours as long as there are no big trees inside.   :crazy:


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#33 Cheater

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 10:54 AM

Well, all you guys need now is an investor to step up to buy the place.


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#34 Half Fast

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 11:06 AM

Rent is always a problem for slot car shops as they are low margin business that requires a lot of floor space.

 

The opposite is a jewelry store (high margin/low floor space).

 

Cheers,


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#35 n9949y

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 01:14 PM

Bill points out what is a significant challenge commercial track owners/managers face when trying to run a successful shop- the assumption the operation requires lots of floor space with the concomitant high rent.

 

So why the impulse of maintaining shops with huge multiple  8 lane tracks?

 

Amazing to see that with few exceptions most commercial track managers adhere stubbornly to a business model that without fail, fails. Been going on for almost

a  half century. Why not smaller tracks requiring less floor space and lesser rents?


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#36 Cheater

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 01:25 PM

Why not smaller tracks requiring less floor space and lesser rents?


Very reasonable quesion, Todd, but just who do you expect to post a reply?

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#37 MSwiss

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 01:43 PM

I'll bite, real quick.
 
Yes, it's a bad business model.
 
But I don't see small floor spaces, with less lanes, as the answer.
 
While it works for clubs fine, having a bunch of guys getting together once a week, that know each other, and have chili or sloppy joes to munch, while they race for little, or nothing, is a lot different then having strangers converge, mostly on a Saturday or Sunday, get a lane with little or no waiting, have their 20-45 minutes of fun, and moving on.
 
If a parent can't get lanes, when they are typically available, they'll cross slot racing off their list of fun things to do to entertain their kids.
 
I had 14-15 parties this past month, and there is zero chance I would have that many, or any at all, in a small place with four-lane tracks.
 
My raceway is hardly a showplace, but I've noticed the same comment from multiple people, from nearby Hinsdale, one of the most affluent towns in the country (median household income, $173K+).
 
Their comment "You really have a nice set-up here."
 
Meaning lots of room, for food, and kids and parents, to roam and run around.


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Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#38 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 02:00 PM

Ahh, one of those "If I had to do it over again" questions.

As much as I absolutely love our 165' Hillclimb, if I were building from scratch, my track of choice from a business standpoint would likely be a 95' Royal. It's a lot of racing in a very small footprint that requires very few marshals. It would occupy only about two-thirds of the floorplan my Hillclimb does which would give me more first-floor space to dedicate to regular line hobby items. 

Yes, smaller tracks are indeed a smarter call for making as much retail sense as you can out of a slot car track. Putting lots of track in a small space up against a wall is precisely why the Hillclimb/Grandstand variety of track exists.


Operator - Haven Raceway in Elyria, OH
Series Director - Ohio Challenge Cup

#39 Excapt

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 02:37 PM

The sad reality guys is that you're competing against Playstation and Xbox. Host of other platforms that the kids today immerse themselves in. It's not the same as when we were kids.
 
And slot car racing is driven on the weather; we do very well when it was raining out but during the summer when it's beautiful out nobody wants to come and sit inside. Regardless of what some of our fans above have said we made a good run of it and found out it was very, very tough to grow the business whether it was our location or it was a business plan. It was a lot of work.
 
Whether it was all business plan or the owners falling out of love with the business. But just like everything else it comes down to a financial decision. Is this business worth holding onto here? Kenny realized that answer 4 years ago when he decided to sell the business that it was not. Gary and Frank stepped in and said they could make a run of it so the way I look at it is at the very least it was open for four more years.
Wayne Beers
Slots-A-Lot Raceway
1100 Hempstead Turnpike
Franklin Square, New York 11010
(516) 616-7075

#40 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 03:44 PM

The sad reality guys is that you're competing against Playstation and Xbox. Host of other platforms that the kids today immerse themselves in. It's not the same as when we were kids.

 
Well... see... here's the problem with that. 

The first home video game consoles made their way into living rooms in the early '70s. The first truly popular home video game console - the Atari 2600 - came out in 1977 and dominated the market against competition from Mattel (Intellivision) and Coleco. 

If we just use Scalextric's introduction in 1957 as the "birth of slot cars" as a mainstream activity (setting aside early patents and pre and post war rail racing clubs) then slot cars have spent more time as an option to video games than not. 

The hobby's struggles have absolutely nothing to do with video games, with the possible exception that video games are readily accessible and actively advertised, whereas not even hobby juggernauts like Scalextric, Carrera, and Autoworld (let alone 1/24 scale hobby heavies like JK Products or Parma) have active national advertising campaigns targeted at youths, their parents, or the far more lucrative 15-30 age bracket.


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#41 MSwiss

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 04:33 PM

Justin,

 

I'll disagree on the non-importance of video games, as a factor.

 

In slot racing's heyday, there weren't video games (or any sophisticated R/C cars).

 

Other than maybe model trains, there wasn't anything nearly as cool that was somewhat affordable. There were minibikes and go-karts,l but along with being expensive, where I grew up they were essentially, illegal.

 

While slot racing died before the advent of video games, they, and R/C cars, certainly aren't helping the current situation.


Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#42 Samiam

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 06:06 PM

While slot racing died before the advent of video games, they, and R/C cars, certainly aren't helping the current situation.

 

Slot racing is dead???? :o  Oh crap... I better put all my slot car stuff up on eBay!!!
 
Mike,

You did 14-15 parties last month, so it ain't dead yet. I know you meant "crashed." We may never see the kind of action there was during the boom, but I keep seeing new raceways in the directory. Even if it takes them over a year to reveal themselves to us. 
 
Slots-A-Lot had a long run. Longer than many others.


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Sam Levitch
 
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#43 MSwiss

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 06:23 PM

Died, relatively speaking.

 

From when Chicago had 200 raceways in the area.

 

Crashed is probably a more accurate term.


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Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#44 havlicek

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 07:03 PM

I think video games have had a negative impact on not just slots... but kids in general. We live in a "virtual-obsessed" world where children (and adults) are satisfied with just the illusion of accomplishing something, like "scoring" against aliens, racing through the streets of LA in a stolen car, "building" a virtual city. Heck, they're not just "satisfied" with it, they're often addicted to it. 

 

Slot cars, in its commercial form, has a lot to do with mechanics and hands-on skills that have all been devalued by society.  Shop classes have all but disappeared, and students are pointed towards college level education that often has nothing to do with whatever natural abilities/interests a particular student has. Slot cars probably pointed a fair number of 1960s kids towards machinist, engineering, and science-related jobs.

 

Heck, they should have "taught slot cars" in school. They probably would have had kids lining up to voluntarily stay after school. Now that I think of it, a varsity slot car team with a track in the school basement could have been a thing!  :D


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#45 Half Fast

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 07:18 PM

Someone told me that in Latvia slot cars are taught in school :good:
 
Tony Melendez from Long Island is running a slot car program with a track in a school in Brooklyn. :clapping:
 
Cheers,

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Bill Botjer

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The most dangerous form of ignorance is not knowing that you don't know anything!

 

 

 
 

#46 Roy Lievanos

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 09:11 PM

Video games did have an impact on slot cars but I feel it is no longer the culprit.
 
Social media I feel has taken over. Elementary school kids now have cell phones and junior and high school kids are getting Facebook accounts.
 
Kids sit in front of a TV and stare at their phone.

My high school grandaughter took her boyfriend to the track, BPR, where I was testing and he was amazed being the first time seeing slots cars along with her telling him she raced once so there is still hope.
 
Kids need to be introduced to slot cars as tracks are limited and/or hidden.
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#47 gjc2

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 05:26 AM

Most kids don’t seem to have any interest in any kind of “hands on” activity. Most don’t have any experience using tools. I really think they’re missing out on a lot of fun and satisfaction.


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#48 havlicek

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 06:26 AM

Someone told me that in Latvia slot cars are taught in school.  :good:
 
Tony Melendez from Long Island is running a slot car program with a track in a school in Brooklyn. :clapping:

 
:)  So in my (twisted) mind I see the US Championships being held at The Garden, with the NYC team facing Chicago in the finals of the C-can class. As the cheerleaders entertain the crowd, the two teams come out wearing their school colors, and setup with alternating lanes, "four against four." The long rivalry is once again going to be settled, but "Joey *Fingers* Boticelli" the Captain of the NYC team has worked all night and is feeling pretty confident. 

Besides, in case of an upset, his "crew" is waiting around the pit area to "convince" the Chicago boys they're going to lose... either way. Little do they know, the Chicago Team has been sponsored by The Teamsters, who have their own little surprise in store.   :shok:  :bomb:


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#49 Bill from NH

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 08:21 AM

Successful slot racing programs have been run at schools in Prescott, Arizona, by Rich Vecchio, now retired to Oregon, and in British Columbia by high school teacher Wayne Halabourda. Both have built several tracks that they then held race programs on.


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#50 Cheater

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 09:38 AM

The hobby's struggles have absolutely nothing to do with video games, with the possible exception that video games are readily accessible and actively advertised, whereas not even hobby juggernauts like Scalextric, Carrera, and Autoworld (let alone 1/24 scale hobby heavies like JK Products or Parma) have active national advertising campaigns targeted at youths, their parents, or the far more lucrative 15-30 age bracket.


I'm with Justin here regarding the US market. No one in this country promoted/promotes the activity of slot racing itself, certainly not in the way that, for one example, the model railroading industry has promoted and continues to promote its hobby activity.

And here's what is being done in the UK. This is not the first one of these events and notice the venue.

UK Slot Car Festival

"The UK Slot Car Festival aims to bring every aspect of the Slot Car world to all its audiences - Collectors, Racers, Families in all the different scales."

 

As for the lack of hands-on hobbies, don't neglect what is happening in the world of robots and robotics. Here's a local example:

 

GeorgiaFIRST Robotics

 

As I have noted before, the racers just want to race and the manufacturers just want to sell and as long as that's all they do, things will never change for commercial slot racing in the US.


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap






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