Winter storm Decima had a terrible affect on a large number of hobby businesses. Impacting just days before Christmas it couldnít have come at a worse time. Blanketing the Great Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes, and extending clear into the Eastern Seaboard before finally going away. The combination of heavy snowfall along with record low temperatures kept many last minute shoppers indoors. I suppose the real winners were shipping companies that were charging a small fortune for guaranteed Christmas delivery with online purchases.
Thank goodness the month of March signals the return of spring. Warmer weather always has a positive impact of the vast majority of hobby stores. People who have been cooped up all winter want to get outside in the fresh air and enjoy their chosen hobby again. With the coming of spring is a return of business, something every store owner wants to see.
One of the few things Iíve been asked to shy away from in my commentaries is politics. This is completely understandable, yet the recent election was the most heated contest Iíve ever been witness to, and this includes the hotly debated elections of the late 1960s, a period in our history when the war in Vietnam was tearing this country apart. Unfortunately this past election was so hotly debated it cost way too many friendships between people who were so passionate about their preferred candidate(s) it took on near religious overtones, but itís time to our differences to the side begin working together again.
Regardless of your political (or religious) affiliations weíre deep into a period where the entire industry, from manufacture to distributorship through retail, is struggling to reinvent itself. An entire generation, more like two generations, had a negative impact on the hobby industry. We donít often think of the combination, but when the recession struck people were more concerned about finding and retaining gainful employment. This of course led to a direct lack of discretionary income which could be spent on personal items.
What weíre dealing with now is the entitled generation. Kids were (and still are) being rewarded for doing nothing more than participating in the basics of life. This too is a hotly debated topic. I for one had many disappointments in my youth, a number of which led to some pretty hurt feelings, but the way we avoided the hurt feelings the next time around was to excel, now we had earned something, and the feeling of pride for a job well done is much stronger than the feeling of sorrow.
Unfortunately for the hobby industry the devastating recession was followed by a generation that has few skills and little to no incentive. The concept of solving a problem is simply not understood. In my own way of describing the situation; there are way too many of our youth that have been taught so little practical application, that when they drop their trophy awarded for participating they have absolutely no idea of how to go about making the repair.
Is the future of the hobby industry facing doom and gloom? Absolutely not, like spring weíre due for a reawakening. We were told years ago the recession had ended, but itís just now that the average worker is showing a little extra in his paycheck for personal purchases beyond the necessities of life, and there is no question the reward for participation has proven to have a negative impact on a personís way of dealing with problems as they approach adulthood. After many years of struggling there is nowhere to go but up.
Until next month,