|From the Editor's Desk
Editor in Chief
Assistant Production Manager
n the Chicagoland area we are knee deep in winter. For many of us, this is a depressing time of the year. I've suffered from the effects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) for years. I'm an outdoor person and don't like being cooped up inside especially when the only chance for any outdoor activity is shoveling snow. At least February is the last full month of winter and we'll shortly start to see a little give in Mother Nature's clutch.
It's so basic that many people who suffer from seasonal depression forget that to combat cabin fever we have to do fun things. This is the time of the year when the show season kicks off. Now that the holidays are behind us it's time to spend a day at a show.
Obviously, there are big shows to attend, but just because the Nuremberg Toy Fair might be just a tad out of reach for many of us it doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other shows to attend. Train shows are always held during the winter months, and almost all of the local radio control flying clubs hold swap meets this time of the year. These are a nice way to spend a day off other than to stare at a television set watching an old movie for the hundredth time.
Attending a show doesn't always have to be 100 percent business. A local show might be the perfect avenue to interact socially with customers. Taking the opportunity to talk about growing children or other personal matters —without prying— in a neutral environment can reap huge rewards at a later date. People remember those business leaders who took a personal interest in their lives and listened to what was said. These are the people you will find shopping at your store on a regular basis.
One of the events Cindy and I will attend this month is E-Fest. Hosted by Great Planes and sponsored by a number of companies including Hobby Merchandiser. We always have a good time. It's a nice weekend away from the store for Cindy, and we both conduct a fair amount of business along with the fun of flying radio control airplanes and helicopters.
That said, I'm not exactly sure how things will work out this year. The only weekend the University of Illinois had open was Feb 15-16. That put our arrival on Friday, February 14, Valentine's Day. I don't believe a romantic dinner of fast food in a motel room filled with foam airplanes and micro helicopters is what Cindy had in mind, and I'm sure she'll get some extended mileage out of this at my expense.
It sounds odd, and without a doubt it goes along with the winter blues and a person's desire to usher in warm weather, but even though boats represent only a small segment in the overall radio control market, they always sell well in the winter. Customers will look at a box that often pictures the contents in an outdoor setting of warm weather and sunshine and, frequently, a sandy beach. Who wouldn't be attracted to such thoughts?
To change things up, this month's issue contains four styles of boats. We'll cover the gamut from a beginner's slow-mover, to a radio control conversion of a scale plastic model, a semi-scale replica of the type of boat seen in every port city throughout the world, and a small, but fast and extremely affordable racing hull.
The next time you have a customer wandering around looking for an out of the ordinary winter purchase, suggest a boat. Just show him the box, mention how you're also looking forward to warm weather, and let the rest of the pieces fall into place. HM
Until next month,