|From the Editor's Desk
Editor in Chief
t's hard to believe in only a few short weeks summer will be drawing to an end. It seems like it was only yesterday that Cindy and I left the 40 degree spring weather we have in Chicagoland and boarded an airplane for the warmth of Las Vegas and the NRHSA show.
It's been a busy summer for me. Late last fall the airplane fairy left a Top Flite Giant FW-190 under my pillow, and the winter was spent in the dungeon assembling the aircraft. Because the WAC (Warbirds and Classic) Alliance events, which are held throughout the Midwest, are not contest based, but rather gatherings of radio control pilots who share a common interest. It's not fair to say the bird was campaigned. It's best to say that it toured the heartland.
To say I had a lot of fun, especially later in the evening when we all retired to our motels, would be an understatement. But what is more important than having fun, at least in this profession, is to listen to what modelers have to say about the state of our industry. And please understand, any comments made were coming from the consumer side of the counter.
As a whole, the industry, and once again this is coming from the consumer perspective, is back in good shape. People are spending money and not at all afraid to travel, even if it is only within a couple of hundred miles of their residences, to once again participate in events.
Only once — and this is really pretty amazing — did I go off and become a bit obstinate (my comments weren't even fueled by alcohol) when someone asked about Al's Hobby Shop having closed. “You were all bragging about the great deals you were getting online, but now you're crying a waterfall because there's no overseas customer support and you have to drive 50 miles to pick up a two dollar pack of hardware.” I went on, but as mentioned, that only happened the one time, and my goal was to enjoy the summer, not belittle fools.
Actually from what I've seen, customers have returned to the local hobby store. There's nothing like the LHS in any other industry. It doesn't matter if the customer's interest lay with radio control, railroading or scale plastic modeling. Every group of modelers forms a club, complete with monthly meetings, but we all know the LHS is where they actually go to hangout. I did it, and I'm certain many of you, prior to becoming dealers, did it as well.
It is also interesting to note that as summer winds down, I can't help but notice a slight but perceivable change in the inventory of the local hobby stores. In the Midwest, the summer's outdoor staples are beginning to diminish and these are being replaced by more indoor oriented activities. Things like train sets are taking up more wall space and the supply of plastic model kits seems to have grown also.
This only makes sense. By no means has the warm weather come to an end for 2015, but there is only one more of the WAC events, one last "Big-Bird" and then this season of traveling from event to event will be over. Since I'm also a consumer, when the weather turns colder I'll be looking for something to occupy my time instead of staring at the television screen (I don't even want to begin thinking about shoveling snow yet).
This was a topic of conversation during this past spring's NRHSA show. The industry shows strong signs of once again becoming seasonal. There's nothing wrong with this at all. Retail space is extremely expensive. It's best to fill it with extra of what is selling at a specific time of the year instead of putting inventory on the shelves to make your store look full. HM
Until next month,