Loyalty/Support to your favorite shop?

I find myself on the fence lately when it comes to buying kits and supplies for this great hobby . I have a go to that I like and support, but with the cost of everything I’ve found myself shopping around for the best price/deal , but feel guilty about it . The big thorn is Shipping cost ! Just thought I’d see what others have to say about this .

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Probably like many, there isn’t a LHS in which to be loyal.

I’ve detailed elsewhere in which the family who owned a now defunct (what a surprise :roll_eyes: ) Hobbytown would routinely follow me and hover over me glaring, mere feet or less away. No one appreciates that. They did it to themselves.

So, it’s mostly eBay for me. That’s basically my best option.

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If I had a good one nearby I would support it. But I really don’t…

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Sadly my choice was made by fate - around here it’s internet ordering or nothing. Sorry if that’s a cop-out…


I’m very fortunate in that I have 3 or 4 shops to actually go into. Two are nearby and the other two are 20/40 minutes away respectively. I don’t go very often though because I’ve cut back spending drastically, and 2 of the shops prices are astronomical.

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I supported both LHS’s, but they still closed down. :rage: :cry:
:smiley: :canada:

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My LHS is a Hobbytown. Sure, a retail chain doesn’t inspire the loyalty a small town shop would, but it’s what we’ve got.

I support them where I can because honestly, with shipping, most of their kits are competitive. But mainly I want them around so I can grab Vallejo paints and other thinners and stuff I need, same day. And there’s nothing like being able to actually see what color you’re buying.

Staff is friendly enough. RC stuff is the emphasis as usual.

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Last time I was in that Hobbytown, after being hit with about a half dozen “Can I help you’s?” I made my way to the Plastruct bin at the back of the store.

I had read in Steve Zaloga’s article that the Dragon Ersatz M-10 had an error in that the metal rod atop the turret holding the sides of the Ersatz M-10 panels in place, the kit depicted these as round. They were instead square in cross section.

So I am looking at the plastic rod, examining the various thicknesses for what looked appropriate.

The family member was less than two feet away. I could see his eyes following my hands. Ridiculous.

At one point, the guy seemed so utterly focused on this that I explained the above.

I think I said, “This one looks right” and turned to pay for it. He walked alongside me to the register. Really? You think I’m going to shoplift a 40 cent (or whatever it was) item???

I then thought, “F*** you and f*** this place. I’m done. That’s it. Not one more cent spent here.”

Seems they were done too not long after.

Loyalty is a two way street. Treat customers like crap and they’ll turn to eBay. Which is cheaper.


It’s amazing to me that Northern Virginia and the Washington DC metro area no longer has any LHS aside from a few dungeons and dragons type joints that are open weird hours.

For 25 years before it closed I patronized a single hobby shop (Pieper Hobby Chantilly Virginia) that eventually became a long drive from my home.

If I was in the store an a potential patron complained about the price of something that could be gotten cheaper online, I’d say, “Tell ‘em about your overhead, Rick.”

Those days are long gone.

I try to stay loyal to the big New Hampshire vendor, but it’s hard when he doesn’t have what I want. Yet.


The local LHS’s are all gone except for one that is a combined bookstore/hobbyshop/second hand bookstore/hobbyshop with a limited selection of kits.
I started shopping from abroad 30 years ago, first paper-mail/telephone, then e-mail and finally internet.
Now I have a major hobby shop right here at my fingertips.

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My LHSs are all gone and those that remain aren’t in good neighborhoods or easy to reach and cater more to Gundam, Anime, dolls, toys, and expensive collectible action figures. Comic book stores seemed to have survived the pandemic and some thrived.

The only general LHS here closed citing earthquake retrofit of the entire apartment building it was under. Many years later, it never reopened and no retrofit was ever seen. That LHS hardly had any kit stock in it most of the time, and the stock that it did have were kits modelers often didn’t want. They had a good selection of decals and paints, but when I talked to the shop employees, they told me someone comes it to order the stock, meaning that they have no control over what they sell! :face_with_peeking_eye:

A hobby shop 30 miles south folded because they remodeled and then stocked fewer items each and every time I visited. It was flanked by a bike and toy shop. All gone.

Another hobby shop 50 miles south was robbed of expensive R/C, drones, and railroad items…thieves smashed in the front glass doors…and the owner had no insurance which was unfortunate because he moved to a new location and just set up shop. It wasn’t as good a stock selection as the old location, but it was the largest hobby shop around here.

Another hobby shop close to the one that was robbed became a Game Kastle wargaming store after the owners retired. I find it amazing that a wargaming store sells a much better selection of paints, scenery, weathering products, model painting magazines, and hobby tools than a LHS. But this one doesn’t have any model kits besides wargaming pieces.

And finally a small and very well stocked hobby shop just closed one day without notice. He was an employee from the hobby shop whose owners retired. This owner was said to go into clothing sales, but I think that was a scheme to cover up something. He never appeared again and when I emailed contacts down there, they won’t admit what happened to the owner or the store.

So now I just buy everything online.

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I was another Piper Hobby loyalist, but they’re long gone now. I like stopping at Modellbahn Ott in Boyertown PA when visiting family to the norrh, but my stash development comes mostly on an EvilBay boat from China. I used to buy from an American distributor but the prices - esp. shipping - got to be too much, and another big American shop I’ve mail ordered from is slower and more expensive than EvilBay.
I’d love to have a new Piper Hobby to pour money into, but it’s just not to be.


I do have a good LHS nearby and I do purchase kits from them. Their prices are higher than on line but when I add in shipping the prices are about the same. They have a good supply of paint and supplies so when I need something I can get it right away


Thinking this over, it’s unfortunate that the internet age has taken down both the good and the bad. It’s certainly become difficult and recognizing that a store has to adapt or die isn’t always enough.

Just now, I was on eBay looking at R Model Panther G tracks. And it occurred to me that not only are these only available on eBay, but even for aftermarket items such as Voyager, Friul, Aber, etc., which might be available at a LHS, that the hobby has become so specialized and so detail oriented that to stock everything would be cost and space prohibitive.

Back in the 1970s, ‘80s, things were much simpler and there was less option anxiety. You got your Tamiya Panther, built it out of box, painted it panzer gray, affixed Afrika Korps palm trees, whatever numbers you liked and told yourself that was definitely accurate.

Now, there are a lot more kits to choose from. And sad to say, some LHSs can’t go on acting like they’re the only game in town. Those days are way back in the rearview mirror.

Now, maybe this is all apples and oranges, but I buy a lot of music CDs. There are stores I support, both locally and in other cities when I am there. For instance, I recently spent a small fortune at The Rhythm Section in Gatlinburg, TN.

I also buy online a lot, but when I have the opportunity to visit a cool store, I don’t mind spending the little bit extra.

Point being, in this day and age, store owners and staff really do have to go the extra mile to survive. I see no obligation to support an entitled owner and store which doesn’t respect its customers.

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In the mid 90s I worked the night shift for a Volvo specialist shop in Reston. Every other Friday I’d leave work, hit the bank and head to Peiper in Chantilly, on my way home to Lorton.

Rick would actually open the place a little earlier than usual just for me. The joke between the two of us was How many kits and much paraphernalia can you get into Harley saddle bags?

Remember the visible B29/Cow he made from a 1/72 B29 and an old Renwal visible cow that he had hanging from the ceiling?

Just remembering that makes me laugh.

In 99? the family sold the store to new owners and I had to go pick up a bunch of built stuff he had of mine in the display cases in the back before they moved to the beach somewhere in NC.

It was never the same with the new owners but I soldiered on going by there once a month at least until one Saturday I drove all the way there from Springfield and it was empty.



The nearest hobby shop to my home is about 15 miles away. Bridge toll and gas will cost me $15+ US just to make the round trip. The best hobby shop is about 50 miles away. That is $24+ US in gas for the round trip. Both will charge me full price for everything, plus California sales tax.

Started shopping online around 1995 and never looked back. It’s not my job to save businesses that cannot compete. It’s the job of business owners to compete for my patronage. In the last year I’ve purchased from Amazon, Andy’s Hobby Headquarters, eBay, Hobbylinc, HobbyLink Japan, Scale Hobbyist, Sprue Brothers, and Star Decals. If I had purchased that stuff from local hobby shops, it would have cost me an extra $1000+ US.

Andy’s Hobby Headquarters and Scale Hobbyist are my current favorites.


I used to have a great LHS but they turned it into a legal marijuana store. They had games as well. Shopped there for years. Makes me sad when ever I drive past.

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Yes, I remember the cow bomber and also the dog bomber. There was a game shop in the same shopping center - Game Parlor - I actually had a modified Millenium Falcon model on display there. Piper did a pretty good job of keeping stock but Rob had a heart attack and his wife didn’t want to deal with it.


There’s “price” and then there’s “costs.”

FWIW, I will patronize my LHS (which is far from “local” since I have to drive the better part of an hour one-way to get to it) for any and everything that I consider “consumable,” like paints, glues, scratch-building supplies, etc. When I’m there, I’ll cruise through the kits and IF there’s one stocked that is on my “to get list,” I’ll usually pony up the retail price for it.

The inconvenience of running out of some consumable that I need for a project adds what is for me a “cost” that is greater than the “retail price” for that sort of stuff that my LHS charges. That is, being able to buy a couple jars of paint when I need them is a major factor in how much money I’m willing to pay. Sure, I might be able to save a buck on the price by shopping online, but I’ll have to wait a few days (if not longer) to get them. That wait is something that I add back onto the cheaper price and which I then usually perceive as overall too “costly.”

Now, to be honest, I don’t buy many kits from my LHS, but mostly because he won’t have what I’m looking for. IF he does though, then when I’m there (because of time and distance I don’t go shopping there just HOPING that he MIGHT have what I want) I will step up and pay something closer to full retail simply to throw some business his way. I figure this is also part of the “price” I’m willing to pay in order to keep the “cost” of my modeling within what I can tolerate.

Keeping my LHS in business takes a willingness to pay a reasonable price for goods in order to keep my overall hobby costs within reason. Money AND time (in the form of convenience and availability of necessary items) are both cost factors that I think should be considered. Keeping you LHS in business is part of the price to be paid.


Hello, I try to support LHS anywhere I’ve lived. now its hobby lobby or an out of the way hobby town store or online scale hobbyist or sprue brothers to name a couple also eBay. If there was a LHS in my neighborhood, I would definitely try support it.

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