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Great Train Store Chain Closes

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Streamrail

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May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
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A rememberance...for the chain of 55+ mall stores that brought train awareness
into the hands of a whole new generation of kids, and served as a stopping
point on my monthly trek out for the magazines of our hobby. Think of how many
people who would never have wandered into a hobby shop, drifted in for a
curious look at one of these and got hooked on the hobby.. The guy at my local
store told me the signs saying STORE CLOSING FINAL SALE effects the whole
chain. The website window caption bar at www.thegreattrainstore.com says "Final
Text"...says it all...and I for one, will look back fondly someday and remember
their steam whistle reverberating in a mall. And how impressed I was at
visiting the first one I came across in New Orleans. Although i only purchase
one locomotive from them (with a discount coupon), as their selection was
limited and pricey I did frequent the store, and purchased books, hats, mugs,
and pins from them too. Will we ever see a mall chain of train stores again?
Probably not.
Great Train Store, you'll be missed. A long toot of the steam whistle to you.


Access Systems

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May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
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In rec.models.railroad Streamrail <strea...@aol.comtric.com> wrote:

????? was just in the one in Washington Union Station and the manager
didn't know anything about closing, no signs that I saw either.

when was this announced. ????

Bob


: A rememberance...for the chain of 55+ mall stores that brought train awareness


--

Mark Frysztacki

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May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to
>Although i only purchase
>one locomotive from them (with a discount coupon), as their selection was
>limited and pricey I did frequent the store, and purchased books, hats, mugs,
>and pins from them too. Will we ever see a mall chain of train stores again?
>Probably not.
>Great Train Store, you'll be missed. A long toot of the steam whistle to
>you.
>
>

A sad story indeed. And yet a trend that's just beginning? The closing of our
favorite 'local train store'? I know this thread has been hashed over time and
time here, but it does scare me. I am lucky to have two great hobby stores in
this area, one is devoted exclusively to trains, the other is largely trains.
I go to the one store at least once a week religiously, if for no other reason
than to see what's new. I don't shop on the internet. Many years ago, I
began to shop the 'mail order' houses in an effort to save money, but had bad
experiences. I came to find out that while the price was cheaper, when you add
in the shipping and in many cases, agrivation, it wasn't worth it. My local
dealer is fair with his prices, is there to help me if I need it. He carries
parts, paints and various supplies. His store is inviting, clean and well lit.
And many times while I'm there, I see old friends and meet new ones. No
internet dealer can offer that kind of service and atmosphere. I know there
are good internet dealers out there, but I'll stick to my local shop where I
can deal face to face with someone I know, not some 'internet address'.

~~~ Mark ~~~

General Superintendent
Pennsylvania Railroad Northern Division
http://members.aol.com/markcfry/prrndiv

OwensRwy

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May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to
I for one won't lament the closing of the "Great Train Stores," which were
anything but great. They were overpriced, usually had nothing in stock but
Athearn and maybe some Bachmann, and were not aimed at the serious modeler. If
Railroad Hobbies in Roseville closes, that's a reason to lament. That's what I
consider a local hobby shop. But lament a chain of overpriced, overkitsched,
and understocked mall shops that seemed to cater more to the "Thomas the Tank
Engine" folks than the "Where's that Cannon thinwall cab" folks? Not I.
travis a. bushman-...@aol.com
watchin' the BNSF Stockton Sub from MP 1189.0
watchin' the SP Cal-P Division from MP 15.0
but somehow modeling the Milwaukee Road


L'wanna

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May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to
Why do you suddenly need a password to enter the site?

www.thegreattrainstore.com


john a dalton

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May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to
L'wanna <L'wa...@EL.org> wrote:

>Why do you suddenly need a password to enter the site?
>
> www.thegreattrainstore.com

....to make sure you're not a creditor ?..... :))

.....bat guano.... :))


Neal

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May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to
You're right, the chain is closing. I just called the store in the Mall of
America (in Minneapolis, MN)

Great Train Store The
Mall Of America MINNEAPOLIS MN 55420 (952) 851-9988

They said everything is on sale 20% off, because they are "liquidating". The
funny thing is that they always have a sign posted saying that locomotives
(which are all I'm after from them) are ALWAYS 20% off retail.

Since the whole store is now recently marked down 20%, one might expect the
locomotives to then be dropped to 40% off. But they are still just 20% off
retail, and I can beat that elsewhere.

They may be closing but they're not in a rush to do so.

Neal


Streamrail <strea...@aol.comtric.com> wrote in message
news:20000523025214...@ng-fc1.aol.com...


> A rememberance...for the chain of 55+ mall stores that brought train
awareness
> into the hands of a whole new generation of kids, and served as a stopping
> point on my monthly trek out for the magazines of our hobby. Think of how
many
> people who would never have wandered into a hobby shop, drifted in for a
> curious look at one of these and got hooked on the hobby.. The guy at my
local
> store told me the signs saying STORE CLOSING FINAL SALE effects the whole
> chain. The website window caption bar at www.thegreattrainstore.com says
"Final
> Text"...says it all...and I for one, will look back fondly someday and
remember
> their steam whistle reverberating in a mall. And how impressed I was at

> visiting the first one I came across in New Orleans. Although i only

Martin F. O'Rourke

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May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to
I hated to see that the GTS in Scranton, PA was closing. Where can I buy film
now? That mall was marginal at best, especially after Wards left, now the only fun
store there is gone or going.
Last summer I couldn't find any store that had soap, by the bar, to sell, or a
plastic soap box for that matter.
Well, at least the food court is still there, I hope.

Martin F. O'Rourke

unread,
May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to Access Systems
That store had 20% off everything signs all over the store on Friday, Saturday and
Sunday. The girl behind the counter knew all about it.
I'll miss it. I've bought many magazines from them, a few tapes and books. True,
they were full priced, but they had it.
The HO stuff was pretty pedestrian, and not what I needed. Most of the clerks knew
nothing about railroading in general, but were friendly and knew many Amtrak people
by their first names. We could leave trip flyers and chapter brochures there
anytime.
Many people bought "Little Johnny or Little Susie" something for a trip gift.
There's no telling how many people got interested in the hobby, just from a gift
train or book from GTS. Sorry to see them leave, they did fill a niche.

Access Systems wrote:

> In rec.models.railroad Streamrail <strea...@aol.comtric.com> wrote:
>
> ????? was just in the one in Washington Union Station and the manager
> didn't know anything about closing, no signs that I saw either.
>
> when was this announced. ????
>
> Bob
>

> : A rememberance...for the chain of 55+ mall stores that brought train awareness


> : into the hands of a whole new generation of kids, and served as a stopping
> : point on my monthly trek out for the magazines of our hobby. Think of how many
> : people who would never have wandered into a hobby shop, drifted in for a
> : curious look at one of these and got hooked on the hobby.. The guy at my local
> : store told me the signs saying STORE CLOSING FINAL SALE effects the whole
> : chain. The website window caption bar at www.thegreattrainstore.com says "Final
> : Text"...says it all...and I for one, will look back fondly someday and remember
> : their steam whistle reverberating in a mall. And how impressed I was at
> : visiting the first one I came across in New Orleans. Although i only purchase
> : one locomotive from them (with a discount coupon), as their selection was
> : limited and pricey I did frequent the store, and purchased books, hats, mugs,
> : and pins from them too. Will we ever see a mall chain of train stores again?
> : Probably not.
> : Great Train Store, you'll be missed. A long toot of the steam whistle to you.
>

> --


rathburne

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
to
Most kids and parents will try a Thomas engine. Maybe some will
stay in the hobby/interest to become those who would then buy a
Canon thin wall.


In article <20000523125328...@ng-ch1.aol.com>,

--
rathburne


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Lindy9113

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
to
From what I have read in various magazines only some of the GATS were closing
so while one area may loose their store there will still be a few stores
around.

Dave
in Kansas

Would be interested in seeing list of remaining stores.

john a dalton

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
to
"Neal" <ne...@msengineering.net> wrote:

>You're right, the chain is closing. I just called the store in the Mall of
>America (in Minneapolis, MN)
>
>Great Train Store The
>Mall Of America MINNEAPOLIS MN 55420 (952) 851-9988
>
>They said everything is on sale 20% off, because they are "liquidating". The
>funny thing is that they always have a sign posted saying that locomotives
>(which are all I'm after from them) are ALWAYS 20% off retail.
>
>Since the whole store is now recently marked down 20%, one might expect the
>locomotives to then be dropped to 40% off. But they are still just 20% off
>retail, and I can beat that elsewhere.
>
>They may be closing but they're not in a rush to do so.
>
>Neal

....they say there is a clause in their lease that forbids them from
discounting below 20%.....so now we have a mall "in restraint of
trade" and losing a major tenant....i guess the mall will get their 3%
of the gross on the "liquidation", as well.....or maybe they just want
the space for another high-buck lingerie shoppe.... :))

...."Coming Soon - Union Pacific Lingerie"....."Bring Out The
Locomotive In Your Man"...."20% Discount Everyday"..... :))

....big guano.... :))

Andy Harman

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
to
On 23 May 2000 15:11:34 GMT, acce...@smart.net (Access Systems)
wrote:

>????? was just in the one in Washington Union Station and the manager
>didn't know anything about closing, no signs that I saw either.

Washington is the main and original GTS, so it may be exempt from the
closings. I think the one in St. Louis Union Station is #2.

Andy
----------------------------------------------------
Please reply to aharman at hhcustom dot com
Visit the RPM Web Page at http://www.rpmrail.org
Or my personal site at http://www.hhcustom.com/nspmg
----------------------------------------------------

JaiJEF

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
to
It is a bummer that the GTS chain or at least some stores are closing, it was
an ok store, got some nice stuff there, the closest one to me is 2 hrs away in
Chattanooga, TN.
I am sad that it is closing but my local hobby stores will probably be around
for a long time, see as they sponsor some PBS children's shows & their little
mention probably brings in a few future customers, plus they have RC,models,
rocketry & trains w/a nice layout.
Also I know of two others near my area--a former Hobbytown USA & a Hobbytown
USA, plus an indie shop.
And just today I discovered that a hardware store near where I live also sells
train items, better selection than some hobby stores, incl. an RS3 Alco Atlas
50th Anniversary.
jai

Marcu...@ncal.kaiperm.org

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
to
In article <20000523125328...@ng-ch1.aol.com>,
owen...@aol.com (OwensRwy) wrote:
> I for one won't lament the closing of the "Great Train Stores," which
were
> anything but great.

I have to disagree with your shortsided thoughts. I, too, never shopped
at these mall stores. As my modeling needs required a true modeler's
type of HO shop.

However, these stores were advertising for our hobby. The
next generation of potential model railroaders will never be able to get
hooked on their first "train set" or their first "railfan video". The
outreach for the hobby provided by a chain of mall stores is a positive
part of the hobby - and it's absence will have a negative impact.

Marc

OwensRwy

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
to
>But that's where "newbies" are generated.
>

I disagree. I think the hobby is better served by newbies going to local hobby
shops, where they're likely to find cheaper prices, hence they'll be able to
afford more models, especially if they're on a tight budget. Newbies will also
find people who are knowledgeable about models at local shops, and can give
them advice and guidance. Try getting that at a Great Train Store. If a clerk
can't tell an Athearn Genesis box from a Walthers box (see Andy Harman's
posting on related thread) then that clerk isn't going to be of much help to a
newbie.

BJKRONEN

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
to
From Marc:

> However, these stores were advertising for our hobby. The
next generation of potential model railroaders will never be able to get
hooked <snip>

> From Travis:

I disagree. I think the hobby is better served by newbies going to local

>hobby shops, <snip>

I disagree with both of you. It doesn't matter where things are purchased.
Not in the long run.

The thing that motivates all ages of folks to get into the hobby is: TIME

Time we need to invest, as experienced hobbiests, with the nubies. Without
personal encouragement, folks are just not going to get "hooked" in this, or
any other hobby. Yes, its easy to say that, and then not get involved.

Did you know the Boy Scouts of America has a merit badge in Railroading? Did
you know that in many parts of this country, its almost impossible to get the
badge, because experienced train folks don't get involved? But I'd bet there
is a troup just around the corner from you. Parents are amazing willing to get
involved with their kids. After all, doesn't model trains and adult
supervision sound better than the "street" and drugs for their kids?

Does your club run off "nubies" because they don't show up with the "correct"
couplers on "just-these-$$-brands" of locos? How about an anything-runs-night,
and let the Tyco's from Toys-R-us fall off the track for a few hours. Or the
Model Powers in N. Be there to help them get them running better. They will
find the money for the "right" couplers and trucks after they are hooked.

Do you have regular, hands-on clinics? Not demonstrations, clinics.

Do you hide behind the Great Wall of Plywood made of NTrak modules at shows, or
do you get out there and get involved. Every get a prospective member INSIDE
the modules?

Our group does Bend Track, so we can't hide from the public. As a result, we
have increased ACTIVE participants by 100% in the last 12 months. And had a
ball doing it. And guess what - the nubies are bringing new talents to the
group, and showing us a thing or two.

Want few folks? Invest TIME. Invest YOURSELF. And have a bunch of fun in the
process.

Bill Kronenberger
Houston


Edward A. Oates

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
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Here, Here!

Like many "kid" hobbies that grown ups become involved in, it is all to
easy for the adults to become perfectionists all the time. I have an 8
year old girl and she is fascinated by my train hobby. So, we built some
circus kits TOGETHER because SHE like them. She has a couple of Disney
trains to run on the layout because SHE thinks they are neat. At my work
table, there a place for her to build trains, buildings, etc. with me. I
use PollyScale because it is much safer than Floquil. Maybe solvent
based paints can do a slightly better job, but I want HER to be able to
use many of the same tools as I do. When I start on a new project
(currently the LaserKit SP station) I make sure that she has picked out
a similar project to work on with me. And I let HER to her own kit. I
offer pointers and tips, but she paints it in the scheme she wants. And
they appear on the layout from time to time (I don't glue my buildings
down for that very reason).

As I plan my new layout (with Don Cardiff - great guy, cool design;
check his stuff out. THere are some sample plans at
http://www.sandiasoftware.com, the Cadrail folks and at
http://www.dctrains.com, Don's web site), I want to make sure that she
can safely run it. She'll learn how to operate Digitrax controllers and
the be able to read the control panel to know which way the switches are
pointed so she can avoid collisions.

In short, get younger "newbies" involved by being involved yourself.
Nothing will scare of new comers than a bunch of old coots (and I'm old
enough to qualify as a coot myself :-) screaming "don't touch it,"
"that's expensive, leave it alone," etc.

The same goes to trains stores. If the store personnel barely tolerate
kids or women (especially the dreaded T E E N A G E R S), then the
future of the hobby is doomed to die out. (and The Train Store in Santa
Clara, CA is sometimes guilty here!).

Ed Oates

--
Edweirdo

(xyzzx...@mindspring.com)

!!! Remove the adventurous magic word from the
!!! reply to address to send me mail. Sigh...

dgross

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
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john a dalton wrote:

...."Something to get up a head of steam in your Big Boy!" .... Proper holders
for your HOOTERS!! .... "Something sheer and filmy for Your Caboose!"

Pardon ... long day ... VRIF closed today .... layoff list not yet out .... It's
all John's fault ... he started it!!!!!!

Dan

Rick Jones

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
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OwensRwy wrote:
>
> >But that's where "newbies" are generated.
> >
>
> I disagree. I think the hobby is better served by newbies going to local hobby
> shops, where they're likely to find cheaper prices, hence they'll be able to
> afford more models, especially if they're on a tight budget. Newbies will also
> find people who are knowledgeable about models at local shops, and can give
> them advice and guidance. Try getting that at a Great Train Store. If a clerk
> can't tell an Athearn Genesis box from a Walthers box (see Andy Harman's
> posting on related thread) then that clerk isn't going to be of much help to a
> newbie.

The problem is that most newbies don't know that dedicated model
train shops exist, and most general purpose hobby shops carry the same
product lines that people are lamenting about GTS. Let's face it - most
people new to the hobby purchase a train set at Sears, Wal-Mart, Price
Club or Toys-R-Us. Unless they know a hobbyist like you or me and they
ask us, that's where they're going to go. Losing GTS won't change that
much.

--
Rick Jones
Remove the Extra Dot to e-mail me

The penalty for cheating is the disgrace of dying rich.

Steve Lynch

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May 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/24/00
to
Marc, My first GTS visit today about 2:00pm. Full of Moms with kids buying
train stuff and the little ones playing with the Brio. Lots of happy faces.
Seems it was a good place for PR. I have to agree with you.

<Marcu...@ncal.kaiperm.org> wrote in message
news:8ggud6$gm0$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...


> In article <20000523125328...@ng-ch1.aol.com>,
> owen...@aol.com (OwensRwy) wrote:
> > I for one won't lament the closing of the "Great Train Stores," which
> were
> > anything but great.
>
> I have to disagree with your shortsided thoughts. I, too, never shopped
> at these mall stores. As my modeling needs required a true modeler's
> type of HO shop.
>

> However, these stores were advertising for our hobby. The
> next generation of potential model railroaders will never be able to get

PEACHCREEK

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to
I am in the model train busines (Peach Creek Shops) and we cater to the
experienced builder/hobbyist/collector. Personally I am sorry to see the
demise of the Great Train Store.

We did not compete with them, and I'd be willing to bet that we never took a
dollar out of their pocket, nor they ours.

What they did was present trains to a segment of the public we really don't
know how to attract. The beginners and the very young.

Do you remember ehen you were a kid and saw a train store for the first time?
You didn't argue about prices or selection. It was all new and wonderful to
you. If your parents bought you an engineer's cap and a box car you were in
estacy.

Now as older modelers you have become more selective and price conscious, and
yes, the Great Train Store's selection was limited and pricey.

But young train fans have to start somewhere and the Great Train store was
great for that.

John Glaab

AlModel RR

unread,
May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to
Will miss the one in Laughlin, Nevada inside the Ramada Inn hotel ... surely
the only train store in in the world in a gambling mecca hotel ... if I won at
the slots could walk across the aisle and spend it!!

Also, didn't understand how they conducted their business. Was at one in
Phoenix area and picked up an Athearn SP 40' flat car kit which I noticed had
no lettering on either side. Brought it to attention of store clerk and he
put it in the back room. Mentioned it to a friend and he wanted to buy it so
went back the next day and store manager said it went in the mall's huge trash
compactor that night!

TOM

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to

now don't blame john ... he's an innocent (?) bystander ... :))

<><><> TOM <><><>
Proud Member Of The Haggis

Glenn Kuntz

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to

PEACHCREEK <peach...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20000524202426...@ng-cf1.aol.com...

> What they did was present trains to a segment of the public we really
don't
> know how to attract. The beginners and the very young.

(No intent to be critical here - just well-intentioned brainstorming...)

Don't you have a layout or 6 in your shop?
That's how the old department stores used to attract them.
Many clubs do more than their share by setting up demo layouts at Holiday
time, holding publicized open houses, setting up modulars at festivals, etc.

At least one shop I know of caters to the *very* young by getting them
started on the "Thomas" and Brio toy lines (gotta start somewhere!)

Do you offer beginners workshops & seminars? Intro. packages? Visit
schools? Invite the scouts, etc. in for a tour?

CROKINOLE CentralT
http://www.frontiernet.net/~crokinol/cc_index.htm


Lindy9113

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to
One of our local stores has an N scale layout (featured in this month's MR). He
was running it the other day and I noticed that it brought people in off the
streets.

Even a small oval that is running with some decent scenery will grab the
attention of the uninitiated!

Dave
in Kansas

rathburne

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to
Well stated. Somehow the "hobby" better get a handle on the
attracting part you mention below. $100 plus limited runs,
junk starter sets etc, don't help. Thomas does.

In article <20000524202426...@ng-cf1.aol.com>,


peach...@aol.com (PEACHCREEK) wrote:
> I am in the model train busines (Peach Creek Shops) and we cater to
the
> experienced builder/hobbyist/collector. Personally I am sorry to see
the
> demise of the Great Train Store.
>
> We did not compete with them, and I'd be willing to bet that we never
took a
> dollar out of their pocket, nor they ours.
>

> What they did was present trains to a segment of the public we really
don't
> know how to attract. The beginners and the very young.
>

> Do you remember ehen you were a kid and saw a train store for the
first time?
> You didn't argue about prices or selection. It was all new and
wonderful to
> you. If your parents bought you an engineer's cap and a box car you
were in
> estacy.
>
> Now as older modelers you have become more selective and price
conscious, and
> yes, the Great Train Store's selection was limited and pricey.
>
> But young train fans have to start somewhere and the Great Train
store was
> great for that.
>
> John Glaab
>

--
rathburne

D Outen

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to

"AlModel RR" <almo...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20000524223248...@ng-co1.aol.com...

>
> Also, didn't understand how they conducted their business. Was at one
in
> Phoenix area and picked up an Athearn SP 40' flat car kit which I
noticed had
> no lettering on either side. Brought it to attention of store clerk
and he
> put it in the back room. Mentioned it to a friend and he wanted to
buy it so
> went back the next day and store manager said it went in the mall's
huge trash
> compactor that night!

While it might be a bit unusual for a smaller retail business, the
dumpster is an important part of the larger retail stores defective
merchandise handling. It's not normally worth it for a vendor to
require the return of lower priced merchandise that a retailer is
requesting credit for. You probably would cry if you've seen some of
the stuff that I've seen go down the chute. And yes, it has to go
down the chute. If a vendor gave you credit for the product with
orders to destroy and you don't, well that's called fraud.

Dave

john a dalton

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to
"D Outen" <AINTd...@newsguy.com> wrote:
>
>While it might be a bit unusual for a smaller retail business, the
>dumpster is an important part of the larger retail stores defective
>merchandise handling. It's not normally worth it for a vendor to
>require the return of lower priced merchandise that a retailer is
>requesting credit for. You probably would cry if you've seen some of
>the stuff that I've seen go down the chute. And yes, it has to go
>down the chute. If a vendor gave you credit for the product with
>orders to destroy and you don't, well that's called fraud.
>
>Dave

....we see it show up in our country auction here on Fri and Sat
nights....usually a store employee will hoist it out of the dumpster
and peddle it wherever he can....the auction format here involves
salvage "as is", as well as new stuff....so the buyer KNOWS what
he/she is buying....sometimes it's a loose cord....sometmes it's a
digital something that works but doesn't light up....sometimes it's a
"shelf-pull" because the box is crumpled and gritty....sometimes it's
stuff without the box....sometimes it's stuff in the wrong
box....there's usually an orange tag on it telling what the problem
is....the stuff sells....a new $49.95 toaster oven for $5, with just a
little dent in it....lots of stuff to take home and sell on
eBay....new $19.95 toys, with no box, for $2, to give as gifts...
:))

.....great fun....big john.... :))


john a dalton

unread,
May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to

Frederic Smedley

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to
Instead of closing they should have changed the name to eHobbies and
had another IPO. :-))


rathburne

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to
Bingo! I am still not sure why some of the bile seen in some
of the posts exists toward this outfit? How did they harm
the hobby of trains? If somebody has some good reason, I would
be interested in hearing it (not as a flame, just rational
discussion).

Why they are going out of business is "great" is beyond me.......


In article <el1X4.50$G3....@newsreader.i-2000.net>,

Bob Rogers

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
to
On page 93 of N-Scale Magazine's May-June edition is a brief column
concerning TGTS closing. Quoting from the column "...The spokesperson
added that the chain would continue operating through its bankruptcy
reorganization, but will likely close 11 of its 56 stores..." No
mention was made as to which stores will close/remain open.

Bob


DHENK

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May 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/26/00
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In article <20000524223248...@ng-co1.aol.com>, almo...@aol.com
(AlModel RR) writes:

>Also, didn't understand how they conducted their business. Was at one in
>Phoenix area and picked up an Athearn SP 40' flat car kit which I noticed had
>no lettering on either side. Brought it to attention of store clerk and he
>put it in the back room. Mentioned it to a friend and he wanted to buy it so
>went back the next day and store manager said it went in the mall's huge
>trash
>compactor that night!

You're right that was stupid! I'd have marked it down and sold it or sent a
request for a replacement. Athearn and most distributors are good about fixing
these kinds of problems. Unfortunately you'll have to invest a couple of
minutes <G>.

Dave Henk
Jacksonville, FL

Bill Sohl

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May 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/26/00
to
On 23 May 2000 16:53:28 GMT, owen...@aol.com (OwensRwy) wrote:

>I for one won't lament the closing of the "Great Train Stores," which were

>anything but great. They were overpriced, usually had nothing in stock but
>Athearn and maybe some Bachmann, and were not aimed at the serious modeler.

Great Train stores never, to my knowledge, proffessed
to cater to the "serious" modeler. My question to you,
however, is just when did you change from not-so-serious
modeler to "serious"? One or too others have stated
the loss is an overall loss to model railroading for the very
reason you mention. The store was one of the ONLY
means that potential new modelers became acquanted
with model railroading.

I almost never failed to buy something in a Great Train
store, if only a magazine when I was on a business
trip. What is left now for the potential new model
railroader is an introduction to what is available based
probably only on the train sets sold in Toys'r us.

It is a sad loss to the overall model RR following.
No one was ever forced to visit or buy anything in
their stores, that some people expected those
stores to measure up to a full service hobby
shop is a clear misunderstanding of the marketing
niche they were after.

> If
>Railroad Hobbies in Roseville closes, that's a reason to lament. That's what I
>consider a local hobby shop. But lament a chain of overpriced, overkitsched,
>and understocked mall shops that seemed to cater more to the "Thomas the Tank
>Engine" folks than the "Where's that Cannon thinwall cab" folks? Not I.

That Thomas the Tank engine todler is the future
serious model railroader.

Cheers,
Bill S.


Bob Chupka

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May 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/26/00
to
List,
I am in total agreement with the sentiment professed here. When my wife
and I return to Wilkes-Barre on vacation, we make it a point to head to the
Steamtown Mall and our children's store of choice is the Great Train Store.
I agree that the full load is hard to take for cheap skates like me, but the
joy of seeing two children at play waiting for the train on the ceiling to
come around again is as the credit card company says "priceless".
There will come a time shortly when all the nit pickers out there that
have to have it yesterday and with no modifications by the modeller will
send this hobby into the realm of the unaffordable for most of the common
man.

Chupka
Bill Sohl wrote in message <392e8019...@news.interactive.net>...

Steve Lynch

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May 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/27/00
to
Called the store. No returns, no more in stock, call the company. Called the
company, return it to the store. We went to the store. No, can't take it
back.

Indicated, I will keep the tape, good video, no audio and dispute the credit
card charges. Ok, take another in exchange.

Do try the tape in their VCR in the store. Horrific looks. Tape works. All
is well.

Stuart B.

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May 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/27/00
to
"rathburne" <rath...@my-deja.com> wrote in message
news:8gk1lp$pv9$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...

> Bingo! I am still not sure why some of the bile seen in some
> of the posts exists toward this outfit? How did they harm
> the hobby of trains? If somebody has some good reason, I would
> be interested in hearing it (not as a flame, just rational
> discussion).

Well, i think that one of the big reasons they are going out business is
the fact that the product they did sell, was WAY over priced. I don't know
about you, but there are three hobby shops in Victoria, BC and the one with
the best deals get my business, and its not always the same shop. Something
to take note of, once when in San Deigo, I asked the rep if they had any
Peco turnout and the guy looked at me as if I was drugs. I come one, if
your going to work in the hobby at least KNOW a little about what your
selling.

> Why they are going out of business is "great" is beyond me.......

I think that about wraps it up. I think that it sad to see a model
train shop go the way of the dodo. Personally I think that they probibly
made a few mistakes that could have been corrected. But then again I am
Canadian, I guess we do things differently up here eh?


- Stuart B.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------

The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23b)

Bill Sohl

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May 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/27/00
to
On Sat, 27 May 2000 06:29:42 GMT, "Stuart B." <spl...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>"rathburne" <rath...@my-deja.com> wrote in message
>news:8gk1lp$pv9$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...
>> Bingo! I am still not sure why some of the bile seen in some
>> of the posts exists toward this outfit? How did they harm
>> the hobby of trains? If somebody has some good reason, I would
>> be interested in hearing it (not as a flame, just rational
>> discussion).
>
> Well, i think that one of the big reasons they are going out business is
>the fact that the product they did sell, was WAY over priced. I don't know
>about you, but there are three hobby shops in Victoria, BC and the one with
>the best deals get my business, and its not always the same shop. Something
>to take note of, once when in San Deigo, I asked the rep if they had any
>Peco turnout and the guy looked at me as if I was drugs. I come one, if
>your going to work in the hobby at least KNOW a little about what your
>selling.

Stuart,
Your comments above indicate you still don't understand
that the marketing effort of these stores was NOT the
serious modeler who already knows all that stuff and
is willing to shop around, etc. The stores marketing was
towards new and not so serious modelers. Hopefully,
some of those new and not so serious modelers did
become serious model RRers.

I can make the same statements above that you made about
auto parts sales at KMart vs a full service auto parts store.
The loss to model RRing is that many people will not
get the opportunity to see something more than the
train set sales at Christmas in the major toy stores.

Cheers,
Bill S.


Matt Conrad

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May 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/27/00
to
Bob Rogers <broge...@earthlink.net> wrote:

That is old news. I'm going to report some info here which I acquired as
an employee, but which can be easily discovered through some judicious
digging.

Eight of the eleven stores did close, and the company's numbers got
better. However, the company's primary lender is well-known for lending
money to struggling retail companies, then cutting them off and using
its wholly-owned liquidator subsidiary to sell off the assets. Our
numbers got better after the Chapter 11 reorganization and store
closings, so the lender cut us off. They will make a fortune liquidating
the company. They're being fairly good to us employees, but I still have
a very big problem with what they did.

Being an employee I admit I'm somewhat biased. However, I do recognize
that TGTS was not a very good place to go to buy model trains. It WAS,
however, a VERY good place to go to buy TOY trains for very young
children. Our store was, and will continue to be for a few more weeks, a
meeting place for parents. I don't know if our store is typical of all
TGTS locations, but we had a VERY large base of regular customers, most
of them parents with small children. Many of these customers come in the
store at least weekly. I have watched as parents taught their children
to play nicely with other kids they didn't know, regardless of ethnicity
or geneder. I've offered the aid of my mythical child prybar to more
parents than I can count.

No, TGTS was not a place for "serious" modellers. But the hobby HAS lost
something very valuable -- a breeding ground for young railfans and
future model railroaders. I can find another job, and I can go back to
mail-ordering stuff (which works out to about the same price I got stuff
through the store using my now-defunct employee discount). But there
will no longer be that gathering place where children can be introduced
to the wonders of trains.

--
(C)2000 Matt Conrad. All rights reserved.
Personal web site: http://web.infoave.net/~jmconrad.
Also see my other sites at http://www.scrm.org,
http://www.trainweb.org/parktrains, and http://www.trainweb.org/capt.

Matt Conrad

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May 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/27/00
to
DHENK <dh...@aol.com> wrote:

> You're right that was stupid! I'd have marked it down and sold it or sent a
> request for a replacement. Athearn and most distributors are good about fixing
> these kinds of problems. Unfortunately you'll have to invest a couple of
> minutes <G>.

It would have cost more to do all that shipping than the car was worth.
Athearn cars cost about $6 full retail. That's about $3 wholesale.
Figure up the postage on a standard Athearn box -- both ways -- an
you'll see why it got trashed.

Marking it down as defective would have made sense for a small,
independant shop. However, in a large company like TGTS, giving such
power to store managers is just asking for abuse. "Gee, I'd like to have
this LGB C-16 -- I think I'll tell the company it's "defective" and mark
it way down so I can buy it with my employee discount." I know all about
that -- I tried it with a Spectrum 2-8-0 when I first hired on with the
company. :o)

Stuart B.

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May 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/28/00
to
> Your comments above indicate you still don't understand
> that the marketing effort of these stores was NOT the
> serious modeler who already knows all that stuff and
> is willing to shop around, etc. The stores marketing was
> towards new and not so serious modelers. Hopefully,
> some of those new and not so serious modelers did
> become serious model RRers.

Yes, I realize that the store was desinged for beginners in the hobby.
And like I said they will be missed. But they still jacked up thier prices
above even some of the most expensive main-line stores. If you in business
for the beginners, should you not help them into the hobby by offering
better deals, rather than pushing them out of the hobby by inflated prices?
And as for the PECO turnouts, well, I guess Toys 'R Us dosn't sell them
either. =)

> I can make the same statements above that you made about
> auto parts sales at KMart vs a full service auto parts store.
> The loss to model RRing is that many people will not
> get the opportunity to see something more than the
> train set sales at Christmas in the major toy stores.

Sorry K-Mart Canada was bought out by the Bay (Zellers) two or three
years ago now. =) If your luky, you have atleast one mall owned by a model
railroader in your town. CanWest mall in Victoria, BC is such a place. I'm
not to sure what scale he does, but Christmas time is wonderful, Nice
G-Scale line around Santa's picture booth.


--
- Stuart B.

Bill Hoshiko

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May 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/28/00
to

Bill Sohl wrote:
>
> On 23 May 2000 16:53:28 GMT, owen...@aol.com (OwensRwy) wrote:
>
> >I for one won't lament the closing of the "Great Train Stores," which were
> >anything but great. They were overpriced, usually had nothing in stock but
> >Athearn and maybe some Bachmann, and were not aimed at the serious modeler.
>
> Great Train stores never, to my knowledge, proffessed
> to cater to the "serious" modeler.


At a hobby ship in Northridge a long time ago, the owner often stated
that it was the "beginner" model railroader that paid for the store.
The beginner needed "everything" to start running his trains and spent
several hundreds of dollars for the first few weeks in order to get his
trains running.

Once the "beginner" became somewhat knowledgeable and met the "serious'
modelers who preached discrimination between toy trains and "scale"
trains the buying binge slowed down and he spent less and less money.

When the modeler finally reached the stage where he was modeling The
Western Pacific in Stockton, CA on September 9, 1955, his model RR visit
at the hobby store became an informative and enjoyable visit with an old
friend but not necessarily a money maker for the shop.


> My question to you,
> however, is just when did you change from not-so-serious
> modeler to "serious"?


There are many "serious" modelers who are so serious about their
modeling preference that they exclude all reference to any other
modeling. If it's HO, they want nothing to do with any other scale. If
it's Nn3, they want no communication with the HOn3 folks or the Nn2.5
people.

These "serious" modelers miss many hobby tricks that could make their
modeling efforts easier and far more realistic. There is a lot to learn
from the model car builders and the military diorama builders. I model
in Z scale and can find ideas in O scale articles.

The internet is allowing me to get hints from the fastidious modelers in
the UK and the imaginative modelers in the land of OZ. Europe and Japan
also contribute to the mix. They all have a different view of how to
model railroads.


> One or too others have stated
> the loss is an overall loss to model railroading for the very
> reason you mention. The store was one of the ONLY
> means that potential new modelers became acquanted
> with model railroading.
>

> <snip>

The Store in the Mall had a very high overhead and had to stick to items
that had mass appeal. A Mall store cannot have merchandise that my sit
on the shelf for two or three years waiting for that one modeler in this
area to purchase it. The 3% gross override required as part of the
lease agreement meant that there was no discount available.

The Store in the Mall or in a high traffic tourist area brought in the
visiting grand parents who bought something cute for their grand kids.
These granddads were not going to be immediate customers for the
"serious" train store but may be a future customer for a store that
hasn't even opened yet.

If my local hobby shop had to depend on me to keep its doors open I
would have any hobby shop to go to.


> It is a sad loss to the overall model RR following.
> No one was ever forced to visit or buy anything in
> their stores, that some people expected those
> stores to measure up to a full service hobby
> shop is a clear misunderstanding of the marketing
> niche they were after.
>

<snip>

> > > That Thomas the Tank engine todler is the future
> serious model railroader.
>
> Cheers,
> Bill S.

It's the beginners who allow the big manufactures to stay in business
and supply customers for the super scale suppliers.

The Great Train Stores were great advertisements for the model railroad
industry and we will all be losers if they close.

One more thing. Which one of you will say that Big John, with his brass
rails, ebay trains, Wally Mart construction supplies and his country
attitude, is not a serious model railroader.

Now, off to Wally Mart for more "for sale" signs. In Z scale you can
build big buildings. Trains are not the only thing that do not take up
space.

Bill
El Toro

john a dalton

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May 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/28/00
to
TCol <am...@acpub.duke.edu> wrote:

>On Sat, 27 May 2000 22:45:19 -0400, jmco...@InfoAve.Net (Matt Conrad)
>wrote:
>
>[big snip]


>
>>No, TGTS was not a place for "serious" modellers. But the hobby HAS lost
>>something very valuable -- a breeding ground for young railfans and
>>future model railroaders. I can find another job, and I can go back to
>>mail-ordering stuff (which works out to about the same price I got stuff
>>through the store using my now-defunct employee discount). But there
>>will no longer be that gathering place where children can be introduced
>>to the wonders of trains.
>
>

>Excellently stated showing an insight many of the serious modeling
>posters here fail to comprehend.
>
>
>Ray Hobin

.....i figured out last week that some folks just don't like
children....i can't for the life of me understand their attitude, but
that's their privilege, of course....but their attitude scares me,
nonetheless....i love kids myself, even tho i'm at an age where small
children are SUPPOSED to "bother" me....the joys of seeing a child
discover new things far outweighs any discomfort from the noise of
kids playing.... :))

....i will NOT tolerate BRATS, though....even somebody else's
kids...."make'em mind" was my mother's philopsophy....i learned it
well....nothing physical, just a "word to the wise".....and you know
something funny ?.....i've had parents ask me how i managed to make
their kids quit "acting up"....i say to them, "well, FIRST YOU HAVE TO
SPEAK TO THEM SO'S THEY UNDERSTAND IT THE FIRST TIME....NO
REPEATING"... :))

....works on parent, too..... :))

....big john..... :))

Jon Miller

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May 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/28/00
to
>>There are many "serious" modelers who are so serious about their
modeling preference that they exclude all reference to any other
modeling. If it's HO, they want nothing to do with any other scale. If
it's Nn3, they want no communication with the HOn3 folks or the Nn2.5
people.<<

I don't think the serious modeler excludes people that work in other
scales or even excludes the enjoyment of looking at what those persons have
accomplished. I also think that the serious modeler learns from everyone in
any scale or timeframe.
What the serious modeler does do is not spend a penny on items outside
their area of interest. So the communication is there but the shop is not
going to get any income unless they have what the "serious" modeler wants.
As an example, discussions on the "PM" list that are about a certain
diesel I will probably delete, but discussions on how to weather that
certain diesel I will read because the ideas can be applied to other things
that I model!


Frank A. Rosenbaum

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May 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/28/00
to
I knew that I liked you, John. NOW I know why. I have gotten many comments
(favorable) about both of my children. I treat them with respect, and it
comes out in the way they treat others.
I, like you, have corrected other's children, and don't take much guff from
the parents. Especially at train shows. Both the ones that I ran, and the
ones that I go to.

--
From Frank Rosenbaum
New Email:farose...@earthlink.net
Please remove the railroad to reply. Thanks.

john a dalton <jape...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:393141a7...@news.mindspring.com...

Bill Hoshiko

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May 29, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/29/00
to


Yes Jon, you are a serious modeler but not a "serious" modeler.

There seems to be a distinction. I really try not to fit in either. It
takes much too much effort.

Having fun is a goal. To provide something enjoyable for all those who
are willing to participate is also a goal. To please those who pick and
choose is only a side effect.

Most of the regulars on this NG are not pick and choosers but they are
discriminating.

Here in the metropolitan Los Angeles area we are fortunate to have
several serious model train shops. I think that most of them have been
around for a long time. I guess that their store fixtures have been
paid for and the debt they have is only on their recent purchases. Most
of their inventory is paid for and they do not have to worry much about
covering that interest on their debt.

The hobby shops that financed most of their fixtures and inventory have
gone out of business during the last ten years. Even some of the shops
that were here for over 30 years have closed. The owners got too old to
keep the shops open and there were no buyers.

If a shop owner had to finance his inventory for the "serious" modeler
he may not survive Ecommerce or mail order. An inventory loan at 2%
over prime gets very expensive and soon eats up any profit on slow
moving items. Decals, for instance, can stagnate a large amount of
investment. In Southern California, how many customers each year will
come in for a SOO Line decal or an Illinois Central or a Conrail for
that matter?

In 1970 a train shop owner was surprised to discover that he had
$10,000.00 invested in drills, hobby files, small nuts and bolts.
Things that fit in a 3x5' cabinet of small drawers. (a new home in
Southern California, at that time, could be bought for $65,000.00)

Only a very wealthy man who keeps his model railroad shop as a hobby and
not a business can survive on the "serious" modelers.

How many $1,500.00 brass locomotives have you bought from your local
dealer this year? <8o((

Sorry to get so "serious" but I spent my life as a bean counter.

Bill
El Toro

Matt Conrad

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May 29, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/29/00