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Hobby Store Franchises?

Old 03-13-2008, 10:46 PM
  #126  
Mike Freas
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Originally Posted by Lieutenant Loughead View Post
That's a GREAT idea. I will ask.

Then again, I don't see why I couldn't just frame something up inside the garage door...

On the other hand, ALL the OTHER (ugly) garage doors (other tennants) will still be there... :o

The cool thing is that people would be able to tell if I'm open, by simply driving by. They don't even have to stop.
Take my advise with a grain of salt as I’m not independently wealthy or a financial advisor.

I don’t recommend going into debt to open a business. If you’re thinking about taking a work at home job then why not set aside a portion of your garage as your warehouse and start small while you work a “real” job until you get on your feet. Fact is it’s going to be slow in the beginning until folks know about your business and are willing to try a new vendor out. There are countless RC stores out there both brick and motar and internet only. I’m sure if I wanted to do this and needed help my wife would be willing to run internet orders and pack stuff for me. Do you have family willing to help?
<O:p
I’d love to see a fellow WF succeed at his dream but I don’t want him to risk a big chunk of savings to do it.
<O:p
Again, just my opinion.
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:12 PM
  #127  
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Mike -- the whole idea of the "$650 per month office with a warehouse" is that there is NO money out of my pocket.

The company I may end up working for is in Colorado. I'm in Oklahoma, and will telecommute. I will ask the company to pay $650 per month for my office -- if they agree, I have a free warehouse to work out of (both for the company, and for my little hobby shop "on the side").

If I go with the RC Hobbies franchise, I will need $150,000 in startup capital, plus a little extra to pay for rent, utilities, and payroll (yes, I just discovered I will have 4 employees on opening day!!!). The good news is that my father offered to GIFT me some startup capital, and asked his sister to match it, dollar for dollar. My mother has also offered to GIFT me some startup capital.

I'm sure I will have to borrow a little, but my inventory ($80,000) will be worth more than I borrow....

Hey -- if I open the franchise, who wants to come work for me?
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:24 PM
  #128  
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Guy,

If it was feasible, I'd be there in a New York Minute....
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:40 AM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by Lieutenant Loughead View Post

Hey -- if I open the franchise, who wants to come work for me?
Hmmm.... I wonder if HobbyCity is looking for US franchisers...
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:51 AM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post
Hmmm.... I wonder if HobbyCity is looking for US franchisers...
Actually, HobbyCity is opening a warehouse in the USA. It may already be open.

If you look at their web site, many products are available to ship from their US warehouse using $4.95 Priority Mail.
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:59 AM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by Lieutenant Loughead View Post
Actually, HobbyCity is opening a warehouse in the USA. It may already be open.

If you look at their web site, many products are available to ship from their US warehouse using $4.95 Priority Mail.
I saw that, I was thinking, you have a chance at a warehouse....

Maybe they would set you up with a website, and internet sales.

They are certainly growing.
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:12 AM
  #132  
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I actually contacted them a few months ago, asking for wholesale pricing. They never responded. :o
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:15 AM
  #133  
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time to talk to them again?
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:38 AM
  #134  
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Originally Posted by Lieutenant Loughead View Post
Okay, here's another option I've been thinking about for the last several weeks...

Let's say I worked for a company outside of my home state. Let's say that I paid $650 per month for an office, with an attached (small) warehouse.

Let's say I spent my workdays (M-F, 8AM to 5PM) at this location... Let's say there's a sign outside, which says, "RC Warehouse" and "Discount To The Public".

Inside, I have my desk, and a computer (where I do my actual work), but the office is set up like a mini-hobby store, with ONE of everything on the "showroom floor". If you see something you like, I have more of everything in the warehouse.

Would you shop there?
Considering I always take the disappointing trip to HTU and Tom's just to find that they don't have what I want, what you are proposing would hardly be an inconvenience. Sounds like a great idea even if you were only open during limited hours it would still be better than waiting a week or better to get it through the mail.
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:55 AM
  #135  
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James -- what products would you like me to carry, that you can not find elsewhere in town?
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:16 AM
  #136  
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There is a shop near my wifes folks in E. Tennessee that we looked up last time we were home. Neat little LHS that was very well stocked. We had a real hard time finding it because it is actually in the guys backyard.

Yup, He built a garage behind his house and turned it into a shop. You have to drive through his driveway to the back of the house to get to it. Once you know where it is it's great!

I had forgotten about this shop til I read your stuff today. Just a bit of encouragement that yes indeed a shop like that can work. limited hours, low overhead, out of the way and all.

I got the distinct feeling he catered to all the flyers at the club field that is 5 or 6 miles from his home.
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:33 AM
  #137  
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The most recent item that I wanted that floored me that neither shop had was a simple 3mm prop adapter. James was not at HTU and the kid working kept asking me exactly what motor I was using it on. I told him a Himax 2025 in a Himax gearbox, he told me they didn't have anything that would fit that motor . I tried to explain again that it did not matter what motor I was going to use it on...it could be for a GWS gearbox I just needed a 3mm prop adapter. I finally ended up just smiling and saying ok. All Tom had was the cheap little aluminum jobs that seem to wear out way too fast. Maybe I'm just changing my props too often, I don't know but I can't make one last very long at all. Something like this is what I wanted.

Depron...enough said .

I also think I have bought both stores out of the hardware I like to use. Tom never did have more than a couple of packages on the rack and I have slowly bought HTU out. I keep thinking next time I go in they will have more but this last time I went shopping I couldn't even come up with enough between the 2 to finish 1 plane. I ended up just breaking down and ordering enough to last me awhile from Tower. I like to use .047 wire with EZ links, Mini EZ Connectors, and some Micro control horns.

Some cheap motors, esc's, and lipo's would be nice to pick up locally. You know Tower Pro, Hextronic, Loong Max, or what ever brand you could get your hands on. It seems all both shops like to carry are the name brand high dollar items. I would gladly pay a few dollars more to buy these items locally.

There's more but these are fresh on my mind right now.
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Old 03-14-2008, 04:26 AM
  #138  
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Originally Posted by Murocflyer View Post
I'm selling the house and moving to GA.

Frank
what part? i would love to crash with you!!
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Old 03-14-2008, 04:29 AM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by smokejohnson View Post
Some cheap motors, esc's, and lipo's would be nice to pick up locally. You know Tower Pro, Hextronic, Loong Max, or what ever brand you could get your hands on. It seems all both shops like to carry are the name brand high dollar items. I would gladly pay a few dollars more to buy these items locally.

There's more but these are fresh on my mind right now.
I'll second this.

Maybe do some "build clinics" featureing some cheap foamies. Something to get people in the door, and buying the stuff you stock.
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:00 AM
  #140  
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If you are going to insist upon doing this, I'll go along Freds tangent here.

Location, make it accessable with ease by anybody on a local level, make it by a field large enough to fly small park flyers, or even more if you get lucky. Inside, cater to the builder as well as the rtf scene, this means put aside some space for work stations to have these guys build in house, letting them snag gear as they need it off the shelf, since they are already there. Yes, this means being open in the evenings gentlemen. Expand upon that one and just set up subleased dedicated spaces for us die hard builders, or those new to that that would like the standard store employee's expertice.

Hire only people that know their stuff, pay them more if you have to, but don't hire idiots that are only into it for the paycheck, you lose more sales and capitol that way then you can imagines.

Marketing incentive for regulars. given a card, keep track of their expenses, give them frequent discounts and incentives to come back, ie. 10.00 off of any 20.00 purchase they earn after spending x amount of dollars. Same with end of year discounts in the percentage basis. Keep them interested because they know they are going to be listened to and you will stock what they want, not just what you make the most profit from.

You see where I'm going here, a great big part of it is customer service and adjusting your business plan to accomodate your clients.

Stage two, create a club based from your shop, sponored tshirts and apparel with the company logo plastered all over it and make sure you are directly involved with all of the local competitions, at least the large ones, again, making sure your company info is clearly shown so people know who they represent.

Promo's, any vendor that has a new product that you can chisle a significant discount for their R and D and pre-release, hound them on allowing your clients the chance to get in from the beginning, this gives your clients even further loyalty.

Christmas time, send your best clients a gift and a card thanking them for their patronige. You see where I'm going with this one. This should be the outline to your business plan, well, outside of the regular stuff that needs to be in place to physically function. You have an edge at that point and customer loyalty being the bottom line, they will feel less like clients and more like family, and that absolutely cannot be beat.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:00 AM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by Lieutenant Loughead View Post
LOL -- the location I've chosen shares a parking lot with Pei Wei Asian Diner, Bonefish Grill, and Red Robin hamburgers. My thought is that people will be at lunch/dinner, and see the store... If I can get them in store, I can sell them ice in the wintertime.

Was just at Bonefish the other day for lunch. Sure wish I could have picked up something new to play with at the same time

Hope you get to do this Guy as Tulsa has no decent Hobby Shop. Hobby Town is about it and I get mad every time I go in that place...
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:26 AM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by smokejohnson View Post

Depron...enough said .
Agreed

Originally Posted by smokejohnson View Post

Some cheap motors, esc's, and lipo's would be nice to pick up locally. You know Tower Pro, Hextronic, Loong Max, or what ever brand you could get your hands on. It seems all both shops like to carry are the name brand high dollar items. I would gladly pay a few dollars more to buy these items locally.

Agreed.

I also liked the previous comment about building supplies. Of course my thoughts are mostly geared toward what I've picked up from here but having a source of real information and the building supplies to back it up would be great.

Let's look at the stuff I have had to order just to get back into this:

Plane - GWS, MountainModels, etc type. Yes, ARF/RTF is a must but once you get past that stage, it's time to build.

Radio Equipment - Receivers and cost effective receivers. I've bought three Hitec Micro 05S in the last three months. Servos. Got both Hitec 55s and TP stuff. I can't tell the difference...

Building Supplies - Fiberglass cloth, microballoon stuff. Of course this does not address the countless trips to HTU for screws, connectors, etc.

ESC - Both cheap and CC

Motors - Gotten both TP and Eflite. Would like the option for both.

Battery pack - I like the idea of the Loong Max stuff. Markup could be good yet still cheap enough to draw people to save some $$ on packs

Parts - Good luck finding a good supply of wheels and landing gear...

Some decent 14g wire to build with.

I'm sure I'm missing quite a bit as the wife says I'm having an affair with the UPS/FedEx/USPS person cause they come so often....
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:26 AM
  #143  
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Originally Posted by spitfire View Post
what part? i would love to crash with you!!
He was 3/4's kidding, but I am guessing somewhere close to Andersonville...
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:48 PM
  #144  
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Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post
time to talk to them again?
Done. I asked them for wholesale pricing, and also asked if they would be interested in opening another HobbyCity warehouse in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA area.

Originally Posted by firemanbill View Post
Yup, He built a garage behind his house and turned it into a shop. You have to drive through his driveway to the back of the house to get to it. Once you know where it is it's great!
LOL -- my homeowner's association doesn't even like my "illegal" shed in my back yard. I KNOW they wouldn't like a freestanding garage... :o

Originally Posted by firemanbill View Post
I had forgotten about this shop til I read your stuff today.
LOL -- okay, so it's forgettable. No, I understand what you're saying -- I just had to get in that little jab.

Originally Posted by smokejohnson View Post
I finally ended up just smiling and saying ok.
Yeah, that's one thing I've ALWAYS hated about HobbyTown USA. Speaking with the HTUSA franchise VP, they are not seeing good sales in RC, and so they are actually scaling back!!! I wonder if they realize it's because they don't know how to sell RC stuff?

So, your shopping list includes:
  • 3.0mm prop adapters (I agree -- I can never find prop adapters in town, and plan to have a minimum of TWO of each size of prop adapter in my store.)
  • Depron (I already stock this -- I hope you already knew that!)
  • Hardware (.047 wire, EZ links, EZ connectors, micro control horns -- Again, I agree; I can never find all the little stuff. I already planned to stock these things. If you give me a more comprehensive list, I will be sure to stock it with my very first order!)
  • Inexpensive motors, ESC's, LiPos (LOL -- you're reading my mind! I already stock the Loong Max LiPos -- I hope you already knew that! My plan is to stock some of the other inexpensive motors and speed controls -- but there are so many different motors, you may still not find exactly what you're looking for at my store.)
The Loong Max LiPos are all out of stock right now. When they get their BIG SHIPMENT in, in "Mid March", I plan to order two or three of the popular sizes. Again, let me know what you want, and I'll add it to the list.

Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post
Maybe do some "build clinics" featureing some cheap foamies. Something to get people in the door, and buying the stuff you stock.
All right -- time to come clean... Remember the ideas I was holding back from everyone? One of my ideas is this -- weekly build clinics. I will have several different "tiers" of difficulty / experience levels. The easiest one goes like this:
    I'm telling you guys -- I really think I have a good sense of what people want right now. Then again, I have been known to be wrong before... :o

    Originally Posted by toy4x4 View Post
    Plane - GWS, MountainModels, etc type. Yes, ARF/RTF is a must but once you get past that stage, it's time to build.
    I had not thought of Mountain Models (I'm not a huge fan of balsa) -- thank you for that. GWS is my foamie of choice, and I do plan to stock all the GWS airplanes -- no other store in Tulsa stocks more than two GWS airplanes.

    Originally Posted by toy4x4 View Post
    Radio Equipment - Receivers and cost effective receivers. I've bought three Hitec Micro 05S in the last three months. Servos. Got both Hitec 55s and TP stuff. I can't tell the difference...
    I'm right with you on that deal.

    Originally Posted by toy4x4 View Post
    Building Supplies - Fiberglass cloth, microballoon stuff. Of course this does not address the countless trips to HTU for screws, connectors, etc.
    LOL -- same deal. Here's the thing, I'm in the same boat with you guys. I can't find any of this stuff in town either. THAT's why I see the need for this store -- if nothing else, so I have access to the stuff I need in town -- to heck with everyone else! (Just kidding!)

    Originally Posted by toy4x4 View Post
    ESC - Both cheap and CC
    I agree -- I've always been a big fan of Castle Creations stuff. However, every store in town carries Castle Creations, so I'm not sure how much of it I would sell. The inexpensive ESCs must be in stock for the "build clinics" anyway, so they'll be in stock.

    Originally Posted by toy4x4 View Post
    Motors - Gotten both TP and Eflite. Would like the option for both.
    Again -- Eflite motors are available all over town. In my opinion, they are overpriced -- but I suppose I could stock them... Nobody in Tulsa carries inrunner brushless motors -- I'd like to carry the Himax 2025 (as it is my favorite motor to date)...

    Originally Posted by toy4x4 View Post
    Battery pack - I like the idea of the Loong Max stuff. Markup could be good yet still cheap enough to draw people to save some $$ on packs
    I agree -- I already stock the Loong Max LiPos -- but you already know that, don't you?

    You know, the inexpensive stuff we keep agreeing on seems to support the idea of a "RC Warehouse"...

    Originally Posted by toy4x4 View Post
    Parts - Good luck finding a good supply of wheels and landing gear...
    The trouble with that is the choices are very limited (and not very good), if you're talking about retracts for foamies... What landing gear are you talking about?

    Originally Posted by toy4x4 View Post
    Some decent 14g wire to build with.
    Oh yeah -- no problem there.

    Sorry for the long post guys -- I just wanted everyone from Tulsa to know I'm on the same page. I also wanted the guys outside of Tulsa to realize the true need for a REAL hobby store in Tulsa.
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    Old 03-14-2008, 03:09 PM
      #145  
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    Originally Posted by Lieutenant Loughead View Post
    I also wanted the guys outside of Tulsa to realize the true need for a REAL hobby store in Tulsa.
    Its not only needed in Tulsa, but sounds like a few other states too LL. I know my immediate area is really lacking in a good airplane RC store.

    Also like the idea of a warehouse with a store front. May I suggest tho, if putting all the stock items in glass, you include a weight in its description?
    - But I dont know if Unitedhobbies would allow you to operate 'their' warehouse in such a manner. its my understanding that even their HK warehouse does not accept walk up business.

    The idea of combining online sales with a real store front sounds like the best kick off to it. Hopefully, 1 would support the other or supplement the other well enough for you to not "get shot down".
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    Old 03-14-2008, 03:52 PM
      #146  
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    MMs has a few all foam, a few foam/balsa and then just balsa. I was just throwing out MountainModels as another choice to GWS for a quality kit. No idea what the franchise rule is for "slogans" but maybe you can have "RC Hobbies - You place for quality foam flying..." Yes, I am not in marketing...

    Where I was headed with the ESC/CC comment is in my opinion you need to have a one stop hobby shop. Now if you want to carry just the "cost effective" stuff feel free. But regardless of what else here in town carries, I'm not wanting to go there already..


    Eflite was just a brand I picked out of thin air. Guess I was trying to say along with the ESC comment that I want to buy name brand high quality stuff. No, I have no idea what is high quality. That is why I will come to your store .. Maybe AXI or something else.


    I like the builds. I'm ready to build/finish some harder stuff that I don't have the skill to fly already....

    Last edited by toy4x4; 03-14-2008 at 05:50 PM.
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    Old 03-14-2008, 04:43 PM
      #147  
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    Well not so much that it's forgettable but it was one visit to a shop 500 miles from my home while on Christmas vacation.

    Just offering up some info. Jab away... at other folks, I'm done.
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    Old 03-14-2008, 04:44 PM
      #148  
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    Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post
    He was 3/4's kidding, but I am guessing somewhere close to Andersonville...
    he was KIDing? sure? (beats monkey because of what he said!)
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    Old 03-14-2008, 06:25 PM
      #149  
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    Originally Posted by firemanbill View Post
    Well not so much that it's forgettable but it was one visit to a shop 500 miles from my home while on Christmas vacation.

    Just offering up some info. Jab away... at other folks, I'm done.
    Errr -- I was JOKING, Bill... :o
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    Old 03-14-2008, 08:56 PM
      #150  
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    Guy, I was wondering are there any places in your area that have a Flea Market on the weekends? Even an indoor one? Those are good cheap ways to get your name out there before your shop opens. Then as the shop gets closer to opening, you can pass the word to your Flea Market customers whats happening.
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