makes a Model Train Retailer ?
By Hollie Bethany
looking ahead to this month's focus, I thought of my personal involvement
with model trains. Walking into
the Roundhouse Train and Hobby store with credit card out, I thought,
"What am I buying this year? You know your father is going to be
here any minute for lunch," an employee told me. I was sure he wasn't, so I began to browse
the store—when who should come driving up. The employees grabbed the miniature houses we had picked out, shoving
my son Hunter and I into the back office, where they rang up the sale and
helped sneak us out the back door.
Marty Cozad II "Seasons Of
This is what model train stores are about: family, tradition and the
old corner store. The most important investment a model train
retailer can make is the long-term relationship he establishes with
each of his customers. A trip to the local train store is more than
just a shopping excursion for the die-hard train-buff; it’s a
getaway. Most of the smaller shops set up group meetings one night a
week, when customers like my Dad can share sandwiches and train talk
with others who speak their language.
Marty Cozad II "Seasons Of
Retailers should know their regulars’ current set-up and wish
list, and be ready with a few suggestions to help transform the
customer’s train room into the one he sees in his imagination.
Every Father’s Day, birthday and Christmas, the Roundhouse can
expect to get a call from me or another family member, frantic to
know what special item they’ve set aside for Dad. On one occasion
it was a particular antique engine Dad had his heart set on. The
Roundhouse crew knew his birthday was coming up, and decided to up
the surprise factor with a playful fib, telling my father they’d
sold the engine to someone else. Of course, they clued my mother in
on the game, and we were all able to watch Dad’s disappointment
turned to joy when on his birthday-there it was.
Mary & Ken Karels Doble K ranch and Garden Railway Bed and Breakfast Tucson Arizona
Researching new products is essential. More companies are entering
the accessory market, although most are European. The scales are
close enough not to cause a conflict in the layout; the main concern
being correct voltage adaptation.
If you visit the New York Toy Fair, you will probably be
disappointed. It’s not a show for model trains. I urge retailers
interested in new products to attend the Nuremberg Toy Fair. The
hall dedicated to trains is incredible. Every train manufacturer has
large, well-detailed set-ups that will open your eyes to
possibilities you’d never imagined. Although photography is
officially prohibited around the displays, most manufactures are
willing to overlook this rule if asked politely.
Model train retailers are the last of a dying breed: those that
still do business with a handshake and a smile. Being on a
first-name business with your customers not only keeps them coming
back, but their whole family as well.
ABOUT THE SCALES!
Z scale: Trains built to a
ratio of 1:220. A 75-foot-long locomotive measures 4 inches long.
The rails of the track are 6.5 mm apart.
N scale: Trains built to a ratio of 1:160. A 75-foot-long locomotive
is 5 1/2 inches long. The rails of the track are spaced 9 mm apart.
HO scale: Trains built to a ratio of 1:87. A 75-foot-long locomotive
is 10 1/2 inches long. The rails of the track are 16.5 mm apart.
Most popular for beginners.
O scale: Trains built to a ratio of 1:48. A 75-foot-long locomotive
is 18 3/4 inches long. The rails of O gauge track are 1 1/4 inches
apart. Most popular for the well addicted.
G scale: These trains are built to a ratio of 1:22.5. A 75-foot-long
locomotive is 40 inches long. G and other large scale trains run on
gauge 1 track with rails 45 mm apart.
to see a showcase of Toy Products? Click