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Is theft a recurring problem in your store? What precautions do you take to prevent it?

In December, we asked hobby retailers if theft is a recurring problem and what precautions they take to prevent it. To read more, check out the February 2013 issue of Model Retailer.
Published: January 14, 2013
Michael Magee, Hub City Hobby, Hattiesburg, Miss., said:
“In the 10 years we've been open our shrinkage from theft has been very minor, and probably two- thirds of that has been in a single category - R/C car parts and accessories. We've arranged our counters so that high-theft categories are in view of the registers. Most of our stock is accessible to shoppers, but some small, desirable items, such as collectible card game booster packs, are kept behind the registers or in a display case. Our best tool for preventing theft is to acknowledge every customer as they enter the store, letting them know we're aware they are here. If they are giving us that 'shoplifter vibe', they get extremely attentive customer service while they shop, which usually causes them to leave quickly.”

Allen Fenton, Al's Trains & Hobby LLC, Bedford, Ohio, responded:

“No. My store is small so I can watch pretty good. I have had a few small items go missing though. I try to keep small items in a place where they're harder to hide.”

Jerry Fox, The Dixie Flyer, Wartrace, Tenn., said:
“I've been open for a year this month and so far, knock on wood, no thefts. Dummy security cameras help a small store like The Dixie Flyer.”

Dennis J. Stephen, Ye Old Train & Christmas Shoppe, Boyertown, Pa., replied:
“We've had some theft, but it's not major. We try to be with the customer helping them with decisions, and we keep a close eye on them. We have one older gentleman who is an old MP, and he keeps a close eye on people. We also have another helper who talks and helps customers. I try to see where people are in the store and keep a watchful eye on what they are looking at. I'm sure there is some theft going on, but most small items, such as N gauge or Z gauge, are behind glass. Most things are in boxes, so that also limits theft.”

Jerry Anderson, Jass Collectibles, Red Deer, Alta., said:
“It is very minimal. I can see every area of my store from the same spot.”

Tom Facey, TRFTrains & MnT Hobbies, Melbourne, Fla., responded:
“It's not really an issue. We have a security system with video monitoring.”

Bob Mazza, HobbyTown USA, Oshkosh, Wis., said:
“We've taken practically all precautions and still have problems. [There's] never a lot taken, but [it's] a constant nuisance.”

Scott Millican, Elm City Hobbies, Hanwell, N.B., said:
“No theft problem. I have a small store, and I can see everything from the counter.”

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