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What are some of the ways your store goes the extra mile for customers?

In April, we asked hobby retailers how they go the extra mile for customers. To read more, check out the June 2013 issue of Model Retailer.
Published: May 14, 2013
Gerry Satterwhite, Greenville Hobby Depot, Greenville, Texas, said:
“I sometimes give a big discount on items to special customers, or just give them a sample product.”

Jerry Anderson, Jass Collectibles, Red Deer, Alta., replied:
I do a lot of custom orders but bring them in with regular orders to keep costs down. I also do a lot of events with or for community groups.”

Tom Palmer, South Side Trains, Milwaukee, responded:
Giving minor upgrades 'free' when purchasing a larger-ticket item. After spending $200 on a locomotive, I'm more than happy to install a dollar's worth of couplers without charge.

Jeffrey Ratz, J & D's Whistle Stop, Sheboygan, Wis., said:
I like to tell my customers that I do not tell them to call an 800 number if they have a problem. I fix the problem and deal with the manufacturer or distributor myself.

Carl Dann, Smoky Mountain Trader, Cleveland, Ga., said:
Simply by being here, a real flesh and blood human to talk to, discuss new product with, or just complain that all the kids want to do is play video games these days. We are still here, still accessible and still trying to do the most we can to support the hobby business at its purest form: a hands-on brick-and-mortar oasis in a stressful, mechanized world. Ah, the good ol' days...

Rick Chin, Uncle Bill's Hobby, Calgary, Alta., replied:
Make sure we get the latest releases; give loyal customers offers they cannot refuse; and get rid of 'experts' who hang around the store not buying but just want to talk to others.

Scott Millican, Elm City Hobbies, Hanwell, N.B., had this to say:
One of the ways I go the extra mile is that there is no way I can have everything in stock, so I produce a weekly newsletter that goes out to all the customers on my email list. In this newsletter, the customer can find all of the items that have been made available by my suppliers that week along with the price. A lot of items I just won't bring into the shop if I think the price is too high for what my customers will pay, or if the item is just not that popular I wouldn't bring it in to just collect dust on the shelf. The newsletter allows customers to see what has become available that week and the prices, so they can determine if they truly want the item at the price I posted or not, and I can just order it in as an individual customer needs. It saves from having a lot of pricey kits sitting on the shelves not moving.

Don Johnson, Don's Hobby Shop, Bothell, Wash., said:
Like most hobby shops, we can't have everything in the industry available to consumers. We provide the names of other shops in the area that may have what they are looking for. We also offer prepaid special orders at a discount (as it may take a few days to meet minimum order requirements from the distributor).

John Progno, Adventure Time Hobby, Spencerport, N.Y., replied:
We offer repairs on just about every hobby-related item. If it can be fixed, we will try. Repairs save the consumer some money rather than replacing a whole item. We don't make as much upfront, but in the long run customers keep coming back to purchase other items. We also try to display built models, especially rockets, so customers can see what they look like built rather than just a kit on the shelf. We also try to demo radio control products so customers know what to expect.

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