Bad Wax has a great article about hobby stores closing. Why are these stores closing? Are the flushing money down the drain?
Disclaimer: It's easy for a lot of us to sit here and type reasons why the stores are closing and not staying in business since most of don't own a hobby store (myself included).
I've never had a great connection with a hobby store. As kid, the stores seemed to be always run by grumpy old men who were bothered if you asked them any questions. I'm envious of the people who had and still have great relationships with hobby stores. Even today, I had an exchange with my local hobby store. After mentioning a fact I read on a card blog his reply was, "I don't read the blogs - they can't tell me anything." I know, hilarious isn't it.
Anyway, I commented on the Bad Wax blog on what I think hobby stores need to do stay in business. I think it's all about making connections with your client's passion and I think it can be done in these four ways:
- Host box break parties: Order pizza, sell the boxes at a discount, and get a group of people to sit around and open their boxes together. Make it a "community event." Then post the video online.
- Have a huge Internet presence. Have a blog, link to others, and participate in discussions. Don't have a blog to get sales, have a blog to get leads and bring people into the store.
- Have autograph sessions. Combine resources with local stores to host old and new school player signings. Get people in your store.
- Educate. Be an expert, keep learning, and teach others.
This is just my two cents. I know there's the whole business model review and people who run businesses probably have different ideas. But I'm a marketing person with card/memorabilia hobby... not a business owner. And if I were advising a store owner from a marketing point of view, that's where I'd start.
Check out the Bad Wax story.