Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Hobby

This picture on Seth Godin's blog is used to illustrate the fact that the owner let feature creap dilute his core offering. Seth is worried that soon this will be some dusty trains in the back of another convience store.

Truth is, having been in many many hobby shops in my life that this shop is not isolated, the fact that it did add coffee and lottery and maps has allowed the shop to survive just a little longer to sell trains. Most shops start out in year one with all the latest offerings, five years in they offer some hard to find items. Ten years they have some oldies, and twenty oh the nestalga.

You can tell how long the shop has been in business by how old the stock is. There are very few truely profitable shops.The whole hobby industry is in decline, it has been for almost 20 years now. Most shops are hobbies started by men who wanted to share their hobby. They break even if not loose money until the owner gives up or dies. The passion for the product overshadows the passion for profits.

Now this is where Seth has it right... ish. If this guy was smart he would find a partner to get the coffee business done right. Then there would be a high profit activity to support the love of trains which this guy can focus on. Or he should specialize, then use the internet to reach those people wherever they live.

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