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FROM BEHIND THE COUNTER
WE ARE KEEPING YOU INFORMED
 

NEWS AND UPDATES

10/12/21


17th Anniversary

This month is the 17th Anniversary of our retail store opening.

While the current version of the retail store is not what I hoped it would be after 17 years, and it seems the best  years for BRH happened some 10 years ago now, BRH is still here!

Many online and retail stores have gone by the wayside over the last 17 years. There are newer online and retail stores out there but  they can not compete with the proven BRH business model.
In fact many have copied what BRH does, including manufacturers stealing BRH marketing ideas!

Since the beginning of BRH as an online retail store with 98% of sales coming from internet sales and the retail store opening only lead to supplemental income but that was only 2% of sales while increasing overhead and time to run BRH.

From a small 1,200sf retail store growing to 5,000sf in just two years with employees and volunteers decreasing to 2,400sf in 2012 when the bottom dropped out of the hobby then in 2014 decreasing back to 1,200sf at the current location. This all was caused by the lack of product availability to fill a retail store with products that would sell.

Today, as many of  you already know, product availability for everything world wide is an issue. Model Railroad items are just one of the products that are suffering. Covid and the Covid restrictions are not helping the situation.

But despite all of the issues BRH continues and sales are good for now with what is available to sell to you all.

Right now I am not sure what the future will bring for the Model Railroad hobby but BRH will keep chugging along as long as product is available to sell and customers keep finding BRH and return for more products.

Thanks to everyone for your support!


Back From Vacation

The last week of September I found myself at Walt Disney World for the 50th Anniversary along with some 85,000 to 90,000  other guests.



CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE

This is an image of Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom at 7:45am just before official park opening at 8am. I arrived with our group just before 6:30am. Our group was allowed into Fantasyland since we where staying at WDW at Grand Floridian, my home resort at WDW. This image was shot from the rear of Cinderella's Castle through the portico. As you can seem the area from the Hub all the way down to the Main Street USA Train Station was filled with guests! That is a lot of people!

As most of you know I travel to Disney owned theme parks and cruise ships as often as possible. I am a big fan of the theme parks and how they are operated. In fact, I model BRH customer service after Disney's.

So, Covid aside, this was the third Covid trip to Disney World. I have lost count as to how many trips to WDW I have made since 1976. I have been going to Disney for 45 years and cruising Disney since 1999!

With that said, despite all on my vacation time, BRH has always been open and available as long as I had internet to access emails and orders.

BRH really has never closed in 17 years!

September Sales

Again another good month at BRH in September via only 3 weeks in sales. 2021 sales where up 15.6 % over 2020. So despite the 10 days of vacation with no sales transactions at the end of the month the overall month was good.

So far in October sales are strong as well.

BLI Shortages

BLI recently has cut wholesale orders back and has begun to short advance reservations that you, our customers, have made. They claim that their factory in China did not produce enough product and shorted BLI so BLI arbitrarily cut deliveries to the wholesalers.

According to information we  have received from one of our wholesaler said that they,  "where alerted by BLI that their factory shorted them on the 6640’s and they had to allocate what they
Received and we were shorted a significant amount of these."

As of this update we know of only one of our customers that have been effected by this debacle and they have been  notified. BRH does not know of any other issues!

Just another reason to move manufacturing back to the  USA!

Con-Cor Removed

Looks like the Milwaukee warehouse has removed Con-Cor from their list of manufacturers. No surprise here since Con-Cor has not been able to produce any product for some time and the owner did not seem to care about selling his product any longer!

Product Shortages

While model railroad supplies are thinning (as well as many other products we use every day) at the manufacturers and wholesalers and prices are on the rise due to Covid related issues. Currently not enough product is being created. What is being created is sitting on container ships off shore due to lack of people at the docks to unload, then when unloaded there are not enough truck drivers to deliver to warehouses nationwide.

Have you been shopping at your local grocery store lately? My local Walmart and Publix have a lot of empty shelves in the grocery area.  News accounts say that there is a supply chain issue and it is going to get worse. No kidding!

Also, there is not enough product being created and shipped out of the USA thus leading to the lack of containers going back to China causing a shortage of containers for China to ship to the USA. There is no relief in site.

These problems are causing prices to increase some 20% and BRH is seeing this occur each day. Prices are going out so again, think ahead and order what you can now!

So again, buy now for later!

Inventory Finalized

Over this last week the retail store inventory was finalized, finally.
So in the next couple of days the remaining retail store will be live online for all to purchase at deep deep discounts!

Watch your email for the announcement when we go live!

Store Visitations

Since March of 2020, BRH has required that customers make appointments to visit of retail store. This decision was not made because of Covid and the lock downs, it was made because BRH is an online retailer with 98% of sales being made online.

When people visited the retail store they did just that, visited with no purchases. We have to have productive sales to keep the lights on and maintain a retail store space so we changed to the new visitation format so that customer visits would generate sales.

Case in point. On Thursday we received a call from someone that was driving through the area on I-85 and was looking for a stop "so that they could stretch their legs"!
I did not know that BRH was perceived as a Rest Area along the interstate!

Again, this is the reason for the store visitation requests! The days of being open for anyone to wonder in and not buy anything went away 18 months ago.

Sorry for  this but BRH is currently a one man show and my time at the retail store is mostly used for shipping your internet orders and can not be wasted on visitors just wanting to stretch their legs as they pass through the area.


09/21/21

Con-Cor

Several years ago we eliminated Con-Cor from our database of products due to the lack of product that they had available. I seems our main warehouse has cleared out most of the the Con-Cor offerings from their list of products. The back orders and advance reservations see to still be in place at this point.

Looking at their website, it seems they are not making any product any longer which does not surprise BRH at all.  Jim Conway, the owner of Con-Cor, seems to be trying to be an online model train store and not make any Con-Cor branded models. Not a surprise to  BRH after the conversations we had with Mr. Conway back in February 2019. We stopped offering Con-Cor because of his issues. 

So long Con-Cor?


09/19/21

Fall Vacation Week

As we do each year we take a week off just before we get into the 4th and busiest quarter of the year!
So vacation will be from 09/24 returning to BRH 10/04. As we do most years we are off to Walt Disney World for the 50th Anniversary on October 1st. We been going to WDW on an off for the last 46 years! More often over the last 20 years since we moved closer to the mouse!

As with every vacation we still process your online orders each day. The only difference is that from there will be no shipping from 09/24 until 10/04!

As we do when we are in vacation we do out best to monitor voicemails and emails and try to answer questions as they come up! Online orders will be processed daily in the morning and late evening with no delays as long as we have internet access which should not be an issue.

Returns And Order Cancellations

Just as a reminder, if you need to return any item(s) or cancel an order, back order or advance reservations YOU WILL NEED TO CALL BRH AND SPEAK WITH A BRH CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE.

Per store policy, if you email your request will not be processed. If you just blindly send an item or  items to BRH without and RMA (Return Merchandise Number), OXL (Order Cancellation Number) or XLN (Item Cancellation Number) it will not be processed!

See store policy for specific details and costs, if any.


09/12/21

August Sales

Another month of slower sales!

Sales down 28.5% from August 2020 which was a very busy time.

The last 30 Days show lower amounts of product to purchase.

New Customer Up 15%, Returning Customers Up 143%, Average Daily Receipts Up 40%. So BRH is processing a lot of orders for a lot of customers but smaller orders. Receipt totals Down 20% and Items Per Receipt Down 22%

So far sales for September is tracking up over the last several months and 2020 even with the lack of product availability!

Changes At Blue Ridge Hobbies

In case you haven't noticed, the BRH Product Search Page is no only featuring In Stock Items only. No more advance reservations at this time. It is taking many of the manufacturers years and years to fill order so BRH has decided not to take advance reservations any longer.

The lack of product and product production by the manufacturers since the closing of the
Sandakan factory in China over 10 years ago now has deeply effected the hobby. The hobby has yet to recover from that closing!

Also, some you may have noticed that our retail store directory advertising has stopped with the current issue for Model Railroad. Their just has not been hardly any customer traffic coming to BRH from that advertisement that BRH has been running for 17 years in MR or Model Railroad News! Most of our sales come from internet searches and referrals.

Prices Continue To Go Up!

Wheels of Time Special Notice!

Wheels of Time manufactures authentically detailed scaled model trains, vehicles and related accessories. History in your hands.
Price Adjustment for Wheels of Time HO scale Flatcars. Due to a radical increase in ocean shipping cost from our factory, unfortunately we have to increase our MSRP by 10%. This affects Wheels of Time product item numbers 40107 through 40160, inclusively.

Lionel Price Increase

Due to an increase in material costs, the following Power & Control items will incur a price increase effective immediately.

We appreciate your understanding.

Broadway Limited N Scale EMD Switchers Now Shipping

N Scale EMD NW2 and SW7 Switchers have arrived from Broadway Limited. Based on switchers built in the 1940s and 1950s, these detailed models feature full Paragon4 sound and DCC for realistic sound and motor control complete with back EMF for smooth slow speeds. The Paragon4 sound system works with all Broadway Limited Rolling Thunder(TM) advanced sound systems. These diminutive switchers can be operated on all DCC systems as well as on standard DC railroads (with limited sound functionality), and their wheel profiles allow smooth operation on Code 55 and larger rail. With many of these units still in operation in 2021, these diesels have broad appeal and typically sell out quickly. Over a dozen new schemes are in-stock, but all are selling fast. Get 'em on your railroads now!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE IN STOCK EMD SWITCHERS

New Busch HO Arrivals Include New Action Sets, North American Vehicles

Busch products are favorites with modelers because of their variety and detail. New arrivals include Action Sets which
include a mix of figures, scenery details and small structures to complete a scene. Other highlights include 1957 Chevy Bel Air
police cars and other international vehicles. Check out the latest arrivals and order now for the upcoming holiday season.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER ALL IN STOCK BUSCH ITEMS


08/29/21

Lockdowns Coming Again!?!?!

I do  not like to talk about politics but according to Vice President Kamila Harris during her recent trip oversees in Singapore stated
"If You Want To Have Christmas Gifts For Your Children Now Is The Time To Start Buying"

According to national news sources, "the threat to on-time delivery of Christmas presents due to the pandemic". "The stories that we are now hearing about the caution that if you want to have Christmas toys for your children it might be the time to start buying them because the delay may be many, many months," the Vice President of the United States advised."

So what do you think is coming down the pike this fall and winter? I have no idea but is is best to be prepared!

I again suggest you think ahead and get your orders in for the products you may need over the next 6 to 8 months!

USPS Price Increase / Fedex Costs

Today the USPS price increase is now in affect.

Also, did you know that the cost of Fedex Ground is usually twice the cost of the USPS Priority packages for none large or bulky packages?

So when ordering through BRH pick the CHEAPEST SHIPPING option on your order so BRH can shop the shipping for your order and get you the lowest cost shipping!

New Email Server

So of you may have noticed a change in our sale and news and update emails. That is because we have ended the use of Constant Contact after 17 years. Effective this past Monday 08/23/24 our  sales and news and updates email will be sent via Mailchimp.

This was done as a cost savings measure along with our new computer and phone systems we have recently installed to serve you better.

LGB / Marklin / Trix Direct

Because BRH has had several issues with our wholesaler recently with the delivery of ordered LGB products BRH has now replaced the wholesaler of their responsibility to fill BRH orders. There are no back orders currently pending fulfillment from this wholesaler. Starting last Wednesday BRH will be ordering directly from LGB / Markln / Trix which increase the customer service and the timely fulfillment of orders. 

Over the last 17 years we have used this wholesaler, but as we have had to do with other manufacturers that this wholesaler can not seem to fill orders with, we have decided to purchase directly from the manufacturer.

Bowser Announces N Scale Freight Cars

Ready-to-run Bowser N Scale cars are great for those of you who want interesting rolling stock for their freight consists. New schemes
and road numbers are coming on popular Cylindrical Covered Hoppers and PRR H21a Hoppers. Cylindrical Covered Hoppers, perfect for
1960s to 1990s freights, will be available in both three and six-bay versions as appropriate for each road name. PRR Class H21a 4-
Bay Hoppers were built by the thousands for PRR and were also operated by other lines from the 1910s and lasted into the 1960s
and later in work train service, so they appeal to steam and diesel-era modelers. All of these cars feature fine decoration,
appropriate trucks, magnetic knuckle couplers and metal wheels. Preorder now through September 15, 2021
 

CLICK HERE TO ORDER


Broadway Limited HO EMD SD40-2s Selling Through Fast

Based on one of the most popular diesels ever built. Introduced in the 1970s, reliable SD40-2s became the workhorse diesels used
for everything from hauling 10,000-ton coal drags to short, fast intermodal trains. This diesel features full Paragon4 sound and
DCC for realistic sound and motor control complete with back EMF for smooth slow speeds. The Paragon4 sound system works with all
Rolling Thunder(TM) advanced sound systems. The EMD SD40-2 can be operated on all DCC systems as well as on standard DC railroads
(with limited sound functionality). We still have a handful of most road names and road numbers. Order now for best availability.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER



THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT!

 

 


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The prices and products reflected on these pages are subject to change without notice. Shipping, handling and sales tax are not included
and are added at the time your order is shipped to you or picked up at our retail store.
Prices on these pages are available for online sales only

Minimum Online Shopping Cart Order is $50.00 effective 07/27/20

All Phone Orders Are Subject To 5% Fee Based On The Overall Order Cost

All Shipped Orders Have A Minimum $2.00 Handling Fee
See our store policy and information for more details.

The information on our web pages are updated as frequently as possible.
100% accuracy of information is not guaranteed.

The  images are supplied by the manufacturers and wholesalers.
100% accuracy of information is not guaranteed.

"At Least One Or More Available At Our Warehouse"  does not indicate what is available for sale at the retail store.
"At Least One Or More Available At Our Warehouse"  indicates what is listed as on hand in our warehouse, the manufactures and wholesalers
warehouses or in our retail store as of the last Blue Ridge Hobbies® manufacturers product search page update. This includes but not
 limited to items that are dealer returns, show stock, reserved items, damaged product, and otherwise unavailable for sale items.
Therefore, not all items listed as "At Least One Available At Our Warehouse"
 are available for sale or distribution at your time of viewing the product search page as product availability changes throughout each day. 

The Unknown Availability  or Advance Reservation listing shows items expected to arrive according to the manufacturers or wholesalers supplied information.  
The information on this page is updated as frequently as possible. 100% accuracy of information is not guaranteed.
Check with Blue Ridge Hobbies® via email at
contactus@BlueRidgeHobbies.com for updated information.

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