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RR-CirKits, Inc.
Specializing in Affordable Electronics for Model Railroads
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SHINOHARA TRACK
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FROM BEHIND THE COUNTER

NEWS AND UPDATES
02/03/18

Our Apologies

It seems that after the Tuesday and Wednesday database updates we had problems with the database and the shopping cart. Our apologies. The problem seems to have cleared up on its own by around 1pm on Wednesday. Our website/database server was under some minor maintenance at our hosting company Raleigh, NC. Seems to be working fine now.

Also, do to the high volume of business, during certain times of the day  the website and the database pages on the search engine may be a bit slower. This is due to the  high volume we are currently experiencing. Which is both good and bad. Another thing that may be limiting your experience on the website would be the band width availability. Since most of use do not have dedicated internet and we share bandwidth with the rest of the neighborhood, there are certain time of the day that you might experience slower download and upload speeds.

These time are right after school gets out each afternoon and in the evening since more and more of us are streaming our movies and T.V. shows these days.

For example my home bandwidth in the evening should be around 30mbs download. But from about 4pm to 10pm it averages around 19mbs. Find out from your internet access provider what your maximum download speed should be and then check it.

Here is one popular FREE website I use to check the bandwidth:

https://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/

Also, Malware on your computer could be slowing things down as feel. One of the best FREE site is MalwareBytes.
Download the FREE version to check your system:

https://www.malwarebytes.com/

Also, another good FREE Antivirus download is from AVG. Here the link:

https://www.avg.com/en-ww/homepage

I personally have upgraded to the pay for version as they cover more potential issues. But first, clean up your computers with the FREE versions! I hope this will help you all enjoy you shopping experience with BRH!

Shopping Cart Downtime

We are working hard to continually improve our Cart32 shopping cart services.

We had to postpone our previously scheduled maintenance time this past Sunday,
so we are letting you know that our shopping Cart32 servers will down
periodically for 2 - 4 hours starting around midnight on
Sunday, February 4, 2018 (CST).

We will be working hard to minimize the downtime.

January 2018 Sales


Thanks to all of you for your patience while we struggled in getting your orders shipped. It has been a very very busy month with a lot going on in our store.

Traditionally January is a busier month than December. And this year was no exception.

December 2017 sales vs January 2018 sales up 37% and January year to year is up 58%!!! Best January since 2012.


Year to year new customers are up 125%, returning customers up a whopping 567%, daily receipts up 71%, average receipt totals up 40% and average receipt items up 6%.

And some of you are recommending us to others. We greatly appreciate the word of mouth!

We are doing our best to sell you the items you need when you need them. We are not doing to bad with the current way the wholesalers and manufacturers are supplying us. New locomotives and rolling stock are selling out now even before they are available to ship. So all I can say is Pre Order Pre Order Pre Order!

If you where not aware, our main wholesaler is Walthers. BRH is a top dealer with Walthers. Some dealers would be considered a top dealer at the President Level of $50,000 per year in wholesale purchases. Well BRH sells that much and much much more each month! This is one of the reasons we can keep prices lower than most of our competition. The more you all buy with us the more you will save!


More Credit Card Fraud Attempts Happening

Believe it or not there is a lot of credit card fraud out there. We stop about 99.9% of that due to my former experience from working for Barclays Bank and the U.S. Secret Service back in the late 1980's. Recently we helped stop a large fraud ring working out of Delaware as well. While only one transaction slipped through when I was out of town back in 2016, Broadway Limited Imports processed thousands of dollars of fraudulent credit card internet orders from this same group in Delaware that they can not recoup.

When this occurred back in 2016 we put in place the pre charging of orders from new customers before we even place the orders from the warehouse for that customer and stopped sending news first time customer orders to alternate addresses as well. About 50% of new customers are fraudulent transactions as it turns out since the cards are declined or do not honor when we receive the orders. We do try  to contact the new customers but that usually means no return contact from them thus we cancel the order per BRH garners any cost for merchandise. This means we do not have any merchandise sold issues that we will not get reimbursed for because of a fraudulent transaction.

The latest scam is from new customers that are verified with good credit  cards and some we even spoken to by us.  Some of these customer have found a chink in the online credit card system. While we are not to divulge this chink ever, we are now forced to require signatures on all new first time customers shipments. We regret having to do this, but this will end a lot of fraud attempts by customers. So you will all have to sign for your packages for your new first time customers.

This is done to continue to keep our prices low!

PLEASE NOTE: That any credit card fraud attempts, no matter how much, are reported to the local authorities in your area as Credit Card Fraud. What is occurring is no different than shop lifting directly from the retail store!. Most transactions are across state lines and can even have harsher state and federal law violations. We will prosecute no matter how much is involved!

Parts Missing From Walthers New Gas Stations 

The new Cornerstone® Modern Gas Station #933-3537. Since delivery last week, we've discovered that part #57, the Car Island Canopy Ceiling, was not packaged with the kit.

Based on your initial order, free replacement roof/s will be mailed to you around the end of February, and no further action is required. Please be sure to hold your remaining inventory, and/or alert customers who have purchased this model.

We are currently holding our remaining inventory, but expect to begin shipping again very shortly.

While the Modern Travel Center (#933-3538) also uses this same part, this model was packed complete.

Please accept our apologies for any confu
sion and thanks for your support of Cornerstone products.

BRH will forward you the part at our expense once we receive it. Please be patient!


Upcoming Pre Order Dealines

February 8: Rapido Preorders
February 13: Atlas/Atlas O/Trainman Preorders
February 26: Intermountain Preorders
February 28: Walthers Preorders

New Walthers Cornerstone HO Urban Overpass and Commuter Station Kits Now Shipping

In stock at the retail and Now Shipping are four new Cornerstone kits make it fast and fun for you to
add elevated trackage through congested urban areas on their layouts. These highly detailed HO structures are typical of
common designs in use from the 1900s on as increasing autotraffic made replacement of grade crossings a better option and
many are still in use today. As a result of elevating the rail lines, some roads built the prototypes for the Elevated Commuter
Station on the elevated right of way and in many areas Urban Retaining Walls allowed the line to have a narrower footprint -
something you will love. These realistic additions to commercial, industrial and suburban areas are great! Often modelers will use more than one in their scenes so don't be bashful about suggesting multiples. Also, suggest using them with Cornerstone Asphalt, Brick and Concrete Street System kits (each sold separately) to help you build a great looking display!

Walthers SceneMaster HO Bulkhead Flatcar Loads and Trucks In Stock

The latest new SceneMaster products to arrive are perfect and offer Wrapped Lumber Loads for CC&F Bulkhead Flatcars and 72' Centerbeam Flatcars for the WalthersProto and Walthers Mainline cars. Each load features colorful, realistic lumber
company graphics and is a quick way for modelers to add realism to their flatcar fleets. For modern-era model railroaders new
International(R) maintenance and utility company trucks bringrealism to streets and construction scenes. Utility company
trucks are easily customized with the supplied decals in each package.

News About Upcoming Bowser HO Diesels and In-Stock Car Kits

Bowser has announced new schemes for its highly popular Canadian- built GMD SD40, SD40-2 and SD40-2f diesels used in Canada and the U.S. Available with ESU LokSound Select & DCC or as standard DC models, these diesels are ideal for 1960s and later layouts. All three of these announcements are sure to sell out fast, so order now for best selection. Bowser also keeps growing its popular line of HO freight car kits as well as ready-to-run models. Kits are great for you modelers who are on a budget or those looking for quick hands-on projects. New 60000-series hopper kits come with free-rolling trucks with metal wheels and knuckle-spring couplers for great performance. New cars and road names are now in stock! In addition, Bowser has announced new ready-
to-run PRR-built flatcars and gondola models - order them now today!

THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT




What's Going On With Product Availability?
NEWS AND UPDATES
01/27/18


Well, since 2011 when the big factory closings happened that affected most of the model railroad manufacturers, the hobby has been on a downward spiral. While recently over the last year things have been getting a bit better, there are still long wait times from some manufacturers for product.

What has precipitated this update is that there are many manufacturers still having trouble filling pre orders and back orders. I may now tick off some of the manufacturers with this update, but it is their problem from my stand point, not ours!

For example, last year Broadway Limited announced, with much fanfare, Choo Choo Shoes to be released in June 2017. As of this date, we are still awaiting them to fill orders! Also, recently some pre ordered buses came in from Rapido. That take 18 months from the time the customer ordered.

The biggest offenders on the back order / pre order fulfillment front seem to be the following: MTH-Railking, Lionel, Inter-Mountain Railway, Terrain For Trains / American Plastics, Atlas Model RR and Broadway Limited. We are still awaiting 2017 Lionel Christmas items that where pre ordered for customers. Broadway has a new policy of producing a batch of one item, let's say 1000 of them, they have them produced and shipped then they announce them. For example the latest announcement's are on there way to the USA so if you do not purchase now, you may not get one or even see one in a local hobby shop! While this is a good way to do business in some respects, the new "just in time" ordering and order fulfilling method being taken by many manufacturers across the retail and wholesale word is a bit alarming!

Don't get me wrong, BRH retail has adopted this policy back in 2012 when product availability became an issue. We shrunk the size of our retail and shipping from 5,000sf to 1,200sf. And we still can not seem to get enough basic model railroad items on a consistent basis.

Since 2007 when I started BRH, we have always had about 130,000 products to sell on a daily basis. Back then, about 90,000 where available for sale each day. Before Christmas 2017 there where still 130,000 items in the database but only 45,000 items where available to sell on a daily basis. Over the last two weeks we have seen available items drop to 40,000 +/- to sell each day and the overall database drop to 127,000 +/- items.

Some of the simplest basic items like track where not and are still not available. We ran out of Lionel Fastrack (they have stopped making the old tubular track as well) and Bachmann EZ-Track, Kato HO Track and Lifelike. Lifelike track has been back ordered since 2016 in some cases! We ordered extra track across the board this past year but ran out during Christmas and could not get restocked and still can not get the track in most cases.

So when you wonder into our retail store and see the shelves a bit bare at times, this is why! We have to be able to have product to sell to stay in business and get models what they want and need! Without the stock that people want a hobby shop can not stay in business. Luckily, as it has been since the beginning, 98% of our business is online and that continues to be a strong area of sales. We are currently up and having the best January since 2011! But profits are down while volume is up.

We tried display ads in Model Railroader Magazine to help boost sales but that was a bust with only a few orders coming from those three months worth of ads! Our cheaper dealer listing ads generate more business at 90% less in cost!

Recently I visited the World's Greatest Hobby Show in Charlotte and visited with some of the manufacturers and found the answers from the manufacturers to be alarming.

 One of our wholesalers is purging there database of model railroad manufacturers that are not producing enough product to fill the demand. And yes, there is demand, but not enough 'stuff' to sell! The conversations with BLI and MTH-Railking at the show did not shed any light on why they can not meet there announced arrival dates. Maybe, for example, Lionel should announce their 2018 Christmas items as 2019 Christmas items since most likely that is the year they will arrive! Nothing like buying a 2017 Christmas item and getting in sometime in 2018!

Lately, as I have discussed in the past, we have been ordering more and more product direct from the manufacturers. They have the product in some cases, while the wholesalers don't. It seems, and this nothing new over the last 7 years, the manufacturers want to deal with the wholesale or retail customers directly. Case in point: Exact Rail and Scale Trains for example. While this may be a good model for them, it only means even hire prices for you, the model railroader, plus the additional shipping charges.

So much for our one stop shopping website idea from 2007!

Don't be surprised if you start to see a manufacturers disappear from our database of products. It is a shame this will happen.

So, please be patient when you pre order. Calling or emailing BRH is not going to make the product arrive any sooner. Just check the online database for your items status. And yes, unknown availability date means just that! We have no idea when the product will arrive and the manufacturer has missed at least two arrival dates. We have 60,000 of these type items alone!

But, for BRH business is good. With the holiday last week, the Walthers shipping problems, our inventory last weekend and the 4 inches of snow here in the south (we are not prepared for this stuff down here) John and I should be caught up with all orders shipped now. There is a large back order / pre order that has arrived and should ship Monday / Tuesday. All customer service issues should be resolved as well.

Thanks for the support and enjoy the hobby as best your can. Think ahead when building your displays, order and be patient.

SALES OF $4,000.000

This week we hit the $4,000,000 sales milestone and we are having a great month so far in January. It has been very very busy, especially over the last two weeks with the snow, MLK holiday, shipping delays and the retail store inventory.

So, after working every day for the last two weeks I am taking the weekend off from retail store and shipping activities but will be back processing another large back order that arrived on late Friday the includes some Walthers Shinohara track, but not the crossings!
 
 
Advance Reservations

 
 January 31: Intermountain Preorders
January 31: Micro-Trains Preorders
January 31: Walthers Preorders
February 8: Rapido Preorders
February 28: Walthers Preorders
 

WalthersProto HO EMD F7 and GP35 Phase II Diesels Now Shipping

Diesel fans will love the new roadnames on the latest
WalthersProto EMD F7 and GP35 Phase II locomotives! Featuring
road name and era-specific details, accurate paint and lettering,
the renowned WalthersProto drive. Both diesels are available in
standard DC versions or with SoundTraxx(R) Tsunami(R) sound and
DCC. These diesels have proven popular and some road names are
sold out or in short supply, so if you haven't already, order now
for best selection!

 
They're Here and Going Fast! All-New
WalthersMainline HO ES44  GEVO Diesels


These all-new modern road freight locomotives are the ones
modelers have been eagerly awaiting! GE Evolution Series
ES44AC/AH/C4 GEVOs (the AC/AH/C4 letters are model designations
denoting minor performance variations) are the backbone of the
North American diesel fleet and thousands have been pulling all
kinds of freights since 2003. Affordably priced and well detailed
with road name-appropriate truck, body and headlight placement
variations, these models are in extremely high demand. The newly-
tooled locos are available with or without SoundTraxx sound and
DCC. We have only a handful of some road names and road numbers
left, so order immediately! If you missed out on these schemes, you still
have until Wednesday, January 31st to order the next series of
road names and road numbers

New Atlas and Trainman N Scale Products

Fast-selling Atlas and Trainman models are great for N  Scale. New Atlas models include the  popular
FMC 5077 50' Boxcar, 40' PS-1 Boxcar and Alco RS1diesels. Trainman models include 90-Ton 3-Bay Hoppers, Steel
Cupola Cabooses and 50' Double-Door Boxcars. All of these high-
demand models are moving fast and some road names and road numbers
may already be sold out, so order now for best selection!

Super detailed HO Freight Cars from Kadee(R) Now Shipping

Kadee regularly releases new schemes in its line of popular,
highly detailed, limited-run freight cars. Featuring accurate
decoration, appropriate body styles and details, all Kadee HO
cars come equipped with scale-sized Magne-Matic(R) knuckle
couplers and appropriate trucks with metal wheels. The latest
cars include a 40' PS-1 Boxcar and a 50-Ton 2-Bay Open Hopper. 
You will love the accuracy of these models, so get them rolling
 

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 $0.00 effective 07/19/12
Effective 07/27/13 - On Line Orders under $50.00 will have a mandatory $3.00 service fee to cover credit card processing fees.

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.

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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. 

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