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Walthers BLue Logo
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FROM BEHIND THE COUNTER
WE ARE KEEPING YOU INFORMED
 

NEWS AND UPDATES

01/23/22

As of this update shipments from the Milwaukee and Jefferson City warehouses are taking 5 to 7 days to arrive at BRH shipping and shipping from the Easton warehouse are taking from 3 to 5 days to arrive at BRH shipping.

Shipments are arriving at BRH shipping around 4 pm daily from both UPS and Fedex. USPS arrives for outbound and inbound shipping around 12pm daily.

BRH is shipping delay except Sundays.

Weather delays could affect these estimates.

Bottom line is that BRH will process and ship you order as fast as we can.  

So, please be patient.

Supply Chain Issues

Out of 130,000 plus items available to order from the warehouses and manufacturers only about 28,000 +/- product numbers are available to sell to you each day.

This has been an on going and worsening problem since 2008 and has gotten much worse
since the Covid situation started 2 years ago. 

This is all caused in part with the supply chain issues plaguing the world.

Because of this BRH decided last summer to stop doing back orders and advance reservations and focus on in stock and available today products. Even by doing this quantities are very limited.

So again as I have stated before think about what you may need for your layout or display about a year in advance and build up some inventory at home so you will have it when you need it.

Customer Issues

BRH prides itself in our customer service. We do make mistakes every now and then and i do my best to correct them.

However, recently there have been a rash of customers claiming issues but offering zero proof.

One customer emailed and stated his flex track order came in a  crushed box and the track was mangled. He stated he would no longer order from BRH because of that. I emailed him back and asked for images of the damaged box and track so we can resolve the issue and so far after a week have had no response.

Another customer ordered the wrong electrical item and when I advised him of the BRH policy of no returns on electrical parts yet offered an solution under the RMA policy he has never responded!

Yet another customer claimed some window decals where damaged that where shipped in a padded envelope. Again, I asked for images of the package and damaged item(s) and for the last two weeks have not received anything.

I can not resolve issues without back up. If customers do not provide proof of their
claim(s) then BRH can not resolve an issue.

Rapido

This week BRH had an issue  regarding shipping from Rapido to BRH.

Though BRH has ordered a lot of product from them directly over the last couple of years,
it seems that if an order to be shipped to BRH  is less then $500 then they will charge shipping from Canada to BRH.

BRH pricing is based on free shipping but we  have been notified that any shipments under $500 will be charged shipping to BRH. So far for the last 3 years this has not occurred.  However, this week they tried to ship and wanted to charge shipping. After I complained they combined that order with another order (which BRH and our wholesalers do all the time) to be far above the $500 level.

One of the reason BRH started ordering direct with Rapido for that Walthers was having Rapido fulfillment problems. When BRH shifted to ordering direct from Rapido shortages and cancellations went away.

Currently Rapdio is charging an additional 5% surcharge on new shipments. Also they may start charging for shipping if the $500 free shipping level is not reached. BRH bases our prices on what we have been told in the past. Unfortunately if this occurs then BRH will  have no choice but to pass this added cost on to you or customers.

All new  orders from today forward will be placed with Walthers again. This way the free shipping to BRH will not be an issue and BRH can offer a lower price.

I hope that the old cancellation and shortages from Rapido to Walthers will not occur.

Predications for 2022

Last year MTH-Railking closed and Con-Cor went away.

I predict the IMR (Inter-Mountain Railway) will also close since they can not seem to create any product that our customers have ordered.

BRH has a lot on advance reservation / back order with them but there has been zero order fulfillment for several years now.


01/20/22

Product Search

Since we lost the accounting computer due to the snow storm and a power outage on Sunday the database was not up to date.

As of 7pm EST today the database of product is again up to date.

We received the new power supply around 5pm and was able to get things back to normal fairly quickly.

Sorry for the issues on this. First time it has happened in almost 18 years of business!


01/18/22

Product Search

Since we lost the accounting computer due to the storm power surge we have had an issue with getting the complete product database up and functional despite the backups. Seems to be a server issue.  Only about 28,000 items out of 36,000 are currently listed.

Once we receive the new power supply sometime this week we should be able to get this situation corrected. Sorry for the issues but I am ding my best to get this corrected.

TCS Price Increase

Late on Monday Train Control Systems announced a 20% price increase effective 01/21/22. As the prices are changed the product database will reflect the new prices.

From TCS:
Due to the ongoing, unprecedented changes in the world TCS has been forced to introduce our largest price increase to date. Some of the factors which have forced us into this decision include:

  • Double standard inflation at around 6% for 2021

  • COVID shutdowns and shortages across industries

  • Massive, global, completely unprecedented electronic component shortages

  • Ongoing shipping and manufacturing delays

Due to the factors above every piece of TCS' products from packaging and literature, to printed circuit boards and components have gone up in price and lead times have been extended beyond anything seen before. Over the past year and a half TCS has eaten these price increases and made numerous internal changes to avoid a price increase, but with no sign of things changing TCS must take this step. Some of the steps we have taken internally to reduce this need include:

  • Designing multiple circuit boards for certain products so we can use more available packages and versions of the components.
     

  • Expanded our remote and contract work to reduce overhead.

  • Scooped up extra stocks of components from liquidators to mitigate massive lead times on components.

We will continue to take steps internally and externally to provide the highest quality, American made product, just like we always have. Even as we all deal with the ongoing challenges of the day we appreciate the ongoing support of our loyal customers and enthusiastic users! *The price for all UWT-100 variants, replacement parts, and services will remain unchanged **UWT-50 variants, Decoder Testers, and Kapton Tape will only be increasing by 10%.


01/16/22

9" Of Snow!

Snow started around midnight on Sunday and ended around 12pm or so.

No big deal it was an heavy wet snow.

However, the BRH office lost power around 8:30am until around 8:30pm.

Again, no problem as we have a back up generator.

As the power went down, one of our computers was booting and it looks like the short spikes in the power fried the power supply in the CPU. New one is on order.

However, we could not work on the product database update on the back up computer as some of the software was not loaded on the back up. We had to do that.

So, this news and updates is late as well as the product search update.

Shipping And Deliveries

Looks like the roads in northern Greenville, SC are very very icy.

Not sure if there will be any deliveries today from Fedex and UPS. USPS is closed for MLK day.

According to the morning weather and the SCDOT secondary roads may not be passable until Tuesday.

So nothing inbound or outbound will be leaving from BRH until Wednesday it seems barring any further computer issues.

Miniature World Of Trains

Mini Update

There will be more to come in the full MWOTcoming soon.

We have added yet another venue into the mix of locations which is a real long short, ut we are looking into it. More on that venue in the mini update. 

Also, just to let everyone know  there is about $130,000 invested into the for profit MWOT as of this update.

We still need investors, donors to reach our funding goal and we need volunteers some volunteers to help build the initial displays.

Please visit the following MWOT pages:

Invest or Donate
https://www.miniatureworldoftrains.com/Investment.htm


Volunteer
https://www.miniatureworldoftrains.com/Volunteer-2.htm


01/09/22

Sorry to be so negative with this update!

Easton Warehouse Partial Slowdown

BRH was informed the other day the Covid has hit the Easton Warehouse.

According to the warehouse email: "Up to this point we have been very fortunate  making it through the Christmas season without any major Covid issues. Unfortunately, today we have a major issue. 60% of the warehouse staff is out. No one is seriously ill and they will be back to work as soon as they feel better. The rest of us are being safe and hoping no one else gets sick. Please be aware that orders may ship a little slower than normal this week. Thank you for your understanding. Stay healthy."

So far this week BRH has not seem any issues with order fulfillment with the warehouse.

There are no issues at the Milwaukee or Jefferson City Warehouse as of this update.

Surcharges

Surcharges from the manufacturers and wholesalers continue to occur.

Lionel and Rapido have a "temporary" 5% surcharge on all newer items as we announced last week. These surcharges are now being passed along to our customers as the surcharges are not part of the BRH pricing. Also, the Milwaukee Warehouse is now passing along special shipping charges on "oversized" item like grass mats. Again this cost will have to be passed along to our customers as needed.

Lionel items with the surcharge are noted as such in the product description. Rapido only lets BRH now when we get the shipping invoice! And with the oversized additional shipping charge you should just assume that things let grass mats, flex track, cork, train sets etc. , might have this surcharge. BRH will not now if there is a oversized surcharge until after the item(s) are shipped. BRH has no control over that.

Keep sizes of products in mind when you order. BRH does its best to keep shipments down to the minimum number of shipping boxes.

So, for example, do not order flex track and then a building because there are no boxes conducive to shipping these items in one box!

If  you have an issue with a possible surcharge on an advance reservation or back order, please contact BRH by phone during our normal business hours so we can cancel your order!

Keeping Your Information Up To Date

Again there are issues with people not keeping their information up to date.

It is the responsibility of each customer to keep your credit card information, address, email and phone information current. If your credit card information, such as credit card expiration or a change in credit card information or address, email and phone information you must notify Blue Ridge Hobbies™ immediately by telephone during our normal business hours and speak with customer service OR you can update your credit card information using the secure Blue Ridge Hobbies™ Product Search Page Shopping Cart and picking the item CREDIT CARD. The other fields do not need to be filled out.

Merchandise Not Paid For

Here is the reason we are no longer doing advance reservations and back orders for most of your customers.

This week there has been a trend of established customers placing order and then when
received the merchandise in for shipping their credit card will not process for one reason of another! We make three attempts to contact the customer to resolve the issue via the Cart32 shopping cart email and / or our regular contactus email or possibly a call.

If a customers does not respond the order is cancelled and that person will no longer be able to order from BRH again. In some cases we have a deposit on file which we can not refund to the credit card and we do not issue checks since we do not know if the customer is at the address we have on file or maybe deceased!

Also, some customers that have previously purchased from BRH are having issues when we try to ship a brand new order. Their credit cards do not work for any number of reasons.

This costs BRH a lot of money. Out of 20 advance reservation we processed this week 5 of them had credit card issues. That is 25% of these orders. This is unacceptable.

Most of our customers, both old and new, do not have this problem. But this problem costs BRH time and money.

So we do not have to raise prices to cover these loses, we will be pre charging all orders effective immediately for the merchandise only at the time of order. Then shipping, handling and any surcharges from the wholesalers and manufacturers will be added in a second charge when the order(s) are ready to ship.


01/02/22



Thanks For 2021

Thanks to everyone for a very busy and challenging year.

Product shortages and lack of product availability where the highlight for 2021.
Bad reviews on Google because people do not read the store hours and the policy regarding visiting the retail store.

Overall sales have 2021 down an even 10% over 2020. The trend for the 4th quarter was down as well and December 2020 vs 2021 a whopping 35% year  Again because lack of available product. 

For the last 90 days but over it looked good on paper. New  customers up 76%, returning customers up 165%, average receipts up 54% and average items per receipt up 13%. But those items where not big ticket items like locomotives!

January is our busiest month each year and so far for the first week sales look promising.


12/26/21

Sale End Times

Most BRH sales end at 9pm however some customers have been sending in orders after 9am. Sometimes hours and sometimes days after the sale ends.

Effective with the current sale, if your order is received after the 9pm deadline, you will be charged the current price for the ordered item at the time the order is received via the shopping cart.

The reason for this is that the wholesalers and manufacturers end sale pricing on certain dates and will not honor the sale price after the sale is over.

Fedex, USPS and UPS

I was shocked this past week when shipments from the Milwaukee and Easton warehouses arrived at BRH within 3 days of ordering. Something we had not seen in some 3 years! Maybe that will continue into the new year!

Fedex and USPS are running short delivery schedules on Friday 12/24 and 12/31.

Warehouse Holiday Closures

The Milwaukee Warehouse was closed Thursday 12/23 and Friday 12/24  and will be closed Friday 12/31/21 plus the normal Saturday and Sunday closures. The Easton Warehouse  and Jefferson City Warehouse was closed Friday 12/24 and will be closed Friday 12/31 plus the normal Saturday and Sunday closures.

Shipping Delays

With all of the warehouse and delivery to BRH closures the outbound from BRH shipping schedule will inevitably be delayed and will most likely not be back on track until the week of January 17th. This happens every year so no surprises at this point.

As with the pre Christmas shipping, all current orders received had been shipped by Christmas that have arrived at BRH by 12/23/21

There is a large amount of Rapido, Walthers, Atlas and other manufacturers that we have received back orders and advance reservations from that are currently being checked in and sorted. These arrivals most likely will not ship until after the first of the year.

USPS Rate Decrease

The holiday shipping cost increase with the USPS officially ended today so prices have reverted back to lower / regular pre holiday pricing.



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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