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FROM BEHIND THE COUNTER
 

NEWS AND UPDATES
02/17/19

The Last 10 Days!

I had a short notice invitation to go to Walt Disney World for a couple of days so I used the opportunity to check out some of the new technology that Disney is using so that I can employ these effects at the Miniature World of Trains™.

The plan was to be gone a couple of days from Saturday until Tuesday and return to BRH on Wednesday for shipping and the start of inventory. This did not occur!  Walthers informed me late on Tuesday that when I was supposed to leave to return to Greenville that the large order was to leave Milwaukee until Wednesday at the earliest.

This now would delay the delivery to you all by one day.  I received the order at around 9am Friday and got it all checked in but was not able to ship the orders until Saturday since the phones where busy and I had a lot of store traffic and sales in store. So, sorry for the unplanned delays.

Then yesterday, in an effort to catch up, I was at the retail store all day processing the back log of shipments and still did not get caught up! The phone was ringing off the hook, and as always regardless of operational phone hours, I answered all the calls. But alas, the USPS did its Saturday Pickup and there was no pickup from Fedex, so I could not complete everything. This is will done on tomorrow.

Again, sorry for the delays!

New BRH Wholesalers

To increase your chances at in stock product availability I am adding two new wholesalers. This week we are adding Emery and next week Heartland Hobby. This will greatly expand product offerings as we offer more model train items and expand our overall hobby offerings online.

Industry News

Last week MRC / JTT announced that they have sold all products lines to Heartland Hobby. A few months ago MRC announced that they had sold the entire Model Power line to Lionel.

Not sure when this will all be finalized.

Also,
Northeastern Lumber has increased pricing due to the rising cost of production.
Price increase is effective immediately!


NEWS AND UPDATES
02/07/19

Con-Cor Will No Longer Available Effective 02/09/19!

After almost 15 years I have decided not to offer Con-Cor products at all. Not that that matters since for the most part, not very much product has been available from them since we have been in business.

Con-Cor continually has had very long wait times for products announced and they have missed arrival dates constantly during this time. To get you, our customers the best overall pricing on any product, we purchase most of products from Walthers, our main wholesaler. Through the years Walthers has blamed Con-Cor and Con-Cor blames Walthers and BRH and you our customers are caught in the middle without the product you want!

We have numerous items on back order / advance reservations for Con-Cor that have not been filled. A customer  called the other day and stated that he spoke with Con-Cor and they have the product but have not shipped to Walthers so they could send to BRH for us to fulfill the customers order.

Then Con-Cor advised the customer that they could not offer the discount that BRH gets from Walthers from Con-Cor items. On 02/04/19 I sent an email to Con-Cor regarding the status of the products the customer wanted plus the back orders and advance reservations for other customers. This is their response:

"
we do not price compete sorry, Walthers buys a very large
volume of product from us along with buying min quantities that are above
any of the qty /items you inquired about below.

Your best deal at the quantities you are looking for would be direct from
Walthers."


Well that was not answering the question regarding the availability of product and whether BRH can purchase the product direct from Con-Cor as we have done numerous times over the last 15 years! So we sent another email. After two emails and no response and now the customer wants to cancel the order, I called Con-Cor.

I wound up speaking with the owner Jim Conway. He was very rude to me from the start when I questioned him about the emails I had sent. He advised me that they have had issues with Walthers in the past regarding ordering and order fulfillment. I advised that that was not what I was inquiring about. I wanted to know the stock status of the list I sent to Con-Cor. Without looking at the list Mr. Conway advised me that most of the product that Walthers has on their website are older items not in production any longer. He advised that he recently has worked with Walthers for over 100 hours to 'clean up' their database of Con-Cor items. So, helpfully that list thus our database of Con-Cor items is more accurate. But again, that did not answer the question.

Then he blamed the closure of the Hong Kong factory last August that I have discussed here in the past. This still does not explain the issues on product availability from when BRH started in 2005 until 2010/2011 when there where factory closing issues. Then lack of product from 2011 until 2018 (7 years) and the fact of product shortages during this time.

When I pressed him, Mr. Conway advised that with some items,  if they are the end of the run availability, Con-Cor will not ship to a dealer or wholesaler since the items will not be produced any longer. Despite the fact that a customer wants to buy the product now via a dealer or wholesaler. Con-Cor wants to hold on to that item to charge you, the customer FULL RETAIL PRICE through Con-Cor. Plus you would have to pay shipping on whatever you purchase from them.

So this means that the BRH customer will never receive the product from us or any other dealer or wholesaler at any discount price. Ever!!! They want you the customer to pay full price to "maximize their profit" as Mr. Conway advised.

Then Mr. Conway proceeded to blame BRH for the closure of smaller dealers that do not have our buying power. I advised Mr. Conway that BRH was that smaller dealer back in 2005 and have grown due to our persistence in low pricing and great customer service!

Well, needless to say that rubbed me the wrong way. And Mr. Conway's tone did not help.

So, as I have stated in the past via I feel that the trend from the manufacturers is to sell directly to the model railroad customer. This trend stated back in 2011 with Horizon Hobby (Athearn) trying to eliminate dealers from selling their products by eliminating access to their product database during November and December 2011.

Exact Rail and Scale Trains do the same thing. Sell only direct to customers and do not allow dealers or wholesalers to buy their product. This means you as the customer are buying more for the product plus shipping! When a dealer like Blue Ridge Hobbies with 120,000 items in our product database will allow you to buy from one source, at a discount, and combining that order into one shipment when possible. Thus saving you time and money!

So, again I tried to get an answer on the product availability in question and Mr. Conway just hung up! How rude!

So, effective with the 02/09/19 update, BRH will no longer offer Con-Cor items even though our main wholesaler still does. You the customer deserve better from Con-Cor.

Those of you with back order and advance reservations. They are still in place with the wholesaler and hopefully will be filled by Con-Cor.

New Shipping Schedule

I was informed on Friday that our Fedex Freight driver has sold his route to another route owner.

Not sure how this is going to effect delivery's, but if the last two days are any indication, this change will add another day to the shipping schedule.

Back in 2008 deliveries from our main wholesaler to BRH where taking about two business days. Orders would arrive around 9am. Over the years that time began to get pushed back as the internet became a hot bed for people o purchase items and have the shipped to them.

Up until last Friday the new arrival time was sometime between 11am and 12pm. I adjusted the shipping schedule and our retail and shipping department hours to reflect that change.

Well, we have been on the new route with a new driver now for two days. Tuesday the delivery came at 1:30pm via a part time driver in a U-haul truck and today BRH received its delivery at 1:30pm from a Fedex Freight Driver that has a route that is normally 30 miles away. BRH was his only stop in the our area on his assigned route 30 miles away.

There is no telling what will occur tomorrow or Friday or even next week. I will get the orders out as soon as they arrive and are checked in and packaged for shipment to you.

Again, yet another situation that is beyond my control!


NEWS AND UPDATES
02/02/19

January Sales Down!

While it was a busy January, it was not as busy as 2018, it was still busy!

Not sure why sales where down. Government shutdown, Polar Vortex and lack of available product could be some reasons.

Sales January year to year down 27%! Year to year new customers 0% change, Returning customers up 170%, Daily receipts  down 7% and receipt total down 32%. December 2018 vs January 2019 new customers up 60%, Returning customers up 113%, Daily receipts up 6% and receipt total down 7%. But  the last week has been strong. Hopefully the rest of the month will remain as strong!

New Distributor For BRH!

In an effort to have more product available for you to purchase we are adding about 25,000 products from Emery Distributors in Easton, PA. We are still working out the bugs in the database download from them and that should be completed in the next 2 weeks!

Miniature World of Trains Update

Just in case you missed some of the updates this week:

Fundraising for the new Miniature World of Trains
™  LLC has started. The new LLC needs $2,000,000 for PHASE I
Minimum buy in is $500.00 as an investor or you can donate any amount to help the project reach its goal!

The city has completed the feasibility study for the 14,000sf lease purchase location so the project can move forward.

A couple of interior images for the new location have been uploaded.

New updated YouTube video about the project has been uploaded.

Investors packages have been sent out to a small group of potential corporate and personal investor and the general public investor package version is available to download at the website.

Also, you can give to the Miniature World of Trains
via the new GoFundMe page as well!

More Details On All This Information Is Available On The Website

Pre Order Deadlines

February 19: Atlas Preorders
March 31: Walthers Preorders

New Cornerstone HO Small Business Center is Perfect for Business Parks

Based on tip-up style structures seen all across North America, the Cornerstone Small Business Center is a perfect location for any HO Scale start-up company! This kit includes a modern front facade with large office-style windows and entry doors, as well as a raised sidewalk, while the back wall provides easy access and a drive-in door
for trucks. These modern structures are seen in trackside business parks across the continent and the kit is selling fast, so order now!


TO ORDER


NEWS AND UPDATES
01/26/19

Pre Order Deadlines

January 30: Bowser Preorders
January 31: Intermountain Preorders
January 31: Walthers Preorders
February 19: Atlas Preorders


Update From Atlas Model RR

Atlas was notified early July, 2018 that a primary rolling stock and locomotive supplier would be closing its factory doors. Atlas immediately sent company representatives to the supplier to begin the transfer of Atlas molds and drawings and to plan production for materials in process. We are pleased to announce that all Atlas molds and recent supplier drawings have been transferred to an Atlas centralized warehouse where molds are being distributed to select suppliers and returned to the central warehouse upon production run completion.

In addition, Atlas was able to organize the production of all open purchase orders and they have been scheduled for completion throughout 2019. The most recent container has been shipped and is due to arrive at Atlas’ main warehouse in February. A list of these items will be posted next week. Keep checking the updated Atlas A-Z production schedule (found on the Atlas website) and the Atlas Blog for updates.

In the meantime, Atlas continues to work with both proven past suppliers as well as a select group of new suppliers to meet the growing demand of Atlas customers for high quality Atlas prototypical products. Atlas will be producing a wide variety of new and established model railroad products in all major scales throughout 2019. Stay tuned for more great news and product announcements from Atlas--including new tooling for two HO freight cars. Springfield Show announcements are available on the Atlas website as of Saturday AM. 

As always, thank you for your support and interest in Atlas products and services.

Sincerely,

Paul Graf, CEO
Atlas Model Railroad Co. Inc

Great for Layout Streets: New Chooch Sidewalks in HO, N and O Scales

New Chooch Sidewalks are molded in a durable flexible material that's perfect for use along streets of any configuration. They can be cut to conform to curves and intersections making it to add realistic detail to your layouts. The sidewalks come in small for HO and N, medium for HO and large for HO, S and O Scales. Sidewalk Details are also available in medium and large sizes too.

New HO and N Products from Classic Metal Works include New Billboards

If you are looking for extra realism for your HO and N layouts here are the latest vehicles from Classic Metal Works.
New 1960s police cars, transition-era trucks and trailers and all-new licensed Coca-Cola and Hostess HO billboards have arrived and are selling fast. Check out the new arrivals and order now!

New Digitrax Zephyr Express DCC Starter Set Now Shipping

The Digitrax Zephyr Express DCC Starter Set is a simple-to-use DCC control system in a simple, convenient. It is the version that has replaced the popular Zephyr Xtra and has all the features of the popular starter system. It offers simplified advanced train operation for any size layout and is fully expandable and designed to grow with your  layout. The set includes DCS52 Command Station, PS314 Power Supply, LT1 Decoder Tester and LocoNet Cable, System Reference Manual and Decoder Manual. The Zephyr Express package also includes a quick-
start guide and an instruction manual. The system is in-stock, so order now!

MANUFACTURING UPDATE

With the first production of 2019 shipping in February, there will be a short hiatus before the next items are available due to the Chinese Lunar New Year. Factories are already closing for this extended holiday and will not be back in production until the last half of February.

We expect a steady flow of product to begin soon, with numerous items being available for shipment beginning in March. Watch the website and Intermountain announcements for more details.

Upcoming Preorder Deadlines

January 30: Bowser Preorders
January 31: Intermountain Preorders
January 31: Walthers Preorders

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.

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.
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