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FROM BEHIND THE COUNTER
WE ARE KEEPING YOU INFORMED
 

NEWS AND UPDATES

08/07/22

BBB Removes Rating

So, for some unknown reason we found out the the Better Business Bureau (BBB) removed our A+ rating! When I found out I immediately contacted them to find out why?

The explanation was that the BRH information was not updated. I advised an update was not needed and nothing has changed. Within two days the A+ rating was restored.

I have found over the 18 years BRH has been in business that the BBB is not a reliable and is not a neutral operation. In the case of BRH vs BBB they refuse to see the side of our business. I have always had to 'fight' with them to maintain  our A+ rating as they seem to but blinders on when it comes a businesses side of a 'story'.

Did you know that there is no where to complain about the BBB?!?!

As with other online reviews services most are blatantly false and ratings like Yelp and the Google weigh negative ratings higher then  positive ratings. This holds true for not only BRH but other businesses seeing the exact same thing.

For example Yelp buries and has even has removed positive reviews. Google refuses to removes bogus reviews even then the negative review has the wrong company name in it, They where not reviewing negatively BRH yet Google lets the review stand after numerous complaints that I have filed!

July Sales

July sales where again down based on year to year comparisons by 21%. This is due to the normal summer dull drums, lack of product available to sell, the high cost of living and general world wide negativity!

Year to year shows new customers down 47%, returning customers up 112% and daily receipt totals down 23%.

New model railroaders are not entering the hobby, costs of product have increased by a least 25% and there is less available to purchase plus the over all economy is in very very rough shape.

Shipping Department

The move of the shipping department to a new location has been completed for the most part. Some organization of some paperwork still needs to be done after hours but the new, more efficient location, should decrease the time it takes to ship orders to you our customers!

Fedex Offline

Since around Wednesday at 9am BRH has been without Fedex Shipmanger software as the software for some odd reason will not initialize.

I contacted the Fedex Shipmanager help desk early Thursday morning. The lower level rep could get the software to initialize so he had to escalate to the department that was authorized to fix it!

I was told that it would 24 to 48 hours for someone to call. I immediately advised the rep that I could not sit  by the shipping department phone to wait for this new person to call back sometime in the next two days! Fedex should at least give a time window for the callback that was more reasonable.

Well I stuck around the phone for two hours and no call was given. 4 hours later a call was received but I was not at that phone. A message was left with a call back number to the lower department. You could not get back to the person that could fix the issue who left the message. This happened 3 other time during the day.

Around 3pm I received a call from  my sales rep. I did  not know I had a direct sales rep since my last one quit 10 years ago.

She got involved and claimed to have some contacts she could reach out to. I advised here to advise them I would be but the shipping department phone until 4:30. So for the next hour and a half there was no call. I was working on other things and finally logged out for the day at 5:13. Later that evening I checked the BRH voice mails and Fedex called at 5:20!

Now to Friday.

I called the help desk main number and again got the run around and advised this person to note transaction ticket that I would be available at the shipping department number until 11am.

I received a call on my cell phone! When I asked where they got that number he advised it was in the notes. Probably from the sales rep. Within 30 seconds of this call I received a call on the shipping department line. I asked the cell caller rep to hang on ( I did nt put him on hold) while I answered the store landline. I advised that rep that I had someone on the cell line. He quickly advised "Great! I close the ticket" and immediately hung up before I could say a word! I went back to the cell call and this person was gone as well!

So here I am left hanging.

I called back in and was advised that the ticket was closed and they had to start over yet  again. As of this update I have not received a call since 10:30am Friday. So the Fedex system is still not initializing.

I the past when I have had issues like this where the lower line employees and not responding to fix and issue. When I try to reach out to a supervisor I get the run around.

So then what I do is reach out to the presidents or CEO's of companies via their emails listed on the internet. I know that these emails are really not a direct link to them, but usually have a person or department that monitors these emails.

In the past I have reached  out to Bob Iger former CEO of Disney. I reached a call, not a email with an hour. Very impressive! And the question I had was resolved. In fact Disney wnet  over and above. Also, I was having some issues with our Point of Sale software so I reached out to the CEO of Intuit. I received a call from tem within two hours. Since I could not the software issue resolved due to an upgrade on the Intuit side and I was not going to pay $2,000 to upgrade the software I had, the finally agreed with me and sent me the new version with the upgrades for free! I did not ask for that. Again, very impressive.

So, back to Fedex.

As of this update, late Thursday I sent and email to the Founder and CEO of Fedex regarding this matter and the processes within Fedex to resolve this issue.

As of this update I have not received any response back. 

So, I reached out at 3pm Friday to the upper executive management at Fedex:
eaneal@fedex.com; jdberry@fedex.com; bmhale@fedex.com; FWSmith@fedex.com; rsubramaniam@fedex.com

As of this update I have not heard a word from anyone at Fedex that will resolve their software issue.

And so the poor customer service world wide continues.


07/24/22

News Letter Last Week

Sorry I missed the news and updates email last week. I just had way to much going on with the move of shipping operations last week to the new location I got a bit behind so there was no time for updates.

USPS Carrier Screw Up

Last Thursday the USPS fill in carrier picked up some 45 packages for shipment around 314pm. Unfortunately this carrier encoded ALL of the packages as being delivered to the ship from address which was not correct! This caused a lot of emails and call to BRH with customers thinking there shipments where sitting at BRH which was not correct.

I have been keeping an eye on that days shipments and all seems to be arriving at the customers ship to locations. It was the on line tracking information that was messed up!

Also, this past Friday the USPS Carrier was a no show for our scheduled pickup of outbound shipments to our customers!

And so it goes!

Walthers Handling Fee

As of this update BRH has not been charged a handling fee for orders which is a good thing so BRH has not had to pass this cost to our customers.

Quiet Week

The past two weeks have been quiet. This is both good and bad.

Since I needed time to close down the Pleasantburg shipping operations and get the new location open and operating while closing the old location, the "hot" and "cold" uneven online sales has been a good thing.

Even emails and calls have been off a bit.

As of this update outbound shipping all caught up and BRH is running on the "new normal".

Faster Order Processing

With the move of shipping operations and the late in the day inbound deliveries coming at around 3pm each day, BRH can now ship your orders to you one day faster.

The new location allows a 12 hour quicker processing of your orders for shipping. The old way meant the deliveries had to be transferred to the old Pleasantburg location which for the last 2.5 Covid Years, has been a PITA. Though the old days of processing orders in 3 days instead of the current 5 to 7 days seems to be gone forever!

As always I process orders as fast as I can so there is no need to call or email about your order status. It is rare there are issues and if there are issues, I will reach out to you with a call, email or global update via the news and updates.

Fox Valley Models

Fox Valley Models brand has been sold to Scale Trains which means that BRH can no longer offer FVM any longer. Not sure what will happen to all  of the back orders with the Milwaukee warehouse since, as of the update, we have not been advised if they will honor all of the outstanding back orders and advance reservations.

The honest thing to do is honor those orders but I feel that will not occur.

FVM has had a lot of production issue even before the Covid situation. So this sale of the brand is no surprise.

Regarding Scale Trains.

Initially Scale Trains signed up 32 dealers when they first opened for business in 2014. Shortly after that, and I mean shortly, they would not allow any more dealers like BRH to be allowed to sell their product. Scale Trains like Exact Rail, have chosen to sell their product  direct and have cut off most hobby shops around the world. What does this mean? While Scale Trains makes a great product, the do not want to allow you the consumer to get any discounts on new items!

Be prepared as I still feel the next big manufacturer that will disappear this year will be InterMountain. As BRH has 100's of outstanding orders we have placed with them and they have not produced hardly anything.

Time will tell.

Oregon Rail Supply

After years and years of limited supply and delays delays and more delays it seems that they may have gone the way of Con-Cor and MTH-Railking. They may have recently gone out of business.

Recently a blog post stated "
I called ORS their voice mail was full.
If they are out of business"

As of this update we have not been officially notified by the wholesaler or the manufacturer.

Walthers MAP Policy

Let me perfectly clear! BRH does not believe that MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) helps anyone. In fact this policy costs you, the model railroader, more money for already expensive products. BRH does not agree with this policy.

As of 07/15/22, Walthers has implemented the MAP policy. So some items in the 910, 920 and 948 series of items now will cost you about 12% more for absolutely no valid reason.

Dealers, like BRH, should be able to sell ("advertise" via our product search page) without restriction.  BRH stands by this and has done so since 2005.

So when you see the note in the product description "MAP PRICING IN EFFECT", this means that this item has the forced higher price. BRH has no control over this.

File a complaint with Walthers!


07/10/22

Changes At BRH

When I started BRH back in 2005 I had a business model and for the first 7 years that model worked very well but in 2012 it went by the wayside.

At that time, because of lack of product availability, manufacturing issues and economic issues, it was decided to reduce the size of the retail store from 5,000sf to 2,400sf with the plan to move into the Miniature World of Trains
 in 2013. That move to MWOT
 did not occur due to lack of space at that venue.

From 2012 to 2015 product availability got worse and seemed to bottom out in 2016 as sales at BRH started to increase again.

Fast forward to 2019 with great sales and an open retail store. Then Covid hit and BRH had to rethink the business model again as the retail store operations had to go to a by appointment only operation with online retail sales.

From day one, 99.9% of BRH sales come from online sales and since very very few people came to the retail store during Covid , March 2022 I stopped all retail store visits in anticipation of a move to a new venue. Also, product availability is still an issue with very little consistency in product availability due to supply chain issues which still exist today.

The other issue is lack of product to sell. When we started BRH in 2005 there where about 130,000 items available to order each day with about 90,000 items in stock each day. Today there are only 39,000 items in stock to sell each day! That makes a big difference in sales. Hard to sell what you can't get!

Shipping to BRH has been erratic since 2020. There is no consistency. For example a wholesaler did not ship an order just before the holiday last week thus delaying shipment to the customer. On Tuesday they overnighted  the order however Fedex did  not deliver on Wednesday! The order arrived on Thursday! So much for overnight!

Other issues include higher gas prices and plans for the move to MWOT
™,  we have tried to consolidate days we ship.

Well, with the anticipated move into the new Miniature World of Trains™  location to be announced in the forth quarter of 2022, I have closed the retail location and have moved shipping operations to a temporary location.

What does this mean?

Local customers, as they have done in the last  2 years will need to order online. Our other online customers will continue as usual. In fact, due to the fact the shipping location is closer to my home, I will save gas, travel time and have more shipping and processing flexibility.

This all will help keep the cost of product to you, our customers, as low as I can get them.

Bottom line  is BRH  is not closing, just reinventing itself for the 3rd time!

Shipping Last Week And This Week

With the move to a new shipping location, the last shipping from the Pleasantburg location was on Thursday. The equipment move to place on Friday for a restart on Saturday but there was some computer connectivity issues that finally got resolved late last night.

Also, the July 4th holiday messed up the wholesaler shipping and delivery to BRH. I should be back on track by tomorrow. So apologies for the delays.

The Next Two Weeks

Over the next 20 days I will continue to finalize the move out and cleanup.

USPS Rates Increase Today!

Unfortunately USPS postal rates go up today as I announced on 06/26

Walthers Fees

As of this update for orders this week there have been no additional handling fees that Walthers has charged and we have been able to order every day as BRH has done in the past.

Online sales have been strong this past week which is a good thing!



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
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