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Date: 10/04/19 08:33
MB Klein to close walk-in store?
Author: CPR_4000

Read on FB this morning that MB Klein is closing its retail store and will go completely online. Always thought about stopping there en route to or from NJ but never did.



Date: 10/04/19 10:13
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store?
Author: PFE_COI

From the MB Klein website:


"Thank you to the many model train enthusiasts who have visited our MB Klein walk-in store over the years. We are proud of our model train history and grateful to the many customers who helped to make the hobby store experience so special for the past 50+ years. This document addresses the most anticipated questions about MB Klein’s closing of its walk-in retail store in Cockeysville, MD, to transition to the next, all-digital chapter of our business.

1. What is the news?  To keep up with the times and devote ourselves to offering the best ecommerce experience for our customers, MB Klein, Inc., will be closing its walk-in retail store in Cockeysville, Maryland, on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. The company will keep its warehouse in Cockeysville and continue to serve model train enthusiasts around the world through its website, ModelTrainStuff.com."


There are answers to addition questions as well...click on Retail Store from the main site to see the entire posting.


Ron



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/04/19 10:14 by PFE_COI.



Date: 10/04/19 10:49
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: CSX602

It was sad to read those words early this morning...

Having been a MBK customer for 35+ years I've always received excellent service at the stores...  I've bought a lot of nice trains in person at MB Kleins, met a lot of great MBK employees along the way, received a lot of good train information and modeling advice there, and recall what it was like to be personally greeted by Teddy as you walked in the door (and by other staff in later years).  Even living 60+ miles away I considered it my favorite local shop. I feel sorry for those in the Baltimore area that enjoyed it as their local, yet best on east coast, shop.  

But I can't say that I and others didn't see this coming at some point.  The downtown store was meant for walk-in customers and the new location more aimed at the high volume and growing mailorder operations.  As any business caters more to mailorder ops the in-person business is going to suffer.  So when the "store" part became 15% of what it had previously been a couple years ago (to expand the warehouse and mailorder operations space) it was really only a matter of time...   Smaller store -> less attractive to walk-in customers -> fewer walk-in sales -> mailorder becomes 99%+ of sales -> thus less/no reason to have/staff store...  And not taking advance reservations didn't help the walk-in store side either.

Going forward I see a few potential issues that I hope they are anticipating and working out...  I wonder if/how it will impact their relations with the model manufacturers (as some used to require storefronts).   I wonder how damaged merchandise will be handled (and with their sales volume I'm sure a lot arrives and becomes damaged).  That scratch and dent shelf in the store isn't an option when there isn't a store...   So will they just relist those damaged items as if new, or go through a more painful process of adding individual online listings with description/photos of the flaws?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/04/19 20:05 by CSX602.



Date: 10/04/19 10:54
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store?
Author: bigmc83

Having grown up not too far away, I've seen that store go from it's downtown location to Cockeysville, only to watch the retail store portion succomb to warehouse space.  Visiting was fun from a nostalgic standpoint, but if you wanted anything, you had to wait for a salesman to go find it in the warehouse after you searched online.  If it keeps them in business, then that's all that matters.

They mention the in-store pickup issue in the Q&A of their website.  I do hope they find a solution as I can see locals not wanting to pay sales tax AND shipping costs.

-Sean



Date: 10/04/19 12:34
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store?
Author: Streamliner

My experience is that, for the most part, people don't get enticed to buy their first train set, for themselves or their kids, by seeing something online, or even in a catalog.  They get interested by seeing trains running in hobby shop, toy & department store window displays and in-store layouts.  Train shows mostly attract folks who are already interested in the hobby.  The model railroad hobby is having a hard enough time attracting younger customers.  The loss of "brick & mortar" stores, like MBK and others I could mention, just makes matters worse.  

Hope you are all well,

Allen Drucker



Date: 10/04/19 12:59
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store?
Author: meixel

I'm glad I bought something there last summer!

John Meixel
Longmont, CO



Date: 10/04/19 13:16
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: chessie7602

I wonder if they will go back to having a vendor table at the Timonium Great Scale Train Show.  One of the things I did after the show was go to the store to purchase items because they quit selling items there.



Date: 10/04/19 13:38
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store?
Author: needles_sub

Streamliner Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My experience is that, for the most part, people
> don't get enticed to buy their first train set,
> for themselves or their kids, by seeing something
> online, or even in a catalog.  They get
> interested by seeing trains running in hobby shop,
> toy & department store window displays and
> in-store layouts.  Train shows mostly attract
> folks who are already interested in the hobby.
>  The model railroad hobby is having a hard enough
> time attracting younger customers.  The loss of
> "brick & mortar" stores, like MBK and others I
> could mention, just makes matters worse.  
>
> Hope you are all well,
>
> Allen Drucker

If the store is well stocked with models and quality train sets, then yes, a brick an morter store is a plus.
In the LA area, one of the most notable train shop has empty shelves. Putting models length wise to fill shelves is sad. The store used to be stocked to the point boxes of models were sitting on floors. Book selection was great, but now the store is a shell of it's former self. And the prices are full pop, so no incentive to buy there.
Another only orders when customer orders something, but only then if the orders are big enough to get free shipping.
The train store in Orange county buys used trains, so they always have something new to the store, but used.
Getting the latest releaes, not so much. Lots of used stuff.



Date: 10/04/19 14:34
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store?
Author: Streamliner

needles_sub Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Streamliner Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > My experience is that, for the most part,
> people
> > don't get enticed to buy their first train set,
> > for themselves or their kids, by seeing
> something
> > online, or even in a catalog.  They get
> > interested by seeing trains running in hobby
> shop,
> > toy & department store window displays and
> > in-store layouts.  Train shows mostly attract
> > folks who are already interested in the hobby.
> >  The model railroad hobby is having a hard
> enough
> > time attracting younger customers.  The loss
> of
> > "brick & mortar" stores, like MBK and others I
> > could mention, just makes matters worse.  
> >
> > Hope you are all well,
> >
> > Allen Drucker
>
> If the store is well stocked with models and
> quality train sets, then yes, a brick an morter
> store is a plus.
> In the LA area, one of the most notable train shop
> has empty shelves. Putting models length wise to
> fill shelves is sad. The store used to be stocked
> to the point boxes of models were sitting on
> floors. Book selection was great, but now the
> store is a shell of it's former self. And the
> prices are full pop, so no incentive to buy
> there.
> Another only orders when customer orders
> something, but only then if the orders are big
> enough to get free shipping.
> The train store in Orange county buys used trains,
> so they always have something new to the store,
> but used.
> Getting the latest releaes, not so much. Lots of
> used stuff.

Yes, it must be a GOOD brick & mortar store.  So sad to hear that the few, remaining, local So. CA shops are not being competitive on pricing and keeping their shelves well stocked.  As for used items, that business can keep the doors open when times are tough.



Date: 10/04/19 17:45
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: HB90MACH

chessie7602 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I wonder if they will go back to having a vendor
> table at the Timonium Great Scale Train Show. 
> One of the things I did after the show was go to
> the store to purchase items because they quit
> selling items there.


If they do go back, that would be a good place to sell the scratch and dent. When I go to shows I keep an eye open from scratch and dent and damage with the thought, are there usable parts to be had at a cheap price?



Date: 10/05/19 05:12
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: VaCentralRy

Looks like they timed it to have one last big weekend from the Timonium show at the end of October. I would imagine the store will be packed that Saturday.

John



Date: 10/05/19 08:18
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: CSX602

VaCentralRy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> . I would imagine the store will be packed
> that Saturday.

LOL...  The current store is packed anytime more than 20 customers are there... or if 4 customers try to fit in the current little HO freight cars display area... 

Here's the story from the Baltimore Sun when MBK announced they were moving out of downtown to Cockeysville (story from 13 years ago)...
https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-2006-07-10-0607100037-story.html
(Note...  The proposed development the original store was torn down for still has not been built)

From that article:
"Klein assured Reckling... that the new store will be bigger and better."

Frankly, if that was ever achieved at Cockeysville it didn't last long...   The current store has shrunk to being smaller than the HO freight cars aisle used to be at the downtown store.

But the model trains marketplace has changed...   Any thoughts of big layout displays attracting a younger generation are gone.  Any thoughts of a train store being able to keep a steady stock of anything - in an era when most everything is one-time one-shot limited production - is now impossible...  So what you have left really isn't a train store.  It's a in-out shipping operation.

PS.   I wouldn't expect them to become a vendor at the Timonium shows again...  Too many logistics problems and inventory tracking problems.   What if they had 4 of an item, took 2 to the Timo show, sold both at the show and returned to find they had sold 4 online during the show.  That's a problem for a business claiming online inventory being precise and immediately updated.  They used to maintain (and still apparently do) two separate inventories - one for the warehouse and one for the store.  What used to be taken to the Timo show was out of the store inventory.   Now with the closing of the store there likely won't be any store inventory.   (BTW, they probably see that one of the reasons to get rid of the store)   




 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/05/19 09:35 by CSX602.



Date: 10/05/19 08:52
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: aehouse

I started shopping at Klein's almost 50 years ago when the shop was downtown on Gay Street.  It had evolved out of the original hardware store that had been on that site, in the family, since the early 1900s.

Art House



Date: 10/05/19 09:10
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: emd_mrs1

In addition to the article indicating they are closing there are two other letters circulating on face book which are critical of the changes in the store, possibly written by (former?) employees.

Michael



Date: 10/05/19 09:44
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: CSX602

From the time they moved the store to Cockeysville the entire operation seemed to be focused on getting rid of the store... and eventually converting to all mailorder.

Who wants to go into a hobby shop, find little to nothing on the shelves, and then have to go wait in line at a computer terminal to see what they have in the warehouse...  Then upon checking that computer (same as the website) and actually finding something in stock that you want, have to fill out a slip of paper and hand to a store clerk for them to have to go and find it "in the back".   Then wait 15-45 minutes for them to return with it (or hear they couldn't find it).  It almost seemed as if that setup was designed to fail, and force customers just to mailorder from home.



Date: 10/05/19 11:53
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: Streamliner

CSX602 Wrote:
> But the model trains marketplace has changed... 
>  Any thoughts of big layout displays attracting a
> younger generation are gone.  Any thoughts of a
> train store being able to keep a steady stock of
> anything - in an era when most everything is
> one-time one-shot limited production - is now
> impossible... 

I agree that the MR business has changed, but strongly disagree otherwise.  A strong merchant will invest in substantial inventory, to insure that his shelves are always well stocked.  The problem today, is that so many dealers want only a SURE thing, only order stock to fill orders in hand and few are willing to roll the dice.  When it comes to inventory, you win some and you lose some, you are never right 100% of the time.  And, when you make mistskes, you dump the price and blow the stuff out.  

 



Date: 10/05/19 14:30
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: bioyans

Don't some manufacturers, such as Walthers, require a vendor to provide proof of a brick and mortar retail location, in order to carry their product line?

Posted from Android



Date: 10/05/19 15:11
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: dan

rents are so expensive, no wonder....



Date: 10/05/19 15:37
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: CSX602

Streamliner Wrote:
> I agree that the MR business has changed, but
> strongly disagree otherwise.  A strong merchant
> will invest in substantial inventory, to insure
> that his shelves are always well stocked.  

It used to be that on very successful selling items that shops could place second, third, fourth and maybe more orders to replenish stock of those items that sold so well.  On most items that is no longer possible.  The distributor level is gone and what is left is the manufacturer and dealer, and neither wanting to carry any inventory.

And in these modern times of less QA/QC on the part of manufacturers the ordering of a huge inventory by any shop could be a money pit if the item arrives with serious defects and nobody wants them.



Date: 10/05/19 18:36
Re: MB Klein to close walk-in store.
Author: Streamliner

bioyans Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Don't some manufacturers, such as Walthers,
> require a vendor to provide proof of a brick and
> mortar retail location, in order to carry their
> product line?
>
> Posted from Android

I have not checked lately, but I would bet that a great bank account balance and a great credit score could easily change any MR supplier's mind these days.  "Oh, you have no B&M location, but wish to place a $50,000.00 wholesale order?  Yes, of course, what is the shipping address?"



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/05/19 18:37 by Streamliner.



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