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Author Topic: Tower Hobbies  (Read 1320 times)

Online Tony Drago

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Tower Hobbies
« on: February 13, 2018, 08:23:43 AM »
Heard that the Tower Hobbies in Reno NV. is now closed.


Offline Chad Hill

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2018, 09:40:48 AM »
I ordered some spare OS parts from the main warehouse in Champaign Il in mid-January. They shipped the next day, and I received the order in full a few days later. I did read in a news report, however, that that warehouse was supposed to close at the end of January. Since my order, I have received several discount coupon emails from Tower.

Offline Mike Griffin

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2018, 05:40:17 PM »
I think they are struggling and may not make it.  They are out of stock on a lot of product.

Mike

Offline GERALD WIMMER

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2018, 05:46:21 PM »
Suppose that means we should all look at their web site and find something we need to buy.  #^
Not sure if Stunt-hangar members alone can prop it up .
Seen too many hobby stores go in my time.
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Offline Fredvon4

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2018, 06:09:04 PM »
As Hobbico struggles with trying to find a new owner and CH 11 bankruptcy ----I suspect more and more delayed and back orders...some to never be filled like Super Tiger parts and Engines for last three years...Top Flite Luster coast seems to be dead and gone now

I hope they survive
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Offline Vincent Judd

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2018, 11:10:47 AM »
I'm afraid it's a warning sign.  Our hobby is on life support, it figures that the hobby shops would be as well.  As much as we try to get the youngsters involved, there just doesn't seem to be as much interest.  Too many distractions I guess.  It's not only the kids, it's their parents.  I remember working with my Dad, building our first Ringmaster in the basement.  Crash, rebuild.  Repeat over and over.  Flying in the cold Michigan winters.  Who does that with their kids anymore?  It's not just our hobby, it's everywhere.  NASCAR, NHRA, golf, most of the professional sports are suffering from declining attendance/participation.  Kids today just want to sit in front of the TV playing video games.  They want instant gratification, they don't want to sit there and take months to build their pride and joy.  You can criticize the ARF, ARC movement, but at least it's keeping some people interested and maybe even bringing in a few new ones. 

Our local RC club has had days devoted to teaching kids how to fly.  We got very little interest and finally gave up on the idea.  Very sad.

Getting back to ordering from Tower, I needed some "hobby stuff" lately and went to my go to places, Tower and Horizon.  Many of the items were out of stock.  Huh?  Never saw that before.  Just on a whim, I went to my other go to place, Amazon.  I was able to find everything I needed.  Not substitutes, the actual stuff I was looking for.  I was amazed.  Being a Prime member, I also got free 2 day shipment on everything. 

Just wanted to point out that if you need something and can't find it in the usual places, check Amazon.  In the mean time, I'm praying that Hobbico and all it's subsidiaries will be able to reorganize and stay afloat.

Offline Tim Chenevert

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2018, 11:32:05 AM »
I feel Vincent is right about our sport and the venders who sell the support products. It is really sad. In my day we rode our bicycles to the hobby store and bought what we needed. We built planes and flew rockets and that taught us how to do things, how to build things and to save our money for what we really wanted! Sad to see the decline in parts, kits, stores and the people ( kids ). Tim
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Offline Geoff Goodworth

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2018, 11:56:08 PM »
Vincent, I too, fear that you are correct.

I didn't do a lot with my dad—a child of the depression, he was pretty smart but not well qualified so he had to live off his wits.
I used to build all my own stuff—battle ships out of pieces of wood, etc, then plastic kits then control line models.

My kids are now 32 and 26 and when they were young, I the devil's own job prising them away from what I called the electronic baby sitter.

I too, have watched the hobby shops morph into toy shops to the extent that even though there were OS LA 40 and 46 engines in the show cases of what was once the premier hobby shop in Sydney, I had to ask for the OS catalogue to show the counter jumper—I couldn't call him a salesman—what I wanted when I needed a new wrist pin for an LA/FP 40. 

It's sad really.

Online Brett Buck

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2018, 12:23:12 AM »
I'm afraid it's a warning sign.  Our hobby is on life support, it figures that the hobby shops would be as well.  As much as we try to get the youngsters involved, there just doesn't seem to be as much interest.  Too many distractions I guess.  It's not only the kids, it's their parents. 

    I think that is the result of several generations of the same problem, specifically, it's more or less incomprehensible to kids, and their parents, that you would go out and do something, anything, that is not organized into a league/group/etc. by someone else. Kids don't go out to an empty lot and play baseball, mom signs them up for baseball, takes them there, monitors their every move, takes the home again.

   And the notion that would could start with a stack of raw materials and end up with some end product is so far out of their experience that that can't even imagine doing it. A very good friend of mine was complaining about her husband buying a Shopsmith and building a few pieces of furniture. When he was done, she wanted to sell all the tools, because he had finished the furniture, and also, she thought it was a big waste, because she could have bought a sideboard at a furniture store for the cost of the materials and equipment. She put no value whatsoever in the effort and care that when into it nor the gain if skills and knowledge it took, or how her husband and son spent a lot of time together working on it. She had her furniture, why continue with all that noisy stuff in the garage?  This is not some harpie or ignoramus, it was just something so foreign to her world that she just didn't grasp it.

    CL airplanes are not even an issue, and trying to explain why CL in particular is doing good or bad is more-or-less pointless. We are talking about the 800-lb gorilla of hobby suppliers unable to make it any more selling RC toys. It doesn't even effect us directly, we will still be able to get anything we need for the foreseeable future, Tower/Hobbico/Great Planes notwithstanding. But you can't fight the larger problem, the world has moved on whether we think it is stupid and shortsided or not.

    Brett

   

Offline Bill Morell

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2018, 07:33:32 AM »
    I think that is the result of several generations of the same problem, specifically, it's more or less incomprehensible to kids, and their parents, that you would go out and do something, anything, that is not organized into a league/group/etc. by someone else. Kids don't go out to an empty lot and play baseball, mom signs them up for baseball, takes them there, monitors their every move, takes the home again.

   And the notion that would could start with a stack of raw materials and end up with some end product is so far out of their experience that that can't even imagine doing it. A very good friend of mine was complaining about her husband buying a Shopsmith and building a few pieces of furniture. When he was done, she wanted to sell all the tools, because he had finished the furniture, and also, she thought it was a big waste, because she could have bought a sideboard at a furniture store for the cost of the materials and equipment. She put no value whatsoever in the effort and care that when into it nor the gain if skills and knowledge it took, or how her husband and son spent a lot of time together working on it. She had her furniture, why continue with all that noisy stuff in the garage?  This is not some harpie or ignoramus, it was just something so foreign to her world that she just didn't grasp it.

    CL airplanes are not even an issue, and trying to explain why CL in particular is doing good or bad is more-or-less pointless. We are talking about the 800-lb gorilla of hobby suppliers unable to make it any more selling RC toys. It doesn't even effect us directly, we will still be able to get anything we need for the foreseeable future, Tower/Hobbico/Great Planes notwithstanding. But you can't fight the larger problem, the world has moved on whether we think it is stupid and shortsided or not.

    Brett

   

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Offline Mike Griffin

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2018, 11:54:59 AM »
    I think that is the result of several generations of the same problem, specifically, it's more or less incomprehensible to kids, and their parents, that you would go out and do something, anything, that is not organized into a league/group/etc. by someone else. Kids don't go out to an empty lot and play baseball, mom signs them up for baseball, takes them there, monitors their every move, takes the home again.

   And the notion that would could start with a stack of raw materials and end up with some end product is so far out of their experience that that can't even imagine doing it. A very good friend of mine was complaining about her husband buying a Shopsmith and building a few pieces of furniture. When he was done, she wanted to sell all the tools, because he had finished the furniture, and also, she thought it was a big waste, because she could have bought a sideboard at a furniture store for the cost of the materials and equipment. She put no value whatsoever in the effort and care that when into it nor the gain if skills and knowledge it took, or how her husband and son spent a lot of time together working on it. She had her furniture, why continue with all that noisy stuff in the garage?  This is not some harpie or ignoramus, it was just something so foreign to her world that she just didn't grasp it.

    CL airplanes are not even an issue, and trying to explain why CL in particular is doing good or bad is more-or-less pointless. We are talking about the 800-lb gorilla of hobby suppliers unable to make it any more selling RC toys. It doesn't even effect us directly, we will still be able to get anything we need for the foreseeable future, Tower/Hobbico/Great Planes notwithstanding. But you can't fight the larger problem, the world has moved on whether we think it is stupid and shortsided or not.

    Brett

   

Brett you put this about as well as it could be said.  I concur wholeheartedly as sad as it is to me personally. 

Mike

Offline Fredvon4

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2018, 12:54:51 PM »
Not too sure how many possible renaissances for growing population back to OUR YOUTH can happen in the future as every generation was less and less exposed to garage/basement building... be it radio, cars,boats, airplanes, drones  (yes Virginia there are folks home brewing drones)

I lost track of the numbers of US baby Boomers ... I am closing in on 63....not sure how many are left to enter retirement, remember the toys of youth, and want to be like a lot of us and RETREAD.... perhaps still several million...I just don't know

No matter... this would be last generation to have the memory of post WWII toys and the high interest in a LOT of things Military or space

We are all some product of out personal life's experiences. what was popular, cool, envious of....

I can conceptually be romantically enthusiastic about some 1875 living in the wild wild west but rapidly wonder how I would enjoy that with out a stupid cold coke-cola from a refrigerator and a flush toilet

I remember first TV and a real Transistor radio.... of course large family with little disposable income...we envied the richer kids and parents...so dad wanted to have some of the good stuff... found Heath Kit and he and I toiled hours and hours to understand and self teach electronics to ultimately have a working TV and Stereo pre amp and we even had to Build the testing and calibration tools

I had another thought for the future.... how many millions did the instant gratification thing with toys and were some what disappointed and now 30 ~40 years later... are seeking the fun BUT with more disposable income willing to re-explore some same or similar leisure time activity

Yes times, interests, and technology changed... but I think there is hope for some hobbies...actually thee are some very interesting state of the art changes to a LOT we do and have fin with..... who would have ever thought we could actually get a light enough battery to haul a big assed plane all over the sky and go home with out the slime   (still a IC snob..but just me)

Son and I built a RC 10 electric race car back around 1984.....he raced it locally in VA and was somewhat competitive.... I tried hard to get him the best of the best costume rewound motors and Hand selected Batteries and high end chargers....  these things today are very easy and relatively inexpensive to find

Future the same as we remember....no... are we near the total demise of true model building and fun or professional competition... no

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Offline Robin_Holden

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2018, 01:24:07 PM »
Hi guys from a chilly North Yorkshire , England . It’s very sad , our hobby is disintegrating. So many happy memories after discovering the magic of aero modelling when I was 10 years old. My first kit , around 1956 ,  it was a Veron brand rubber powered Chiltern Monoplane . It cost the equivalent of 30 cents U.S. After that I was hooked. My first engine , a Mills .75. Took me a while to get the hang of starting the little monster , but it was great fun.
Most days after school I would stop off at one of the Hobby shops on the way home on the bus. Then it was time spent on the building board after dinner in the evening. During the summer my pal and I would be on our bicycles with our C/L models strapped to our backs on the way to the local park . No silencers , we just flew and flew until we ran out of fuel or crashed ! The sheer joy of getting a load of balsa together and knocking up a Peacemaker with a noisy 2.5 (.15 cu. ins. ) diesel  up front. We never missed Friday Club Night . Ogling the older club members latest Thunderbird or Nobler . Happy days. We certainly all owe a huge debt of thanks to the like of Bob Palmer and George Aldrich .
I for one will keep it up this great hobby of ours.

Regards ,

Robin.

Online Gary Dowler

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2018, 01:26:30 PM »
    I think that is the result of several generations of the same problem, specifically, it's more or less incomprehensible to kids, and their parents, that you would go out and do something, anything, that is not organized into a league/group/etc. by someone else. Kids don't go out to an empty lot and play baseball, mom signs them up for baseball, takes them there, monitors their every move, takes the home again.

   And the notion that would could start with a stack of raw materials and end up with some end product is so far out of their experience that that can't even imagine doing it. A very good friend of mine was complaining about her husband buying a Shopsmith and building a few pieces of furniture. When he was done, she wanted to sell all the tools, because he had finished the furniture, and also, she thought it was a big waste, because she could have bought a sideboard at a furniture store for the cost of the materials and equipment. She put no value whatsoever in the effort and care that when into it nor the gain if skills and knowledge it took, or how her husband and son spent a lot of time together working on it. She had her furniture, why continue with all that noisy stuff in the garage?  This is not some harpie or ignoramus, it was just something so foreign to her world that she just didn't grasp it.

    CL airplanes are not even an issue, and trying to explain why CL in particular is doing good or bad is more-or-less pointless. We are talking about the 800-lb gorilla of hobby suppliers unable to make it any more selling RC toys. It doesn't even effect us directly, we will still be able to get anything we need for the foreseeable future, Tower/Hobbico/Great Planes notwithstanding. But you can't fight the larger problem, the world has moved on whether we think it is stupid and shortsided or not.

    Brett

   
Very well said, Brett, very well said.
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Offline John Watson

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2018, 04:56:53 PM »
If all the US vendors belly up it will be the overseas vendors we would have to turn to. Tower doesn't really have anything C/L. Brodak is go to for C/L.


Offline Peter Nevai

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2018, 06:25:45 PM »
The world has certainly moved on. Technology has made it increasingly easy to reach almost anyone on the planet, resulting in marketers fighting for the attention of the mass market. People are bombarded with marketing campaigns tailored to the individual. Kids have so many choices thrown at them right in their homes via just about every electronic device so that they need not go out and look for something to do. Just sit back and download games and entertainment that covers every possible adventure, location, activity imaginable. You can play NFL football, Basket Ball, Base Ball, you can surf, you can fight any war....... on and on ad infinitum.

It has grown to such alarming proportions that several national health agencies have even given it a medical term "Technology Addiction" and passed laws governing how much time kids can spend in the virtual world. It is a real and growing problem. As Brett said it is a generational problem. Once air and space travel became almost common place kids and adults lost interest. Air travel is deemed mass transportation nowadays, and we are renting Russians to get us up and back from the ISS.

Many material science and engineering workers are growing gray with fewer and fewer young people entering those fields, while there is a glut in just about any IT related field you examine.  There are still those who gravitate towards fields that require direct hands on, but those are getting fewer and fewer as advanced CAD CAM robotic machine shops advance in capability. So there you have it, short of a cosmic event that generates a EMP pulse large enough to wipe most every electronic device I do not see people reverting back to doing things by hand, or even taking interest outside of the few niche enthusiasts like us.

All we can hope for is to maintain enough visibility that those with disposable income and enough time become interested enough to give our hobby a try. As mentioned ARF's and ARC's are the vector that mitigates many of the hurdles a newcomer faces joining the hobby. Some will progress to trying to build their own, many will not, most will tire of it and move on. All that can be hoped for is that enough of a cottage industry remains to keep the hobby from going the way of the buggy whip.

Visibility is the only thing going for the hobby CLPA particularly. Because no matter how you cut it when we fly we draw attention, it's the one unavoidable fact. We participate in a curious activity, which is close in to potential spectators. We are not consigned to large open out of the way spaces that RC requires. We just need to remember that not all visibility is necessarily good. So when we fly we need to step on as few toes as possible. Use a Muffler, Be courteous to others in a shared space environment, be nice, and be out going to inquiries. It is the only thing we have to compete with the technological realm because it is harder for people to get all immersed in their technology when they are outside, away from their Wifi Hot spots, and screens with poor performance in sunlight.
Words Spoken by the first human to set foot on Mars... "Now What?"

Offline Mike Griffin

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #16 on: Yesterday at 07:48:31 AM »
There are several facebook groups that deal with control line flying and components and it seems that there is still a fairly strong contingent of CL hobbyist in foreign countries as well as other aspects of flying models.  Whether is be here or overseas, I think the hobby is suffering from attrition that everyone else has mentioned.

Mike

Online Brett Buck

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #17 on: Yesterday at 10:07:40 AM »
There are several facebook groups that deal with control line flying and components and it seems that there is still a fairly strong contingent of CL hobbyist in foreign countries as well as other aspects of flying models.  Whether is be here or overseas, I think the hobby is suffering from attrition that everyone else has mentioned.

        As mentioned above, CL in particular is doing relatively well. We aren't suffering the sort of massive collapse that the modeling hobby in the large seems to be suffering. We have two large suppliers, RSM and Brodak, and a host of cottage industries. The result is that you can get better stuff more easily than you could at any time in the past, as far as stunt goes. The stuff we actually need from major industries (raw materials like wire, cable, silver solder) will always be available. We will always be able to get 4-40 Allen screws. You can make, and part of the point of the entire event, is to make things yourself.

    Of course, you *could* argue that we have long since "collapsed" from the late 50's-60's where CL was all that held the entire industry together, but that was inevitable as soon as you could buy a 5-channel digital proportional RC set, pre-made, for $200. The boom happened because CL was essentially the only game in town, not because people thought it was particularly great.

       We seem to tend to start with the premise we are failing and then launching immediately into what we can do to "fix" it. I don't see it that way, I think we are succeeding pretty well, and many of the supposed "fixes" seem to cause more problems than they solve, when you look at them objectively.

    As everyone knows, I am a Pollyanna optimist and a "people pleaser" but I genuinely believe we are in a lot better shape than we could be otherwise.

     Brett

Offline FLOYD CARTER

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #18 on: Yesterday at 01:30:49 PM »
It seems impossible for a "big box" hobby retailer to go bust these days with all the interest in high dollar ARF models and those drones.  Must have been some terribly incompetent business management going on.
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Offline Fredvon4

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #19 on: Yesterday at 01:48:45 PM »
I was sincerely impressed by Brett's observation that I agree with

"We have two large suppliers, RSM and Brodak, and a host of cottage industries. The result is that you can get better stuff more easily than you could at any time in the past, as far as stunt goes. The stuff we actually need from major industries (raw materials like wire, cable, silver solder) will always be available. We will always be able to get 4-40 Allen screws. You can make, and part of the point of the entire event, is to make things yourself. "

We can argue if MECOA buy up of all of FOX parts and tooling and NEVER producing one FOX Item is worthy of angst

For near term in my eyes..... lost Super Tiger and looks like many Top Flight products...like Luster Kote
Norvel, Fora and some other desires engines are scarce...but Hobby King seems to find a way to fill some of the void

Brodak seems to actively try to get new proven stuff into our hands
Randy Smith fills a void as does Dub Jett

many sources for good and near perfect props
many sources for near perfect plans, laser cut wood, parts, tanks, better glues, and indeed I can now find real good wood vs the hit and miss of kit wood....yes I miss Lone Star...

Potential with all the available supplier via inter net is NOW so much better than when I was 15~25...60S~80S
"A good scare teaches more than good advice"

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Offline Peter Nevai

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Re: Tower Hobbies
« Reply #20 on: Yesterday at 04:59:43 PM »
So long as I can still get Dubro Hinges,ball links, horns, tanks, props Monokote and the like I'm good. The one draw back is when the big box suppliers go out the cost of everything goes up. Which does not help the hobby.
Words Spoken by the first human to set foot on Mars... "Now What?"


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