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Old 04-07-2018, 06:55 PM
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Initiator001 Initiator001 is offline
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In May 1992 Gary Rosenfield and I made a Sales/Marketing trip to the four biggest hobby distributors in the United States. All of them located in Illinois.

Hobbico/Great Planes, Horizon Hobby, Hobby Dynamics and United Model.

AeroTech was sold by the first three distributors and we were hoping to finally get United Model to take the product line.

United Model (UM) was located away from the other three distributors so Gary and I had to take one whole day to drive there and back from our hotel.

United Model pre-dated any of the other three distributors by many years and was known for their plastic model emphasis. Even so, they carried Estes.

We had sent product samples ahead to UM to use when we had our sales meeting.

Gary and I met with some mid-level buyer who was about as interested in the AeroTech product line as day old broccoli. After nearly an hour Gary and I left but we never got an order from UM. We later learned that UM was pretty much buying Barry Tunick's word about AeroTech products. Oh, they also kept the product samples.

Gary and I returned back to our hotel feeling a bit dejected. The only interesting thing that happened was that the rental car was the first vehicle I ever drove with ABS. We needed that feature several times when dealing with the traffic going around Chicago.

The next day Gary and I started off our sales efforts at Hobbico/Great Planes.

Holleeee Cow! What a place! It was huge!

At that time Hobbico employed hundreds of people and had annual Gross sales in excess of $200 Million!

Once Gary and I got through security at the Hobbico headquarters we met with our buyer and a few other folks to update them on the AeroTech product line. Unlike the UM rep the Hobbico staff was friendly, interested and in very good humor. Gary and I were then taken on a tour of their facility. It was unbelievable. So much hobby stuff in one place. There was even a bunker where they stored all their glow fuel.

At some point Rick Piester joined up with us. He and another Hobbico exec then took Gary and I to lunch at a popular local place. The conversation was good, the food was great and Rick picked up the bill. A very pleasant time was had.

After lunch Gary and I drove over to Horizon Distributors which was located across the street (They were that close).

As we did, Gary and I looked back at the Hobbico shipping/receiving dock area and counted eighteen bays for UPS tractor trailers to back into for loading/unloading (Only three were occupied at the time).

Our visit with Horizon went well, also. As the old saying went, Horizon was number two but they tried harder. Good folks to deal with. This was where I was able to pick up the just released Estes Pro Series Patriot kit before it had probably reached any hobby shops (That story is also told here on YORF).

The next day Gary and I visited Hobby Dynamics (HD). They were located about a block over from Horizon.

The mood at HD was pretty somber. They had been pretty enthusiastic about the AeroTech line. The week before we paid our visit HD had been acquired/bought out by Horizon. Our HD buyer was pretty gloomy as she didn't know if she would have a job after HD was bought out.

Gary and I exchanged pleasantries with our buyer but HD was folding into Horizon so there wasn't much to talk about.

Gary and I then returned to our hotel, packed and drove off to attend the Danville launch happening that weekend.

So, twenty-six years after Gary and I took that trip the four major hobby distributors had become three then two when United Models was bought by Hobbico in 2008 (I think that's the right year).

Now Hobbico, the 800-pound gorilla in the hobby industry, is no more.

This just shows how volatile being a hobby distributor can be. One's size/sales means nothing.

I wish Rick Piester well as he embarks on a new chapter in his life.
S.A.M. # 0014
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Old 04-08-2018, 11:00 AM
Jerry Irvine's Avatar
Jerry Irvine Jerry Irvine is offline
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Originally Posted by Ltvscout
I still have my old 2-channel Cox/Sanwa outfit from the mid 70's.

So this isn't thread drift?
Exemptions not regulations. Please support DOT treating slow burning solids as not subject to HMR. 2015 NAR President declines!
U.S. Rockets instaship. Please buy some rockets.
The O administration believed in tax, spend, borrow, fine, mandate, monologue. D voters will soon be very happy with the election outcome!
Model rocketry is as safe as safe can be defined in human existence. Bow and pray: GH Stine, Orville, Vern, Lee, Lonnie, Carl, etc. No, really.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:05 AM
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ghrocketman ghrocketman is offline
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I LIKE meandering thread drift.
When in doubt, WHACK the GAS and NEVER touch the brake !!!
No Harm=NO Foul advocate

If you are NOT FLYING LOW in the left lane, you need to GET THE #$&@ OUT of it !

Yes, there is such a thing as NORMAL
, if you have to ask, you probably aren't
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