|Woody's, a thriving model/gaming shop in Burgess Hill, Sussex|
Thankfully, some of the larger manufacturers and distributors have changed their supplier agreements in the last couple of years. In many cases it is not possible to sell certain ranges (Warhammer being an example) through an online shop, unless you also have a physical "bricks and mortar" store. Many suppliers also restrict the levels of discounts available online. This is a good move, as it now means physical (and ofter smaller) independent stores can now be viable again. Its just a shame that big companies like GW took several years to realize that although online sellers with no overheads could sell masses of product on narrow margins, the lack of physical stores killed of the next generation of gamers (example - most kids get into Warhammer by visiting and playing games at a local store).
On that note, I now have a great independent shop near my office. It means I can go there lunchtimes, chat with the owner, pick up single pots of paint mid-week when I've run out etc etc. The shop has been open for a year and has slowly built up a clientele. The owner is constantly increasing the range of what he sells and is always looking at new distributors and wholesalers. For me as a wargamer, these sorts of shops are a better experience than the city centre ones where entering through the door enters you into a retail experience lottery where somebody in a red/black polo shirt will either harass you, ignore you, help you, or despise you.
Its just so good to see independent model and wargames shops opening again. Only a couple of years ago I was mourning the demise of shops like K.C. Games in Worthing, or LocoNotion in my own town of Peacehaven. At the time we all assumed online would kill them all off and we'd never see physical shops again.. Hopefully, hobbyists will now value these shops and give them some custom.
Anyways, rant over. Things are getting better. I'll do a separate post on the independent shop I mentioned, with some nice photos.