Jump to content

Widnes Model Centre

  • Posts

  • Joined

1 Follower

Recent Profile Visitors

1,980 profile views

Widnes Model Centre's Achievements



  1. I have a sense of humour which l apply in my everyday life’. Keeps me going, being light hearted. You seem to be a leading light on this subject and l bow to your knowledge.
  2. I understand what you are saying and l don’t disagree in the main. We have lots of Perspex and that will remain. An an issue for us is that as a family if one of us tested positive, we all (at this moment in time) would have to self isolate. Shop closed. We are presently in one of those areas, avoid unnecessary travel, work from home etc. All of that is advisory. Effectively we are in a form of voluntary restrictions. Then in two weeks...... Last year and and most of this, we were in Lockdown together with Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire for longer than any other area in England. Then for around two weeks we were one of three Model shops in the whole of the UK that could have customers in! If you decide to visit our shop, please let me know. We will dim the lights in case you are dazzled and fall over the Humbrol stand. Stay Safe and Well
  3. So, our shop is safe today, 6th July, but by the 19th July, it will become unsafe? I have said in other posts , not on this one. We have a local authority that has been carrying out spot checks to see if we are Covid Compliant. Pubs, hairdressers, gyms and shops have had closure orders placed on them for varying lengths of time. We decided on a maximum number of four people in the shop. It's a big shop by most standards. We will almost certainly carry on asking for face masks and social distancing. It is all about customers feeling comfortable and safe. Our customers have said they do feel safe. It is also about us feeling safe. We will not and cannot insist on face masks. We have lost a lot of customers who have died from Covid. The number in our opinion is quite staggering for a small town. One thing that has convinced us to carry on? We had a customer who we have never seen before, in the shop last week. He was starting a new N Gauge layout as he had run out of room for his OO. Just a small N Gauge layout around 32 feet by 16 feet! He told us about being in a Covid ward last October and surviving despite being 83. His story was the stuff of nightmares. We owe him and others like him. Customers who came in today were asked their opinion about ending the wearing of face masks. Every single customer we spoke to said that they will continue to wear a face covering, a few added that they hoped we would too. You could say that we are "following the Science". Heard that somewhere before? I should add that we are both looking forward to Glasgow 2022. But will check nearer the time......
  4. Reading it from the counter: Please wear a face covering before entering the shop. This is for the protection of customers and our staff. Thank You For Your Help. Is that polite enough?
  5. A decision we will have to make in the not too distant future. It’s the legalities that scare us. I rather think we will be making the current sign even larger. We have earned a reputation as being a very covid safe environment and customers have complimented us on working so hard to make it so. It’s the Covidiots that bother us and our customers.
  6. You may find, this is information l received from the Federation of Small Businesses. The average payment to members of the public is circa £13,000. This is for people who have challenged the refusal to admit them to premises for failure to wear a mask. So the Courts seem to recognise this as law. Locally, two men who weren’t exempt were fine £1760 each for failing to wear a mask in Asda. l could go on, as you are entering private property, anywhere can refuse you entry. For any reason. Providing, it’s not for race, religion, sexuality or disability.
  7. This has been a topic for discussion long into the night. If there is no law making masks compulsory, how can anybody be exempt from a law that doesn’t exist? Thoughts? Not it looking forward to the 19th of July. Customers can be in and out as quick as they choose. Shop staff etc are there all day. We have a staff member who won’t be eligible for a second jab until the beginning of August, that puts him mid August for protection to be relatively effective.
  8. There are a few shops in Widnes and Sheffield.
  9. Interesting post. As Phil Parker says, some shops have been booming. But not all of them. As for supply issues, we have had an early warning that we should prepare for severe shortages and certainly expect Christmas deliveries to be badly effected. To avoid mass panic, this hasn’t come from any of the model railways suppliers. We have today ordered our Christmas stock in certain lines and hope for the best. Issue is if it does arrive, does it arrive far too early? Payment and storage then become big issues. Our end end of year accounts have been finalised. We lost tens and tens of thousands of pounds in sales. This and the immediate area was under Lockdown and Tier restrictions longer than anywhere else in England certainly. We are at the moment under what can loosely be called voluntary restrictions, work from home, avoid non essential travel, don’t travel into this area etc. Due to the government grants we appear and l must repeat appear to have made a good profit. We have learned that the profit will be taxed at 29%. Apparently that’s including National Insurance. That becomes payable next January, phew.... If we could afford to recruit staff, there is still the issue of social distancing between staff. More staff, less room for customers. Oh and offering them a place in a pension scheme. The good news has come from Jason, aka Steamport Southport. Part time workers don’t pay tax. I just need need to find half a dozen part time jobs. l am not quite sure how this suggestion will help us.
  10. Still suffering from a bad back with lots of trapped nerves. Plenty of time unfortunately to think what has happened. No startling revelations, no insider information but just thoughts. For as long as l can remember, Hornby have never had a Back 2 Back ordering system for trade customers. I seem to recall when we first opened one did exist. Hopefully some retailers will remember. The current system of announcements in January. We get a preview of the new items about half an hour before Andy Y puts them on here. We then jump onto here and can see all the details with R numbers etc. In previous pre Covid years we could and would travel to Margate to see them in the flesh. This could be over a period of a few days depending on how many retailers were attending. Ordering was through our rep and he would go away with a whole bunch of papers. Airfix, Hornby, Scalextric, Humbrol and Corgi. I presume at the end of the week he would have seen al his customers and had order forms from non attendees sent to him. These order forms were huge as they contained every single item on them sold by Hornby. Presumably they were then entered into an order system. Then we would wait....... well you know what would happen, you would wait too. January 2020, Centenary Year. Not only did Hornby make announcements but they even said a lot of stock would be delivered that same year. Uhh, no way, better get our orders in. Now using my imagination. We put our orders in, via email using these huge forms Hornby have. I have just looked at one and there appears to be over 1200 lines just on the Hornby Railways form. Every retailer sends one of these forms. They then land on the sales assistants desks and they input the information into a computer. That’s how it seems to work. I presume then and only then can they see that 1,947 Flying 66’s have been ordered. Now work out who gets what. How many did we make? Then we get get an email confirmation of what we have ordered, if we can actually remember what we ordered. Phil Parker has mentioned today that Hornby will soon be making their plans for the 2023 range. Logic says that 2020 may have been even earlier due to Centenary items. But this years releases would have been 2018. Had Hornby or any other manufacturer foreseen a pandemic that would see us spending our beer, cinema, sports, restaurant money on our hobby they might have made more. Anyone asleep yet? We can order off a number of suppliers using B2B and if l order 10 items and there is only nine available it will tell me. That B2B System immediately tells our suppliers what we have ordered. Not so with Hornby in my opinion due to the manual entry system. The B2B system would at least tell Hornby what volume has sold. What it wouldn’t stop is one retailer ordered 2,000 and taking the lot. Hornby would still need to have an allocation policy to ensure as many retailers as possible got some stock. Some companies would just sell the lot to the first buyer and announce that everything was sold out. Thanks for reading this if you have got this far, look forward to either being agreed with laughed out of the forum. Always good to end on some sort of realisation. Is it actually a ‘Computer Error’?
  11. That certainly hit the buffers from memory? Difficult to track certain items?
  12. Err, we have it in stock, l am saying that, we are closed today. Would need to check it hasn’t already sold out.
  13. Just a quick few words from me and mine. Haha, me and a quick few words are not really synonymous. Thank you to everyone who has given us support over the past 24 hours. The PM’s, emails, telephone calls but especially the support on this Forum has been fantastic. Might be a good time to mention our ‘noisy neighbours’ in Widnes. A lot of comments on here, for and against Hattons. Yes, as others have pointed out their physical shop is still closed. I believe the owner made a commitment to keep his staff as safe as possible. No one can dare criticise that ethos. What most won’t know is that during the time Hattons shop has been closed a banner has been placed at the entrance gate. The banner reads to the effect that the store is closed. Order online or by telephoning the Call Centre. It then reads again paraphrasing, The nearest model shop is Widnes Model Centre about ten minutes from here. Complete with our contact details including our full address. Hattons actually contacted me to ask if it was okay to put the banner up! Didn’t have to think about that for very long! Hopefully that will put a smile on your face and certainly worthy of a round of applause? Now that is a company helping their local model shop. Thank you Richard Davies of Hattons you made sure we have reached this point in the Covid pandemic.
  14. Once again Mike, you have distracted me from what l should be doing. In short, just told what Band we were in. Excellent points raised. We have had numerous poor quality websites. We have been unlucky in our choices. We paid £7000 for an all singing and dancing website. It was more like a broken record. So much so the Director gave us all our money back. That’s how bad it was! Not sure why but he left and set up his own business. The current website he donated by way of an apology. He became a friend. We have been operating with an online presence for more than ten years. Mail order to us is picking up the telephone or answering an email. We have one customer who does write to us and that’s refreshing that people haven’t forgotten how to write a nice letter. We have a Facebook page with nearly 7,000 followers. We post regular updates and orders come flooding in, especially on Friday evening when we put any new arrivals into stock. The vast majority of which are collected very quickly. I know we spend less than a £100 a year on advertising, all on Facebook. Proof of the pudding was during Lockdown. Notes stuck through the door, shop phone redirected to my mobile. Had to have it plugged in to keep the battery topped up. If l am being totally honest it was exhausting. It was practically 24/7 and often customers just wanted to talk. Especially those who were on their own. Financially it wasn’t great for the hours we were putting in, but it was something coming in rather than nothing. Blowing our our own Trumpet? Yes, because we were providing real customer service and at times it was real fun. Nothing can take away the pleasure of handing over a parcel with paints etc or whatever to a customer who hadn’t seen anyone for days, possibly months. You cant do that even with the best website in the world.
  15. Well, had chance to read all of this. Despite what you might think, we are very much in Hornby’s camp. Am l going to return all my items that l have treasured for so many years? No. If l wanted l certainly would, but as Binns Road has gone certainly not driving down to Margate. Family history of connections to Binns Road would have my mother and aunts turning in their graves. Thinking aloud, why was it the women in the family that worked there? Communication from Hornby needs work. I suspect they know that. Openness, honesty and integrity are big in our business. We expect the same, no matter who we are dealing with, be it customers or suppliers. We would like to get to the bottom of the Tier System, metaphorically speaking. It seems to us a tad flawed. As a family run business we are all in agreement. This is last year or so has seen challenges that l suspect none of us could ever have envisaged. As a model shop, we have to be grateful that we are still in business. We have seen too many businesses go to the wall and the jobs that go with them. Calls to boycott Hornby? Why would anyone want to see the company that has fulfilled our childhood dreams in various guises disappear? Tired now, still got work to do on a promotion. If l don’t get it right my wife Gill will have me in Tiers. Final word, who saw their first model railway in a Department store? I did.
  • Create New...