Much has been made over the last few years in the press about the importance of buying local, and independent. The plight of small businesses has been a hard one over the course of the last couple of years with the pandemic. However our hobby seems to come out of it fairly well. But the good work cannot stop ow.
As a small business owner myself of course I could not agree more! And of course that extends to my modelling needs too. Having been in the hobby for many years I have spent a lot with model shops all over the land. I am lucky with my job I get to travel round the UK a bit so have sampled more shops than most.
Now this post is entirely from the heart. The model shops I mention below as rating highly would not have a clue who I am. When I’m shopping I like to keep it anonymous, and keep it free of ties to any of my blogs. None of the shops have asked for any praise. However, I’m just calling it as I see it.
Not one to sit and slag people off behind their backs, you also won’t see me criticising any stores. Business is hard enough at present without people sitting on the internet pressing the destruct button. If someone is missing from the list, then chances are I have used them, just not found them worthy of commendation. That may be driven by a combination of factors, but normally it will boil down to service, and how they have reacted when an issue has arisen.
Where to find your local model shop
Google is your friend, as is the UK Model Shop directory. This site provides a great resource for upcoming shows and events as well as find your local store. Where they can they also provide further information on opening times, and what they sell. This combined with customer reviews tells you all you could possibly want to know. Handy eh!
My list of shops
Bure Valley Models (Aylsham, Norfolk)
Caistor Loco (Caistor, North Lincolnshire)
Collets Models (Exmouth, Devon)
KJB Models (Hensall, North Yorkshire)
Upstairs Downstairs (Sandown, Isle of Wight)
Over time I shall add more to the list, I am already working on write ups for more. However I never publish on the back of a single experience. The reviews and opinions I share here are built up over time, and with multiple interactions. True first impressions count for a lot, but as a hobby railway modelling, especially N Gauge is heavy on the detail. As such so are my writings! I figure as much detail as possible gives the most balanced commentary.
Want your store to feature? Drop me a line and I’ll take a look by all means. I may even make an anonymous test purchase or three to trial the service. However, please remember I don’t do paid features and advertorials. In the same way many small model shops boast they are proud to be independent, so am I. I’m not sure I could ever write a truly honest review if I was being paid for it.