Shut Up and Take My Money!

There’s been a lot of talk in our world lately about the death of the speed shop. Even Leno has discussed it. The speed shops of yore, places where you could pick up a good ¾ race cam, a Sun tach and some of those yellow Lakewood traction bars, have more or less disappeared from the American landscape.

I actually spent two years working in such a place, Automod Atlanta. I’ll let you guess where it was located. (Hint: Atlanta.) I got the job by placing an ad in our regional SCCA newsletter: “I’m about to graduate from college and am seeking a job in the automotive world.”

Brian Hernan, the owner of the shop, saw the ad, called me up, and invited me in for an interview. I started work the Monday after graduation–first in the warehouse, but eventually graduating to a desk on the sales floor.

This was pre-internet. Our retail beat centered on the local SCCA scene, but our wholesale accounts stretched far.

Here’s the really cool thing: We catered to the sports car world. If it improved an MGB, 240Z or VW Rabbit, then we sold it. And in many cases, we actually stocked the part right there in our warehouse-rows of pallet racks containing all of the day’s top performance brands, like Hella, Cibié, Weber, Momo, Nardi, Kamei, Zender, Koni, Ansa, Amco and K&N.

You wanted a roll bar for your MGB? We had one in stock.

Needed a front spoiler for your 240Z? Should I pull a urethane, fiberglass or ABS plastic one? Fiberglass hood for a 5.0 Mustang? We stocked ones made to our own design.

Weber tuning questions? Let me get Brian and he’ll help. We stocked jets, parts and pieces for both down-and side-draft models. Plus we had the Pat Braden and John Passini Weber tuning books right on the shelf.

I left there 22 years ago to join the GRM family. Automod never made the jump to the internet, and I’m pretty sure they’re gone now.

I want to slightly change gears, but don’t worry. This will all tie together shortly.

Whenever I’m on the road, I try to visit some local guitar shops. In reality, any piece of guitar hardware, either new or used, it just a few keystrokes away. But there’s something magical about hunting for it in person, and I have been lucky to visit killer guitar shops all across the country: Nashville to Austin, New York to St. Louis, and Las Vegas to San Jose.

During a recent trip to New York-my annual winter pilgrimage to see family and grab a nosh while taking advantage of the seasonally low hotel rates–I hopped a train to Brooklyn. My destination was a place called Main Drag Music. I found them on the Googles, and it was one of the half-dozen shops I visited during those few days in my urban paradise.

Going to these different places also forces me to see different parts of a city. You never know what you’ll come across, right? Anyway, while in Brooklyn I found a pretty big independent music store, especially by New York City standards.

The dude who worked there saw me eyeing a bass. “Try it,” he insisted. So I did.

No pressure. No hard sale.

Then he saw me looking at the effects pedals, those magical little stomp boxes that can make you sound like Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan–okay, not exactly, but you know what I mean.

“Looking for something in particular?” he asked.

“Sabbath.”

“Here, you want this one,” he replied without hesitation, handing me a silver metal box from a small Finnish company called Darkglass Electronics. “I have it on my pedal board.”

Then he ushered me to a soundproof practice room and brought me a ’78 Fender Precision Bass.

Half an hour later, I put down the guitar. Closing time was approaching, and I figured it was best to not get locked inside the store. While such a situation could lead to the ultimate jam session, as best I could tell the store did not contain a Chinese restaurant.

“How’d you like the pedal?” was all he asked.

The price was close to $250. I figured that I could probably find it online for less. In my book, that’s a lot of money for an effects pedal–like, a lot.

But, at least in my mind, I did the right thing: I handed him my credit card.

He gave me info, and the store invested in the inventory–never mind the rent and other brick-and-mortar expenses. He let me try it out to my heart’s content. He made the sale.

Fast-forward to today, and I’m still in love with that piece of equipment. It would have taken me several other purchases, I figure, to find this tone. In the end, his advice and knowledge saved me time and money.

We’re all looking to save a buck, and I fully realize that ordering things online is easier. You can summon nearly anything to your door in a day or so, from a new bicycle to a 48-roll pack of toilet paper, by barely moving a muscle.

But when someone makes an investment in our scene, I give them the nod. If we don’t return the favor, then I’m going to run out of places to stop while visiting Brooklyn.

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Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
7/28/16 2:30 p.m.

There is something intrinsic about picking up a part and touching it. It's something electrons on a screen will never do.

Hasbro
Hasbro SuperDork
7/28/16 2:31 p.m.

I'm sure I met you at Automod. Little did I know that I was in the presence of future GRM greatness. Great little candy store.

06HHR
06HHR HalfDork
7/28/16 2:36 p.m.

Automotive Machine Shops are dying out too, down to exactly none in my town from 4.

oldeskewltoy
oldeskewltoy UltraDork
7/28/16 2:53 p.m.

having someone guide you regardless of the sale.......

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/28/16 3:00 p.m.
Hasbro wrote: I'm sure I met you at Automod. Little did I know that I was in the presence of future GRM greatness. Great little candy store.

That place was awesome. I was there 1992-'94.

SilverFleet
SilverFleet UberDork
7/28/16 4:23 p.m.

I miss being able to go to the local speed shop and have the guy behind the counter delve into a tome to pick out the perfect stuff for your build. And often, the markup wasn't too terrible, especially if you got the "jobber" price. I think there's only one or two speed shops left around here, and they have a web presence and tuning facilities.

captdownshift
captdownshift UberDork
7/28/16 4:30 p.m.

I blame it on guys who work in speedshops but only utilize them to fill 2 big bottles of nitrous and opt to overnight everything else from Japan.

And Motovicity.

Hasbro
Hasbro SuperDork
7/28/16 5:12 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote:
Hasbro wrote: I'm sure I met you at Automod. Little did I know that I was in the presence of future GRM greatness. Great little candy store.

That place was awesome. I was there 1992-'94.

Sometimes I'd just swing by to see what was parked out front - always something good. Do you remember any of these:

-Metalflaked cherry red slopenosed Karmin Ghia - fast drag motor, loud

-74 yellow europa

-80 silver Accord hatch. 1600 lbs., low diameter tires sticking out of the fenders, old school autoxer. Spent a bunch there on this one.

Very good times, man.

D2W
D2W Reader
7/28/16 5:17 p.m.

I think captdownshift nailed it. In my business I buy hundreds of thousand of dollars in parts a year. Even the very large distribution houses are getting to the point that they do not stock a lot of parts. Unless its something you use several times a year, and specifically ask them to stock it, with the agreement you will buy it if you don't use it in six months. Seems harsh right. That is the way our economy is going. I do a lot of custom one off machines, so I don't use the same parts all the time. Even though they are not special I'm still stuck with them going to the factory to get the parts which a lot of the time takes 8 weeks. Now scale that from a 20 million a year house to a local supply house that has to deal with internet sales.

On a side note, I am lucky enough to have a 4 wheel parts distribution house right in my back yard. so I get internet pricing and a storefront to buy at. Best of both worlds, but of course very rare.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory UltraDork
7/28/16 5:57 p.m.

I remember how excited we were to go pick up a new set of Super Swampers at the speed shop an hour away.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
7/28/16 6:24 p.m.

I duilt my first small block race motor under the guidance from the man behind the speed shop counter in Natick. A place called Performance City. I probably built 20 more motors after that. Always getting my stuff from them. I may have cried a little when they closed l.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/28/16 8:02 p.m.

Pretty much all of my guitar gear comes from our local shop, the Guitar Attic. (Full disclosure: I wrote most of the copy on his website. )

A couple of months I walked in, and Randy, the owner, goes, I got something that you might want. It was the DigiTech Trio, a kind of foot-operated drum machine. He showed it to me and spoke highly of it. At the time, I wasn't quite ready for it.

A month or so later, I asked him: So, tell me about the Trio. And he did, as I got the full demo plus a test drive.

In reality, I probably could have found it for a few buck less online, but he made the sale. Plus he invested in the inventory.

And then, just because, he gave me the optional extra foot control on the house. I don't think a faceless corporation would have done that.

PS: He was right. I totally love it.

mndsm
mndsm MegaDork
7/28/16 8:56 p.m.

It's funny. I had the opportunity to be that guy when i would bartend at the brewery. The opportunity to show people my passion, and curate a good beer experience was amazing. I was never selling, only sharing my enjoyment. Those places are all but dead.

Antihero
Antihero Reader
7/29/16 4:52 p.m.

What model of pedal from Darkglass? This might be relevant to my interests

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/29/16 6:45 p.m.
Antihero wrote: What model of pedal from Darkglass? This might be relevant to my interests

Vintage Microtubes.

Scott_H
Scott_H Reader
7/29/16 7:08 p.m.

Back in Phoenix my go-to parts place was Mini Sports. Don Roberts and his wife Sharon ran the two stores there. There have never two better people on this planet than Don and Sharon. I had a 240Z and bought all of the maintenance parts for it from them and picked up a rear sway bar there as well. This would have been 1980-85.

I sold the Datsun and bought the Lancia Scorpion (same one I have now). After changing the timing belt for the first time I could not get it to start. Don knew nothing of Fiat engines but he certainly knew the basics. He walked this 21 year old through it and before long I found that the Italians timed the cams off off #4 and the distributor was 180 off. There was no Google back then and he took the time to help me.

They also had this girl who worked there who I (along with most other guys) had a huge crush on. She was cute but also knew her car stuff. She was getting ready to install an 18RG into her Celica. Just about as close to perfect as it gets.

I was at the opening of the (then) new track at Firebird and the Cobra Club was running a track day. Don had his BP Cobra there. Don had been the National BP Champion in '68 (IIRC) in that car. He gave me a ride doing a few hot laps around the new track. I still remember that. I just Googled his name and found this:

http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/chassisNum.aspx?carid=6749&idNumID=617

How I wish there were more places like Mini Sports and people like Don and Sharon today.

>Scott

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
7/29/16 7:38 p.m.

I liked this post more than any other staff-related post in any kind of recent memory.

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle Dork
7/29/16 8:25 p.m.

I get it. I flip through the magazine and enjoy it but I primarily subscribe to support this site.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/29/16 10:08 p.m.
Vigo wrote: I liked this post more than any other staff-related post in any kind of recent memory.

Thanks. That was a fun column to write.

wae
wae Dork
8/1/16 9:58 a.m.

+1 to being one of the best editorials that have been published (and there's a lot of competition for that!).

It resonated a bit for me because for all my life, my Dad has been self-employed running a local business in the homebuilding/remodeling segment. For the last few decades, it's been focused on kitchens and his niche is custom work in higher-end neighborhoods. He'll go to the job site, take a bunch of measurements, design a layout, specify all the various cabinets (many of which are custom orders), specify a countertop, and present the prospect with the plans and a quote. So many times, that prospect gets completely bent out of shape when Dad refuses to let them walk out of there with a copy of the plans without signing a contract. Lowes and Home Depot might be able to hunt around for the right SKU to price out a job, but they lack a design staff and the expertise. So many folks don't realize that the reason a little specialty shop should be more expensive is because what you're buying isn't a SKU, it's knowledge.

The same thing comes up frequently with people looking for motorcycle gear. I hear the recommendation to go to a local shop, try on helmets/jackets/whatever to find the right size and the brand that you like, then go order it online and save a few bucks. Makes my blood boil.

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
8/1/16 10:11 a.m.
wae wrote: The same thing comes up frequently with people looking for motorcycle gear. I hear the recommendation to go to a local shop, try on helmets/jackets/whatever to find the right size and the brand that you like, then go order it online and save a few bucks. Makes my blood boil.

Oh man, yes. I tried on a bunch of helmets at the local MC superstore, and none of them felt right. I was shopping in the ~$100 range. A salesman offered to help, and he found a Shoei that was close, then opened up packages of cheek pads for me to try, and got the helmet fitted just right. He had me in a $350 helmet. I probably could have saved a lot by buying online, but I never would have figured out the perfectly comfortable setup that way. I dropped the coin on it, and never regretted it.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/1/16 3:56 p.m.
wae wrote: So many folks don't realize that the reason a little specialty shop should be more expensive is because what you're buying isn't a SKU, it's knowledge.

That is so true.

Thanks again for the nice words on the piece.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/1/16 4:00 p.m.

Also, our local guitar shop just got this:

IMG_5312

You can see it here.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse SuperDork
8/3/16 6:35 a.m.

The googles show Automod Atlanta is still in business.

Found this website: http://realpages.com/sites/examples/automod/page3.html

LanEvo
LanEvo Reader
8/4/16 10:35 a.m.

If you were checking out basses at Main Drag, you might have played my old '74 Jazz:

They took in in partial trade for the gorgeous '66 Jazz I bought from them:

I've bought at least half a dozen guitars/basses from Main Drag and Rivington Guitars. Also done quite a lot of business over the years with Ludlow, Matt Umanov, and the old Rudy's. No need to ever set foot in a Sam Ash or Guitar Center when you've got such great independent shops around here.

I try to do the same with car parts. I do tons of business local shops in NYC and north Jersey. If I'm looking for something specific (like a set of period-correct Carlsson wheels for my 190E or an Alpina steering wheel for my E30) I'll call the owner at Guten Parts and he'll find it for me. If I need new Nomex gloves, I'll go to Driving Impressions where I can try a whole bunch on to make sure the fit is perfect.

With the local places, prices aren't significantly higher than online sources, but you do pay sales tax (and I don't have a problem with that). And it's not just about "supporting local business." There's value added in that they provide immediate customer support; more important, they have a huge amount of knowledge that they bring to the table. I don't need to spend time researching stuff online if they already know what they're doing.

bubbleman
bubbleman New Reader
12/29/17 9:53 a.m.

As we know, retail in general is suffering from the ease of on-line buying.  There's still a great speed shop, Bruce's, located nearby in Rockaway, NJ.  They cater to the rod and muscle crowd, so there's little there for me, but it's fun to walk in and browse.  Lots of "hard core" parts on the floor, and they have a dynamometer for tuning.

Another genre that's all but gone from NJ are "foreign" car parts stores.  One of the best in the mid '70s was Aztec Foreign Car parts (stores in Somerset and Springfield).  I used to hang out at the Springfield store.  It was a magnet for sports car guys like myself.  That's where I met David Kayser, later of Chelsea Motoring Literature.  He and I have been good friends ever since.

I am lucky enough to live within 2 miles of Driving Impressions.  That's like a club house for the sports/race car addicted.  There's always someone working on their track day project in the back of the shop, and owner Bob Zecca is always willing to help with my projects.

I feel it's worth the price premium to support the local retail stores.   You get instant gratification walking home with that needed part or tool, a ton of tribal info in the process, and you help keep a facet of the hobby alive.

Happy New Year!

Chris_Webb
Chris_Webb
12/29/17 10:13 a.m.

Great article about the truth of retail. My family was in retail for over thirty years before shuttering our business so I’ve lived the ups and the downs of this story.  I’m buying my brake rotors and tires from a local shop here in my area that supports both our community of enthusiasts and families in our community whom they employ.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse UltraDork
12/29/17 12:55 p.m.

I agree with being able to hold something in your hand to determine quality. But I disagree with the counter sales help. It must be a lost art today, because when I would go into those places, 99% of the time I knew more about the part I needed, the location it was in, and how long it would take to get. The douche behind the counter usually had no idea and spoke like Jeremy Freedman from the Simpson’s. 

classicalgas
classicalgas New Reader
12/29/17 1:02 p.m.

 

 

Great article, so true.

I've been buying, almost all online, for my recently acquired 92  Miata. I'm in a small town,  we don't have anything better than Nappa and Autozone. Even with all the info available on NA Miatas online, about one in five of my purchases have been less than I'd hoped, or just not quit right. If I'd been able to handle the part, check it against the car, I'd have got it right much more often.

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
12/29/17 1:13 p.m.

In San Diego, I can only relate somewhat. There never were any car performance "super stores" out here*; about the closest thing to that was Performance World which carried helmets, suits, and gloves, which was really nice to be able to try them on before buying. OTOH, they didn't have much in the way of go-fast parts for cars. They weren't a huge store so it was understandable that they couldn't afford to stock parts for every car someone might want to work on. They could order parts, but that reduced the situation to not much better than ordering via mail (this was pre-Interwebz).

You have (had?) to travel to Los Angeles to the larger stores that were more likely to have the stuff on-hand.

*I'm ignoring drag racing shops.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
12/29/17 1:32 p.m.

it's a shame, our local import shop closed two years ago after suffering severe losses after Hurricane Sandy. In the trailer out back was the entirety of a Fiat dealership's parts department. He bought it all when the dealer stopped carrying Fiat (and they pulled out of the country) all gone because the place was built right on the edge of the marshes and they were literally up to the rafters in salt water from that storm.

They tried to reopen, but between the loss of their stock and the damage to the building, just could not do it

DanVolvo
DanVolvo New Reader
12/29/17 2:16 p.m.

I miss those stores too, they had their own smell and feel. Internet is like a USB stick compared to a Vinyl record, better in some ways but lacking warmth and interaction

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/17 3:22 p.m.

Your thing is guitars. Mine is hardware. 

Man, I miss old time hardware stores.   Digital natives have no idea what they are missing. 

(BTW, my Dad owned a music store, so I spent a heck of a lot of time in one)

Great article!

iba1052
iba1052
12/29/17 3:39 p.m.

Harry’s Hot Rod Shop in Grand Prairie, Texas is still in business.  Harry’s used to post contingencies at the local drags, sponsor some racers, and was featured at some Monster Truck shows.  I worked with the event director on the Monster trucks for several years. 

Machine shops:  Reher/Morrison in Arlington, or I just use my longtime friends shop.   We have a couple of lathes, Kwik Way boring bars, Sunnen homes and pin fitters.  If I can’t find it I’ll just make it. 

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Reader
12/30/17 10:27 a.m.

One thing that used to be HUGE was going to a shop, having them order something then you went back there to pick it up. That has almost 100% disappeared. I spent thousands of dollars that way back in the '90s and early 2000s.

759NRNG
759NRNG Dork
12/30/17 11:18 a.m.

Here in my neck o da woods I've noticed a steady increase of perf/custom fab shops popping up. 'FastnLoud' wannabes perhaps, speed shops laden with shiny do dads, not so much, but most seem to be busy and very willing to take your $$$$.

TheRX7Project
TheRX7Project Reader
12/30/17 11:19 a.m.

Two shops come to mind in the Milwaukee area- Borchardts Speed Automotive for the drag and circle track guys, and Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies for the road course guys.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/30/17 11:47 a.m.

There are actually a couple of relatively new speed shops near me. One is attached to a body shop. The other is affiliated with a car dealer that specializes in classics and whatnot (as well as typical cars).  The latter shop also has a dyno. There is a clutch and flywheel shop near me that has been around since the 60's. I would argue the rise of imports made local speed shops difficult. Let's face it, when all a store really needed to stock was Ford and Chevy bits (and maybe a few Mopar bits, but probably not), keeping a decent inventory wasn't a huge financial commitment. Then imports came along. And computers. A lot of speed shops didn't adapt quickly enough.

Sadly, most of the indy music stores around here are gone, which is a shame. 

Bike shops are a double-edge sword for me. I have been buying bikes parts online and via mail-order since the early 80's.  As a result, I install them myself. Even bikes I've bought from stores are often bought unassembled to save a few $ and I do that task at home.  I do try to buy parts and whatnot from a few shops, but it's hard.  I go to one shop and buy stuff there mostly because the owner puts a lot of his own time into a trail system I ride on a lot.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/30/17 11:54 a.m.
classicalgas said:

 

 

Great article, so true.

I've been buying, almost all online, for my recently acquired 92  Miata. I'm in a small town,  we don't have anything better than Nappa and Autozone. Even with all the info available on NA Miatas online, about one in five of my purchases have been less than I'd hoped, or just not quit right. If I'd been able to handle the part, check it against the car, I'd have got it right much more often.

You could also try contacting the online equivalent of the local speed shop - there are specialists who know your car really well. The battle the speed shops played against "the internet" is the same struggle that specialist shops deal with when competing against anonymous eBay sellers and discount warehouses. They have the knowledge to get you the right parts. Support these specialists or they'll go away.

For your 1992 Miata, you can ask a guy who literally wrote not the book on the car, but three of them. 

 

BTW, I've found that 99% of the time someone says "shut up and take my money", they don't know how to deal with you saying "OK". 

2GRX7
2GRX7 New Reader
12/30/17 12:06 p.m.

@ DSW - If you were on the Island, then you must have gone to S-K Speed-originally in Rockville Centre and now in Lindenhurst, I think.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
12/30/17 12:07 p.m.

onto other hobbies. in Ocean City NJ was FL Abbots Sailboats. He was an all around Ships Chandry and builder. While he stopped building with the sunfish and moth, he still stocked parts. It got to the point where his rudders and centreboards for the sunfish were so much better than Alcort's, they sent a cease and desist letter to him as he was cutting into their business.

 

Anything you needed to know or needed to buy for a sailboat, he had it. Building is still there, but empty, Fran has been dead for a few years now and everything just sits

Satch_Carlson
Satch_Carlson
12/30/17 4:14 p.m.

I enjoyed this column so much that I registered in order to sign on and tell you that. It reminds me of a column I wrote for AutoWeek many, many years ago called "The Parts Man." It was spurred, I suppose, by my time behind the counter at the Rally Stripe, a sports-car parts emporium in Anchorage.

Ah, the good old days!

Jim Pettengill
Jim Pettengill HalfDork
12/30/17 6:04 p.m.

Scott H:  relative to Don Roberts - way back in the early '70s I lived in Flagstaff and ran SCCA events in Phoenix.  One time at an "autocross" at Phoenix International Raceway (they used a few cones to show you the line on the infield road course, and the lower half of the banking) we heard this wonderful sound from the part of the road course that was over the hill, outside the oval.  Roberts was testing two Cobras for a customer, a 289 FIA roadster and a Daytona Coupe, both real cars not copies.  So just for fun, he entered the Daytona in the autocross.  Of course he took FTD, but he also spun it into the infield in a big way on his second run near the old turn 9, just missing a big saguaro.  Can't see anyone doing that with a real Daytona these days.  Don also had a really quick MGB as I remember.

Jim Pettengill
Jim Pettengill HalfDork
12/30/17 6:10 p.m.

And welcome Satch, the reason I kept my Autoweek subscription for many years, the same for Hemmings Sport and Exotic.  You were one of my inspirations to start writing , first here at GRM for many years, then elsewhere in a variety of fields.  33 years and 180+ articles later I'm in your debt.  I also remember the Piggue of Plastique at an SCCA Pro Rally in Nevada, where we were running a turbo Corvair.

 

Slainte.

loosecannon
loosecannon Dork
12/30/17 6:27 p.m.

I really miss going into a shop and saying "I need a thermostat for a small block chevy" and their only question is "165 or 180 degrees?". Now you have to know the VIN, if the vehicle has AC, is it a 283,305,307,350 or 400 and after answering all that, they still won't have it. I went to Canadian Tire to get an inline fuel filter for my 1971 Suburban and they absolutely could not provide me with one because their computer only showed the one attached to the carb. 

Crackers
Crackers Dork
12/30/17 7:02 p.m.
captdownshift said:

I blame it on guys who work in speedshops but only utilize them to fill 2 big bottles of nitrous and opt to overnight everything else from Japan.

And Motovicity.

LOL! I know it took over a year, but I finally got the joke. 

759NRNG
759NRNG Dork
12/30/17 7:46 p.m.
Satch_Carlson said:

I enjoyed this column so much that I registered in order to sign on and tell you that. It reminds me of a column I wrote for AutoWeek many, many years ago called "The Parts Man." It was spurred, I suppose, by my time behind the counter at the Rally Stripe, a sports-car parts emporium in Anchorage.

Ah, the good old days!

The 'Satch Carlson' get out !!!! Some of the finest funniest snarkiest editorials came from this very man...and in my estimation nothing has come close since your  leaving AW.....LM and his son are some of the most self righteous shiny happy people ever,.............. the only saving grace with that periodical(AW) IMHO was dear miss Denise McLuggage a true WOMAN way before her time. Satch, I hope you continue to contribute...peace out 

Wally
Wally MegaDork
12/30/17 7:52 p.m.

In reply to 2GRX7 :

I grew up in Lynbrook about a 15 minute bike ride from S-K. I spent lots of time and a bit of money there and around the block a tiny hobby shop north of the train tracks that had lots of old imported model cars kits.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
12/30/17 8:15 p.m.

We just visited Blick’s Art store in Chicago today and one of the store clerks gave my 15 year old daughter 20 minutes of brush and paper advice.  She wants to always go here to get her art stuff.  

Now I know why they are called starving artists.  

stroker
stroker UltraDork
12/30/17 9:21 p.m.

Was Satch the guy who wrote about seeing a 1st Gen Rabbit with the license plate "Brer"?

Boris3
Boris3 New Reader
12/30/17 9:52 p.m.
TheRX7Project said:

Two shops come to mind in the Milwaukee area- Borchardts Speed Automotive for the drag and circle track guys, and Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies for the road course guys.

+1 for Pegasus. Candy store In my backyard.

re old school guitar shops, check out Wades and Cream City Music.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UltraDork
12/30/17 10:32 p.m.

Thanks for the write David. Really enjoyed this piece and mainly because I had this frustration today too. 

 

Working on a project for a friend today installing a radio into his Lexus....a day after doing a 10 hour chump race too. He ordered everything he thought he needed minus the antenna adapter. Best buy, autozone, O'Reilly, NAPA, Wal-Mart, Discount Auto, and even a audio shop in town didn't have this simple piece that fits both Lexus, Toyotas, and Subarus. Yea Amazon has it for $9.99 and it could get here in two days but it's frustrating when youre trying to finish a project and do it right and the thing that really got me is that the audio shop didn't even have it. I was met with the response "Dude we order by request, no sense in having the overhead of that inventory."  Try finding locally stocked performance parts for your 1994 honda accord lol. 

 

I hate not being able to go somewhere and look at it, take measurements, feel it, inspect it, test it, take it home that day. 

 

 

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
12/31/17 8:40 a.m.
DirtyBird222 said:the thing that really got me is that the audio shop didn't even have it. I was met with the response "Dude we order by request, no sense in having the overhead of that inventory." 

 

Heck, at the small bike shop where I worked in the mid 90s, we understood that if you wanna retail, you gotta stock.  If someone is willing to wait a week to get a part, they can wait a week and get it from Supergo for a lot less money.  They walked into your building because they want something NOW.

Sanchinguy
Sanchinguy Reader
12/31/17 8:42 a.m.

I live near one of the great guitar shops anywhere - Elderly Instruments.  I love going on there and spending time with basses I cant have (yet).  Great people, great advice, superb service, and if they don’t have it, you probably don’t need it.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
12/31/17 4:21 p.m.

 when I would go into those places, 99% of the time I knew more about the part I needed, the location it was in, and how long it would take to get. The douche behind the counter usually had no idea

As an automotive teacher and a technician I constantly run into people who will take something i say with more than a grain of salt because a counterperson at a parts store said something different. It's difficult to explain kindly, but it basically comes down to "if they knew how to do what I do, they'd be doing it, because it's a lot more money". The sad truth is that parts stores don't pay people enough to be experts or anywhere near it. If you somehow become an expert while working counter sales at a parts store, there's a good chance you can use those skills to jump ship for twice the money, or maybe 3x if you become a very good technician.   

 I've decided to be very forgiving of automotive counter people who don't know much about what they sell. I know what i expect to be paid for my knowledge level and I can't ask them to even come close for what they make. Now, i DO expect them to know how to SELL me what i want. I value their expertise of how to navigate their computer system, how to find things on their actual shelves, and how to be pleasant and efficient. If their career ambitions lie elsewhere besides 'mastering the retail world' then i fully respect and encourage their desire to get the hell out of retail. Most of them will, and some "douche" who doesn't know anything yet will step onto that stepping stone in their place. 

That's all referring to automotive, but i think it applies pretty broadly. It's rare that companies  value knowledge enough to actually pay for it. And if they're not getting paid for it, i'm not going to come in there and bitch about what the counterpeople don't know. As soon as they DO know, they should go sell their expertise to someone willing to pay for it, and i'll be happy for them!

This is pretty much in the vein of the original article. If you ever DO find places that value expertise enough to pay their own employees for it, that might be a good opportunity for you to vote with your dollars. yes

Type Q
Type Q SuperDork
12/31/17 6:07 p.m.
Sanchinguy said:

I live near one of the great guitar shops anywhere - Elderly Instruments.  I love going on there and spending time with basses I cant have (yet).  Great people, great advice, superb service, and if they don’t have it, you probably don’t need it.

I know what you mean. When I lived in Lansing I was in there on a regular basis. It is one of the places I always visit when I am back in town.

 

Scott_H
Scott_H Reader
1/1/18 5:16 p.m.
TheRX7Project said:

Two shops come to mind in the Milwaukee area- Borchardts Speed Automotive for the drag and circle track guys, and Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies for the road course guys.

I was living west of Chicago and needed a helmet.  I knew I was going to be up in Milwaukee in a couple weeks so I waited so I could visit Pegasus.  I wanted to be able to try it on and get the right fit.  Some helmets just don't fit me very well.  After I tried it on the guy there said that I could have them set it aside with my name on it and then I could call in to buy and skip sales tax but would have to pay shipping.  I ended up taking it with me and paid the WI tax.

>Scott

 

StuntmanMike
StuntmanMike New Reader
1/2/18 12:19 p.m.

I enjoy checking out parts in person too, but like this article states, speed shops with inventory just don't exist anymore. All the speed shops around me don't even want to talk to you unless you are handing them a $10k check for an off the shelf solution to make big dyno numbers. Everyone I talk to asks what I'm making at the wheels since my engine swap and are disappointed that it is stock engine (except for a few weak link upgrades) for reliable road coarse and daily driving. And all the off road shops only stock wheels and winches, but can only tell you the specs on the box or what "looks" better.

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