Much has been made over the last year in the press about the importance of buying local, and independant.
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 my blogs. None of the shops have asked for any praise, 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 top 3
Located on the market square in the North Lincolnshire village of Caistor this model shop is a proper traditional affair. Not the largest of stores by any stretch of the imagination, so how they fit in all the stock baffles me, and many others. The store is run by a lovely couple, who could not be more pleasant or helpful. If they don’t have what you want in stock they have always been happy to order it in for you.
One of Britains newest model shops, it only opened it’s doors to the public in December 2020. To date I have not been to the new shop, however I have used their online and ebay services a lot over recent years and service has always been faultless. The one time an issue arose, an apology and returns label could not have come any faster if they had tried.
KJB Models new store is in The Old Railway Tavern, in Hensall North Yorkshire. I for one am looking forward to getting to pay them a visit in person in 2021.
They are not a name you see bandied around in a mass of publicity, but if ever there is a favourite model shop discussion on Facebook, or one of the modelling forums they always come up every time, with satisfied customers up and down the country. Good service and good prices recommended again and again.
Having featured two model stores in the north of England, this one couldn’t be much further away. Colletts Models was established by Leigh Collett in 2010 when he opened his first model shop within Exmouth.
Like the other two, Colletts is another small shop with great service. Always happy to chat and help on the end of the phone Leigh goes the extra mile for his customers whenever he can.
Although it’s not a feature that I have used, the shop also offers pre payment plans to help you spread the cost of upcoming models. At time of writing they are the only ones to offer this service. Like KJB, Colletts is not a name you will see splashed all over the modelling press. But everytime a poll occurs on Facebook or a modelling website there is always a good flow of customers ready to sing their praises. And like their commitment to service I firmly believes that speaks volumes.