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HAMKITT store is going out of business

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K7FE, Jul 22, 2010.

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  1. K7FE

    K7FE QRZ Lifetime Member #1 Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The HAMKITT store in Des Moines, Iowa is closing it's doors due to poor sales. Joe Leto, W0IW; opened the Des Moines, Iowa retail business with the intent to provide local hams an amateur radio store to visit. He also had a web site providing online sales.

    The ham store void in the area was an attraction for Joe to start his business and it was well received by the locals. The poor economy caused reduced sales and made the venture unprofitable. We all know that the light bill and rent must be paid.

    Joe said:
    Hi folks, well we tried and sold most the store, and now we are having to close our doors...
    Not enough local support = not enough revenue to keep a ham radio store alive and well..
    Is the basic reason shes closing FOR GOOD...


    The one thing we can say for sure is the folks that supported the store really did a great
    job and the folks that didn't have time to come in that's OK too, seems like there's
    never enough time in the day..

    (515)-250-2108 or Fax (515) 465-1259

    Joe hosts the The Iowa Wireless Contesting Station, W0IW.

    We wish him luck in the future.

  2. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    A valiant effort. Thanks for showing the courage to give it a try!

    73, Bill
  3. WX1DX

    WX1DX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I love and respect the noble try But!

    You just cannot compete with the internet 1 it's unfortunate for us but true radio shack has proven this. it is so nice just to be able to hop down to the local store grab some coax for this or that or an end or replacement diode but my local store went from 3 rows of gear and spools of coax to now a 4ft by 4 foot cabinet with half the inventory not stocked. the only way a local store might make it is if a guy had a shop as part of his house or some thing that was paid for and the electric was minimums and he kept as close to 16 hour 7 day a week hours then if you had a dins enough ham community you might make it.
  4. KG0MN

    KG0MN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I had my concerns when he opened the store having lived in Iowa for the better part of my life there are still a limited number of ham operators in a state that like most has seen better times. In this economy it is going to take a specialty store to be able to open a brick and mortar store to compete with a click n' order internet stores (Internet Businesses). The majority of the Internet stores that are successful now are trying more and more to arrange drop shipment directly from the makers of the various product for the simple reason that storage, product insurance and liability and help to run a warehouse will eat the biggest part of the profit share.

    Whereas the average click and order store may have a handful of people that serve as customer service people but they are more than likely trained to serve a dual purpose as they may well be the person taking your order when you call. I do think an online ham store can make a go if it is handled right if you can steer away from handling only big name items where the maker sets the price for you. I have seen enough people offering service on the various sites such as QRZ, qth AND eHAM that I would attempt to see if these people selling things such things as the keyers, kits and antennas would not let a store sell their items and then have then ship directly to the customer. Just my 2-cents.
  5. AA6DX

    AA6DX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's ROUGH selling to hams!

    Having been involved in ham radio for 46 + years, I understand the trials and tribulations of selling Amateur Radio equipment ... I was a dealer for about 4 years, major brands, in the 70s -- then (on the other side of the USA} management ... then up to KL7 -involved in sales and service too ... it just does not pay well. Hams come in, drink your coffee, twist your knobs,then go buy from the cheapest source .. without giving you a real "shot" to meet or beat price ... sales tax comes into their decision, shipping costs, etc... but, if you are selling that particular brand, when warranty work is called for ... here they come ...
    Now retired, I plead guilty to intense shopping .. but not wasting the shopkeeper's time and phone line --
    Most hams do not understand that Amateur Radio equipment is sold at a very low mark up .. not much profit, if any at all, if accessories are not included. Kind of like the automobile business ... volume, and "extras" make the business viable. Not like your jewelry or clothing store ... at all ...
    Hard row to hoe on a local level .. thanks for trying, Joe ... es 73 ..
    Mark AA6DX Eureka, CA
  6. W8ZNX

    W8ZNX Subscriber QRZ Page

    oh yes you can compete with the internet
    nothing says a brick and mortar store
    can not use the internet as a selling tool

    i compete with the internet
    customers enjoy coming to my store

    lots of people would rather be able to see, touch, hold,
    a book before they buy it

    " most of all if its a modern first worth two hundred bucks "

    the grand opening
    was what
    the first of may
    this year

    thats less than three months
    can't expect to build a customer base in three months

    new retail busness
    should start with enought capital
    to able to stay open
    without making one cent of profit
    for at least a year

    if not
    you don't have enought capital

    Mark is right
    its a hard row to hoe
    know somebody that
    for about 20 years sold ham equpment retail

    he no longer gets on the air
    and has lost all interest in ham radio

    enjoy ham radio
    want to keep it that way
    do not get in the ham radio busness

    for the most part do not want hams
    in the book store

    read or die
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  7. K4RJJ

    K4RJJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Anyone know if he still is doing web orders?
  8. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have to agree. Since the store's grand opening on May 01, 2010, the ebb and flow of business hasn't even begun yet.

    I noticed the website only had 22,529 visits.

    To build a customer base, you need to do mass advertising campaigns and drive customers to yourself. Not sure what marketing campaigns have been initiated or how many hamfests were attended in that short period of time, but I am sorry to see the business throwing in the towel so soon.

    Good luck in your future endeavours.
  9. K0EQH

    K0EQH Ham Member QRZ Page

    HAMKITT Store

    Welp, we tried it many years ago in Kansas, actually had two stores. Carried a lot of inventory and had a lot tied up in goods. Ended up selling off stuff below cost, took a beating and fell back on service. Could have bought a new car and more from losses we sustained.

    Many of the big operations are either a "hobby" business or have a major secondary operation to sustain them and a large local ham population close by. There is very little margin in the big ticket items and you can not sell enough of the little items to pay the bills.

    I wish them well in whatever they pursue. We gave it up long before the internet operations. Just hard to deal with "what's your lowest price?" and 1-800-SELL-CHEEP. Having been in ham radio for over 50 years, I am very aware of the ham customer "dickering".

    Just my observation from over the years.
  10. W4ZH

    W4ZH Ham Member QRZ Page


    "If you cant beat um, join um"

    What would it take for say,
    HRO, AES, HAM City, Universal Radio to open another store in a certain area.

    I was in Foley, AL at Tanger Outlet Stores and thought, while the wives or others are shopping, The OM's could go to the local HRO (only cause it has Outlet in the name).

    Just wondered what the heck it would take to put in a big Outlet Strip store area........
  11. W4BOH

    W4BOH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    FWIW, I'm amazed at what many of my ham friends spend. MUCH more than I do. I build from a 75 yr junkbox started by my Dad before the war and still growing. I buy second hand radios, but very rarely.

    My TS-450 is working well. Until it becomes unrepairable, it will be my main commercial radio, backed up by several boatanchors and HB stuff.

    But I see young hams buying switchboxes, new radios, interfaces, tuners, and all sorts of geegaws. I have other friends with multi towers and multi multikilobuck radios. Trouble is, there aren't many of them in one place. How can a store compete with a swapmeet...seems an unreasonable expectation unless it's in a city with lots of hams and new hams coming along. I have a friend who has a store. He says he's doing "OK", with consigmnent stuff, reselling hamfest bargains, and some new accessories like wire, cable, antenna hdw, etc.

    The implication that we should spend limited hobby dollars inefficiently to "support our local store" is unreasonable. Yes, I'd love to have a "ham store", but I'd also like a model airplane store, but they're dying off too.

    It would be nice if we could favor the most generous and user friendly distributors somehow and, importantly, somehow encourage really competent service centers, to get us away from absurd corporate repair rates!

  12. KD8DEY

    KD8DEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's hard to make it in a niche market.

    Maybe if he had a CB section and a "lunch counter"

    a couple of diesel pumps would have helped to.

    location & diversity!!
  13. KC8YHW

    KC8YHW Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    ____ Yes, it is tough, I try to buy my stuff from a local, he has a fairly good selection, yes I have to pay Sales Tax but in Michigan you are supposed to pay a use tax for mail order stuff. Plus side we swap stories catch up on who is still operating, shake hands I have my stuff and he still has a reason to keep the lights on.
  14. N0LHD

    N0LHD Ham Member QRZ Page


    The business offered little. The location was a small, I mean small room in an office warehouse. My first and only visit there was a sign on the door, I'll be back in a minute. I have heard other hams talk about the same thing, If you open your door for business, you better be there. There were a fewj shelves of ham inventory, mostly MFJ products. They did have a good consignment area but that isn't enough in less than 200 square feet of space. Thee are enough hams in the area, if you have inventory, if you compete via the internet and if you are at your business when you say you are open.
  15. KD7ZOS

    KD7ZOS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Outlet Ham Store Idea

    Greetings from Tom KD7ZOS, Nice idea, however the inflated prices mall stores have to charge would in my humble opinion, kill ya. They are tourist traps to say the least, aiming at the prima donna and fashion markets. Out here in Oregon, many have taken a real beating and are gone.

    Be real interesting however to give HRO a run for it's money! Competition is always good for market selection, choice and wheeling & dealing hams! Hi Hi...

    73, Stay Safe,Tom KD7ZOS:p
  16. KJ4KKI

    KJ4KKI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    out of business

    Large or's always sad to see an independent business go under.
  17. K0WVM

    K0WVM Ham Member QRZ Page

    At least I got to see the store...

    Glad myself and fellow ham friend Dan/KB0TDW got the chance to make it out there. Sad to hear about the store closing its doors and it stood the chance to grow had the economy been a little better...

    Guess it's back to internet sales then...
  18. K0WVM

    K0WVM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Be kind of cool to see AES or HRO have a store here in either Omaha or Kansas City. I realize HRO has a store in Denver, but that is 8+ hours away. Same for AES with a store in Milwaukee. It would be nice to see a store in almost the center part of the US that I could travel to in less than 3 hours.
  19. W4PC

    W4PC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    To become a reseller with Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood, etc, you have to make a significant investment with them. So just to get one of each radio for demo and one to sell would be upwards of $200,000, and there's only about 4%margin, if that, on a radio. You make money on accessories.. i.e. MFJ. MFJ can floorplan a business but many of the others don't.

    But I disagree with you, a small office was a start and that's how you start in any business, small. But it takes 90% from the date of you doing something to START to make things happen. You need at least 1-2 years of revenue in the bank to live on, to see if the business will work.

    This is a tough economic time for all businesses. Ive been in business 22 years and having a business means you're unemployed until your next sale. The next sale means you have some money to continue, but you're unemployed until your next sale! LOL

    I do see the economy getting better, slowly. Hams need to support their own. I mean doesnt it make sense to support a fellow ham, rather than Wal-Mart or Best Buy.

    With this business, local hams could have bought little things from him, and he could have MAYBE made a decent living. Books are the big money makers in ham stores! That's a 50% margin. 3 books bought and he could have taken his wife to a nice dinner.

    So guys, spend some money! C'mon, this isnt a hamfest, this is real life.

    Just because you're a ham doesn't entitle you to a discount with other hams, since we are hams too.

    So go buy stuff! Sell some of your older stuff and buy some new stuff. Sell it at a fair price to a newer ham, get the $$$ and upgrade.

    Rick - W4PC
  20. W4PC

    W4PC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    What about Associated Radio? Dan is closer to you.
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