Not to be argumentative here, but there are also issues with local suppliers to go around as well.
These are the guys who mark up their kits by a significant margin, - well above the “street” price. These are the shops who, after selling the kit to a buyer have no “trained” or “experienced” sales people to assist with after the sale building/assembly questions. These could be the shops, who have the staff that when a question is asked about a product, they take it from your hand and read exactly what you have read on the outside of the package. These are the shops who will not special order items - yet they don’t stock them either - citing lack of volume or interest. This is the store, whose staff are into planes or cars, and have no one to answer questions about sail winches, turnbuckles, etc. - and whose only response to a directed question is a blank stare.
How many hobby shops sell glass fabric right off the roll? How many can discuss the merits of different brands of epoxy and suggest building methods? Does the store have active builders, or do they simply sell “kits”? Does ANYONE in the store have sailboat experience - or are they all “powerheads”? Can you purchase blocks from the wall - or must they be special ordered? Does the shop keep a list of clubs, members and regatta schedules - or - do they even know to whom to refer the new sailor?
Now - I don’t mean to lump every hobby shop into this - just as I am sure not all Canadians purchase from the states (or elsewhere), however, to be honest, I will gladly save a “measly” $10.00 and purchase from a Tower Hobbies (as example) and get the same amount of support, answered questions, etc. as I get from a disinterested, teenage kid who is into racing nitro cars or discussing the latest rap artist with the other store employee.
Being short-sighted, how many shops hire at the lowest possible wage to increase profits, while jepordizing any repeat customers because of lack of staff interest or knowledge? Finally, how many true shops are set up and able to handle the minority of sailor/buyers? Most local shops don’t find it profitable to handle r/c sailing products, since there are so few of us around (as compared to cars and planes and powerboat owners).
After driving nearly 45 minutes to a big hobby shop only to find out the person taking my call was wrong - and they really don’t stock the part I needed, it doesn’t take long to avoid the drive and simply pick up the phone, place my order with a supplier who does have the parts, and receive them in a few days.
I’m not suggesting that Climate works this way, nor do I lump all shops into these categories, but for a lot of us, the experiences are typical, and the industry (in general) needs to be aware of the other side of the coin - not just the frugal buyer wanting to save $10.00 - but the buyer who would be willing to purchase if “IT” was available. “It” being supplies or answers.