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Thinking about opening an Electronic store: still worth it ?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Jouellet, Aug 8, 2016.

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  1. Jouellet


    Feb 2, 2015
    Hey !

    I would like to get your feel about a project of mine.

    I live in Edmonton (Canada, population 1.2 million), and when it comes to find electronic components, there is very close to nothing available.

    There is one that is mostly industrial-oriented: no price on items, need an account, basic hobby stuff, but more relays, connectors, etc ... The other one I know, is about the size of my kitchen, and it is so messy that I went there only once...

    I'm thinking about opening a store, that would have most of what every hobbyist might need: resistors, capacitors, LEDs, LED strip, PCB material, most common ICs/Transistors/Diodes, switches, cases, terminal block, breakout board (GPS, Accelerometer, load cell, temperature/current sensor, H-bridge, etc ....), Arduino boards, Raspberry, etc ....

    I would team-up with a person I know, that sells 3D printer, and a lot of filament, but he doesn't have a decent "front store".

    My idea would be to also start a "techshop" where members pay monthly/yearly membership, to get access to all kind of equipment such as 3D printer, CNC, Laser cutter, lathe, welder, soldering station, reflow, oscilloscope, power supply, testers, etc ... I would organise seminar about: Arduino, Raspberry PI, 3D printing, Software such as Eagle, Autocad, Sketch-up, to members, but also to school (Primary & High School)

    Members who create projects could sell them thru the store. Special design request could be fulfilled,

    My question is : is it worth it ?

    With Ebay, DX Extreme, Tayda, and other sites like that, do you think it can "work" ???

    Myself, I order most of my stuff from Ebay, but when I need something now, I would be willing to pay an extra and shop there. I would also like to be able to look at new stuff, exchange with "weirdo" like me, etc ....

    Of course, stuff would be more expensive than Ebay, but to get access to all your needs, isn't worth it ?

    Open to any advises....
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    If people don't have access to both the internet and a reliable and rapid mail system, then yes.
    KJ6EAD likes this.
  3. KJ6EAD


    Aug 13, 2011
    Agreeing with Steve and restating; the ONLY advantage you'd have over the global supply chain is the ability to provide instant gratification and that will not generate enough traffic. Even in ideal settings with strong local industrial and educational customer bases, such stores struggle.

    There are some related business models that work but they only carry hobby supplies tangentially. I'm thinking of battery and bulb stores and some big box stores such as Fry's and Micro Center.

    There are a few notable electronic surplus stores such as HSC, All Electronics and Electronic Goldmine that survive but they do so by having strong online sales in addition to their brick-and-mortar presence.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  4. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    I guess I'm sounding old, and maybe repeat myself too often, but here goes:
    When I was a kid, there were a dozen electronic parts stores within 5 miles of my house.
    That was when TV tubes were needed, and most things were generally considered repairable by tinkerers.
    The vast majority of electronics now is not repairable by do-it-yourselfers.
    Take the queue from Radio Shack, a brick and mortar store, even in Edmonton, will not survive without a heavy
    on-line sales presence to attract customers from elsewhere.
    Those who would be interested in buying, would walk into your store, see you charging $5.35 for an item that
    they want, then check eBay, and find the same item for less than a dollar, with free shipping, elsewhere. (THEY,
    wouldn't have to pay for a brick and mortar store).
    The cost of operating a physical store, would necessarily reduce your profits, and eventually, put you out of business.
    I'd sell your parts on-line, if I were you.
    Good luck.

    CDRIVE Hauling 10' pipe on a Trek Shift3

    May 8, 2012
    I should add that is only about 1 hour round trip from me but has majority sales via the internet. I'll also openly admit that I'm addicted to Ebay's China stores with Free Shipping. The prices are irresistible!

  6. Minder


    Apr 24, 2015
    As another Canadian, for me it is not really worth it, unless an extreme emergency, I have two electronic stores here, although I hear one is closing up. That may tell you something.
    I can get virtually all I want from Digikey US next day air, no import duties etc, for the $8.00 P/P for air express, It would cost me more than that in gas and time to drive across the city.
    Then of course there is Ebay/China!.
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