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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » A tangled web we weave... » » "Brick and Mortar" vs. Internet Shops (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

3M
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Wisconsin
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I recently read an interesting article concerning the few remaining brick and mortar magic shops. Upon completing the article I was quite alarmed, although not entirely surprised to hear that most of these shops will be disappearing within the next year or so due to the rise of the internet shops. The main body of the article focused on "the boys" meeting in the back rooms of such shops and this was where the real magic happened. The secrets shared, the stories told, and the old pros that would visit these shops if they were in town; internet shops can't offer such valuable insight. And, if these treasured few shops do cease to exist, where will our future generations of young magicians go to learn the real secrets? Because, as any veteran magician will tell you, there's no better place to get real advice like an actual shop. It's not about what you're about to buy, but if you happen to hear some whispers from the old boys in the corner, take note and listen close. For what you will hear will ultimately yield much better secrets than the trick you're about to buy. Any thoughts fellow magicians?
Luke Dancy
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Las Vegas
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3M, glad to hear you enjoyed the article. I remember growing up and saving the little money I had for the big visit to the magic shop every once in a while. There really is nothing like walking in and being surrounded by the latest and greatest stuff.

For anyone else interested in reading the article 3M mentioned here ya go..
http://themagicsession.com/articles/requ......-knepper

Have a great weekend guys!

luke
doormouse
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Try magic clubs, conventions and lectures. Boy's in the back don't pay the bills. Just saying.
rklew64
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Move to a State that has magic stores like CA, FL, NY, IL, PA and more.
Check out any issue of Linking Rings to see where those magic chapters are.
Just look in the back of any Magic magazine for all the listings. There's one in Milwaukee apparently.
Craig Dickson
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S.A.M. forum Staff
Pleasant Valley, NY
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Or MD. Denny's Magic is unbelievable. Make it a destination for everything magic, lecture's and a place to tell and hear stories, and hang. It ain't dead till that Fat Lady sings, and the only thing fat in Denny's shop is Babe 2 (the pig). Smile
MarkinMadison
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Hey 3M, I'm in Wisconsin too....there is Theopolis Magic in Milwaukee, Jest 4 Fun in Waukesha and another I don't know the name of in Janesville. Also, Chicago has several, with Midwest Magic in Franklin Park being my favorite. I try to buy from brick and mortar shops as often as possible, but have to admit Penguin Magic has always come through as an internet shop.
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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To me, the two are just not "Ducks and Ducks". The Internet is fine for buying parts and parts. There are some very fine and reputable suppliers there. There are also plenty of problems out there too. If you know exactly what you seek and find an Internet vendor you trust capable of supplying you, it may solve the problem. You certainly should expect a bargain to compensate for the service you are not buying.

The "Brick and Mortar" shop is a different animal. Many provide personal services well worth the extra price. Photographs are no match for getting to touch and hold (perhaps even try) actual props. The options should be broader too. These people can actually help you explore three props for facilitating MisMade Flag etc. They can help you see the difference in spring flowers and spring bills. They can help you routine your existing show with things you are looking to add or change. They often have experience repairing problem props. You can take the stuff home with you today! They may have less to offer a card magician but some will actually teach you the trick you bought. That is a deal.

To me, the real overlap is mostly in literature. Books are great buys but the same from any vendor. The only vendor that has something extra of value to add is the author. A personalized autograph is added value to you. Otherwise, price and delivery dates are about the only differences. Videos are seldom the asset a good magic book can be but they are also very popular. Source is essentially a decision about price and delivery.

Reality is that exposure to a good "Brick and Mortar" is rare to impossible for many magicians. That is definitely a handicap. But magicians are creative people and do what they can. Magic clubs and magic conventions are great supplements for magicians regardless of the accessibility of magic shops and Internet.

After half a century of magic, my best sources of enjoyment are really my magic friends I have gathered over the years. Never underestimate the value of association with other magicians.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@MagicBySander.com

http://www.magicbysander.com/
Rick Fisher
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Rick Fisher
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Lots of discussion on magic shops. Funny..our walk in clients have tripled the last year. We are finding more and more customers making a day of it and coming to the magic shop - a destination place. The atmosphere you create goes a long way attracting new customers and they in turn spread the word to other.

Magic shops have been viable..are viable and in my opinion will gain strength in the years to come as customers sometimes get "burned" on the internet with a product that does not deliver. If they are wanting to spend a good chunk of money..they are finding it worth the trip to come in to the shop and get good advice and see the products first hand. In the midst of blizzard and ice storms this winter our walk in traffic still consistent..what does that say???

Magic Shops - "A new era of old traditions" - that is our motto
Rick Fisher, President FAB Magic
"One of the largest magic shops in the world!"
www.fabmagic.com
satellite23
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Ever since I've began reading 'Farenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury, everything about the future has seemed so disappointing!!!! WHY????!!!!! A book has ruined my dreams of the future being so electronically efficient...........

Just saying, though. Who are the biggest customers to magic shops, online and offline? We magicians are. We control the future of the shops. If you guys are too lazy to take a stroll to your neighborhood dealer, then don't complain when the 'Brick and Mortars' collapse

That's the problems with humans. Efficiency is ruining our race.

Anyways, I think that magic will adapt to the world constantly. As I've said before, do we see any top hats and wands in magic acts anymore? No, because the world has excluded them from fashion. Magic has adapted to the world many times over, so I'm not too concerned about the well-being of the art. And there will always be that one genius magician that defines a generation of magic, guys like Houdini, Copperfield, Vernon, Angel, Houdin, Brown, and others who completely bring magic to a new area that was never really explored. Houdini brought the escapes. Derren Brown made mentalism famous. Copperfield was the master of the stage. Angel brings magic to the home.

As you can see, magic will never die!!!!
BatsMagic
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Real brick and mortar shops may seem good, but I'm not pleased with them. Every time I have gone to a well known magic shop in NYC I am treated rudely by the staff. I'm an adult with cash to spend, but I have been treated like a kid. On the other hand, I also go to a real unknown shop nearer to my home, and there I am treated well. I'm known by name, and the owner actually lets me in on the method of some tricks before I buy. That's where I spend my money! I have never been treated rudely by an internet shop, and they do have some customer service, so it's not like you are just a dollar bill. Look at Jamie Grant- his customer service is EXCELLENT! A real gentleman! Hopefully there is room for both in this world.
Zombie Magic
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I went out for a beer and now have
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Depends on the shop. In NYC, Fantasama is wonderful. And it looks like a magic shop. Go to Tannen's and they are rude. It looks like a stock room.

Going to any magic shop is like going to a car dealer. The more research you do ahead of time, the better off you are. Magic shops are there to sell and have no problem pressuring you into buying junk.
Rick Fisher
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Rick Fisher
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I disagree whole heartedly...going to a magic shop is NOT like going to a car dealer. Yes, magic shops are there to sell magic ...that is how they keep the lights on. Sorry you had bad experience but not every shop is like that and not everyone pressures you into buying 'junk'......I know of several shop managers who take their time to explain and answer questions, our staff included, on the internet only sites you get an 'email'...hmmmmmmmmm something to think about.
Rick Fisher, President FAB Magic
"One of the largest magic shops in the world!"
www.fabmagic.com
Michael Baker
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Near a river in the Midwest
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I agree with Rick. I worked with a shop in Birmingham, AL on and off over a twenty year period. This was before internet sales. It was a no-brainer that we could do better business by nurturing a client over a long period of time, instead of "shaking them down" for what cash they had in their pockets the first time they walked in.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Zombie Magic
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I went out for a beer and now have
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I still visit them because I love the feeling of the experience. Like any business, some are wonderful and some not so much.
chrom
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I was just recently in MD on a business trip and made a point to stop at Barry's in Rockville. Having purchased products online it was a real pleasure to go in the store and be able to browse all of their items. Plus they have a ton of figurines and exclusive content that is not for sale that made a pleasurable time. I spent a good amount in the store and while I am sure I could have gotten it cheaper online it was nice to support a local business.

Shane
Spellbinder
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The problem we Internet Only magic dealers have is in training our customers to treat us as if we were a "walk-in shop." When you go to Amazon or Target on the Internet, you never think to ask someone about the purchase you are thinking of making. Come to think of it,if you walked into a Target store in person, you probably wouldn't ask a clerk's opinion about a purchase because you know that they are just stock handlers and cashiers. Many Internet magic stores are set up with automated systems to make selling magic easy for them, not easy for the customer, and certainly not to provide customers with service before, during and after a purchase. But a few of the Internet sites are run by real people, real magicians and as magic customers we need to learn to find those places and use them in the same way we would use a real live magic dealer in his or her shop.

Test: If you want to know whether or not a certain item that catches your attention on-line will fill a need you have in your current act... ask. Send the Internet dealer an e-mail and see what kind of response - or lack of response - you get. Remember, though, just because you are wide awake and eager to buy magic at 3:00 AM don't expect the magic dealer to be awake and have a ready answer for you in real time. You may have to wait a day for your answer. But you should get an answer within 24 hours. If not, or you get some kind of automated one-answer-fits-all response, you are on your own dealing with a warehouse and a robot. But you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that you have contacted a real person who is eager to give you advice, and not necessarily for the purpose of making a sale... just as if you had walked into the old fashioned magic store. Bookmark those sites because as more and more walk-in stores become on-0line stores, you will need to know which ones you can trust and count on.
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

http://www.magicnook.com

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
Italia16
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Here in the Dallas area, one of my favorite magic shops closed last year. It had been around for probably 30 years. I recently got into magic, so I missed out on seeing this shop as an adult with money to spend. There was nothing greater than hanging out there as a child though. I buy a ton of stuff from online magic shops but I would prefer to be able to stop by one in person.
MichalMystic
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The biggest problem is shops don't support eachother. For many won't even help you if you don't buy or haven't bought from them. Not only that magicians have stopped supporting these great shops. Magic for me is at the lowest point I ever seen. Magic these days isn't a brotherhood or community.

Its very selfish these days and this one of the biggest reasons in general magic is suffering.
cgscpa
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Ashton, MD
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Quote:
On 2012-03-19 13:51, chrom wrote:
I was just recently in MD on a business trip and made a point to stop at Barry's in Rockville. Having purchased products online it was a real pleasure to go in the store and be able to browse all of their items. Plus they have a ton of figurines and exclusive content that is not for sale that made a pleasurable time. I spent a good amount in the store and while I am sure I could have gotten it cheaper online it was nice to support a local business.

Shane


And now Barry's Magic Shop will be closing this summer. http://www.barrysmagicshop.com
algebraic
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There's two brick and mortar shops I no longer do business with because of their rude and condescending behavior.

Comments such as,"You don't have that yet!!", "What do you want that for!","Hey tricky ricky, what do you want now!"

Then on top of that I receive their newsletters not to shop at online magic sites , but support brick and mortar shops because they provide a better service and are more knowledgeable.

I no longer purchase from these two insulting brick and mortar shops, nor do I shop from online shops that are insulting and condescending to me on the phone. Don't complain about a lack of sales when you're not bright enough to realize that not only are you insulting your present customer, but also your repeat customer for years to come!

What I find even more insulting is that they think that they are actually fooling you with their unprofessional behavior. I have no respect for them, nor will I purchase from them again. Guess what, there are other companies bright enough and more business savy to realise that you always treat the customer with respect. They are, after all, PAYING your bills, staff, etc. GROW UP. Shops like this should close. Bad business decisions come in many forms.

I have my B.S. in Business Administration and I'm constantly amazed at how some magic shops/sites treat their customers. Amazing.

Don't complain about a lack of sales when your shop is almost empty, poorly organized, poorly displayed, poorly advertised on your store front, and your staff is more interested in practicing their magic on store hours instead of waiting on customers. Stop degrading your customers.

Having been in retail as an Assistant Manager and also a Store Manager, I knew the customer was paying my salary and that I needed to keep the store well stocked, well organized, clean, well lit, and that customers were waited on in a very timely manner with respect. That's how you get repeat customers for life. You don't insult the customer and degrade their purchases. If you're degrading their purchases, then why are you carrying the product in the first place.

I'll leave my rant with this. One online magic site owner said it best-"It's the hobbyists who are driving the market. Professional magicians only buy a few things because they already have a complete act. That's why I pay attention to what hobbyists want."

That's an owner who understands the business of business. The customer that is treated with respect and good service will return as a repeat customer. Business 101.
munkywrench
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I'm a demo guy at one of only two shops in my area. Both do very well in the summer season. What gets me is the "novelty" folks place on brick and mortar shops. I go out of my way to insure that the magic fire stays lit within each individual I come into contact with. I try to follow in the steps of Mr. Denny and my own boss Mr. Conley. These guys are from the era when a magic shop was the mecca for up and comers. Sure, pitching tricks keeps the lights on, but through my boss I see that there is more at stack then paying a lease or rent. Keeping the fire burning is the main goal. Brick and Mortar shops are like the fire keepers of old. The history that theses shops contain can not be realized on a computer. The personal instruction cannot be compared too with youtube or DVDs. If a customer buys a product that I feel is above the grasp of an amateur, I will politely suggest something else. I explain that I want them to enjoy their purchase and not get frustrated or throw it in some drawer and forget about it. I've gone as far as to suggest items we don't sell and how to obtain them, just to keep the person's interest in art. I try and steer clear of online shops 1) You really don't know what you are getting. 2) The guys aren't in the flesh to show you the added tips that workers use to pull of the effect. 3) This one will **** off many but the truth is, many online shops are ran by non magicians looking to score a quick buck. This sucks for everyone. I say support your local shop and if that shop is old then they know how to survive in the trying times and your patronage will help keep the flame burning for future magi. If you are dead set on using the computer to purchase items, go to the artist's page and get it direct from them otherwise have your brick and mortar order it for you! We can keep the shops going strong if we take the time to go to one vs. being lazy and using the computer. I mean the stories of Vernon, Malone, Marlo etc. traveling many a mile just to listen to the guys at the shop is what helped them to be the masters that they are. You can't get that from a .com,.org or any other . whatever.
Disciple of the Close-Up Kinda Guy.
Supporter of MyrtleBeachMagician.com
The Demo Dude
IBM #334
Gary Barker
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"All things being equal I believe people like to do business with people they like. I also believe all things not being equal (meaning that online dealer has that item for a few dollars less) people still like to do business with people they like."

Whether you conduct business exclusively online, own a brick and mortar or maybe a combination of both in the end provide your customers quality products, quality service and fair prices (doesn't always have to be the cheapest.) Your customers will appreciate it and you will to.

Gary Barker
Owner, The Magic Emporium
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