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Topic: Brick & Mortar Magic Shops, an endangered species?
Message: Posted by: Tony Curtis (Jun 17, 2005 12:16AM)
I would be interested to hear the views from readers on the future of brick and mortar magic shops. It would seem that the internet has taken is toll on them. This I would presume is because of the lower running costs over having a shop taking into account the rent, electricity, staff & stock inventory. There are now only two left in London Davenports & International Magic and that’s a major city of the world. So what does the future hold for a traditional magic shop? I wait for your replies.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 17, 2005 12:58AM)
Hopefully, they all close. No need for them anymore, except maybe for nostalgia reasons.

I hate brick and mortar magic shops. Don’t like the sales people that annoy you the moment you walk in. But over the weekend I visited one. I was in the area, hadn’t been to one in years and decided to take a look.

Well, I walk in and am asked by this salesman “What brings you here today?”. Right off I’m annoyed. Why can’t they say hi or welcome, let’s us know if we can help you.

So instead of letting them have it, I decide to play their little game. “Thought I’d stop by and look around." That of course is not good enough.

I walk past the salesman and go to the DVD rack and he comes over “What type of magic are you interested in?" I say, a little bit of everything. Never sure quite what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it. He’s annoyed now.

I’m looking around and enjoying browsing, but amazed at the high prices, when another salesman comes up a big book and says “Did you know Tabary has a new book?” I say “ Oh, I heard about that”. He says “Do you know who he is?”

I say. Yes, he’s the brilliant French magician that put out those wonderful rope videos a few years back.

He gets excited and says “Well, there’s things in the book he didn’t put on the videos”. I say, no way. He held back? He thinks he has me. The book is over $70. I say, can you put the book aside for me while I continue to shop? I never said I wanted it, just could he put it aside. He thinks I’m buying it.

That’s not enough. He then starts to peddle. Anything he can. I just keep saying “Can you put that aside for me”. Well, there’s the book, a couple of coins effects, some horrible card effects, a crappy HUGE wallet. Must be over $400 worth of items.

I go to the counter and pretend to get call on my cell phone. I tell him I have a bad connection in the shop and have to step outside. And then…I get in my car and drive away. HAHAHAHAHHAHA.

That’s the way to deal with sales folks. Ever get telemarketers peddling time shares? I do the same thing. I let them go through their spiel, pretend I’m hot for the product and in the middle of a sentence, hang up.
Message: Posted by: Tony Curtis (Jun 17, 2005 02:06AM)
Dear me I must have touched a nerve starting this topic...
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 17, 2005 03:32AM)
I just can't stand these shops that are run like GAP stores. All they want to do is sell, sell, sell. They don't care about the customers. You can run a magic shop and care about the person buying. But they are run like used car lots.

Then they complain about the internet running them out of business. Well, competition is good for the consumer. The person these shops long forgot about.
Message: Posted by: Tony Curtis (Jun 17, 2005 03:55AM)
Well that’s the view of MagicChris, so does anyone have anything to add further?
Message: Posted by: Chrystal (Jun 17, 2005 05:30AM)
Hi,

I'm a HUGE, HUGE fan of these shops and will always go out of my way to support them, rarely purchasing anything online. Even if I have to pay a few dollars more I will support the brick and mortar shops. It's not just the camaraderie and networking that exist but it supports the local magic community. Yes, they are a dying breed and sadly two of my favorite shops closed their doors a couple years ago. I even worked in one for a year and made a lot of friendships.

Those that run the shops usually complain of having many visit their stores, with the intent of chitchatting and informal meetings with others. The hang around but don't buy anything much to the chagrin of the store owner whom depends on purchases to cover his cost. Magic shops provide a wealth of information and are usually in the know of what magic events are coming up, ring meetings, lectures, that sort of thing. Unlike purchasing online..you can view items in the store and demonstrations and once you purchase an item the store clerk or owner will show you how it works. (Ethical ones will only do this after you make your purchase.) If something breaks or you're having trouble with it, it's been my experience that the Brick and Mortar shops will do everything to keep their clients happy.

I will always continue to support these stores no matter what city or country I visit. You'll always make new magical friends and experience camaraderie.

As to your question..sadly I do see a trend regarding these shops as they do cater to a small percentage of society and many have to resort to having other things in their store. Party items, Costumes, Gags, that sort of thing to have a larger customer base. Even with the net I hope they continue to survive. I will continue to support them.

Chrystal
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Jun 17, 2005 05:41AM)
There are a few in my area, and one I rely on not only for a quick place to grab supplies or replacement props, but a good place to keep up on local magic-related news.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Paul Sherman (Jun 17, 2005 07:15AM)
What a good brick and mortar store offers, that the internet will never have is 1) a knowledgeable sales staff that can point you towards magic you'll like, 2) demos performed competently and in real-time (not internet videos from ideal angles), and 3) instant gratification.

Brick and mortar stores will never disappear completely. They'll survive in tourist areas (unfortunately, those shops suck), metropolitan areas that have a large customer base, and as side businesses in costume shops and novelty shops.

Obviously many are supplementing their brick and mortar business with an Internet business. I prefer to patronize these stores instead of purely online businesses, because I know I'm helping keep a brick and mortar afloat.

Having worked in a brick and mortar store, I'm glad I never encountered anyone like MagicChris. I was paid to sell product, not to session with guys, put on a free magic show, or let guys read books and magazines they weren't going to buy. But even though I was a "salesman", if any customer ever told me that they just wanted to browse, I let them know that that was fine and that I'd be happy to answer any questions they had. In the future, I'd suggest that if you don't want to be bothered, tell the clerk you're just interested in browsing and let him use the time he saves to restock, do inventory, or clean counterspace.

Paul
Message: Posted by: maxello (Jun 17, 2005 07:29AM)
I am a Internet Magic Dealer myself, but to be honest with you:

I LOVE to go inside Brick and Mortar Magic Shops for looking and "smelling" the Atmosphere there.

I always find something I cant refuse to buy.

No, I hope these shops will survive!!!
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Jun 17, 2005 09:30AM)
I am an avid supporter of brick & mortar stores and I believe there will always be a place - for the good ones. I am extremely fortunate that I have access to probably one of Canada's best magic stores within only a few short hours drive. Here are some of the positives:

1. He has a huge selection of products at prices that very competitive prices.
2. Any product he doesn't have, he can usually get in within 2-5 days.
3. The service is excellent and, I know if I ever have a problem with a product, he will be there to make things right.
4. He knows everything and everyone in the local magic community and takes active steps to keep everyone informed of current events.
5. He gives candid, honest opinions about products and whether they will fit my performing style and needs.
6. Since the owner is also a professional performing magician, he is able to provide invaluable guidance and advice on the performance of effects and routines.

These are just some of the benefits of my local shop and, every time I visit, I have a tremendous time. In fact, I have gotten to know the owner and all of the other staff in the shop so well that when it gets busy, I just step behind the counter and start performing! I know that when it gets busy, they can't just ignore their other customers and chat with me - so instead of being part of the problem, I become part of the solution.

Now, its true that not everyone gets treated this way when they walk into the shop, but that takes time. The owner and staff need to get to know you, your likes and dislikes and your abilities. Only then can they gauge your needs and suggest products that are suitable for you.

Personally, I do most of my shopping at the local store. The only time I buy online is when my local store cannot get a product (for instance, if it is exclusive to someone else). Also, I'm very upfront with the owner. I'll actually tell him that I saw such a product online for a certain price, and I'll ask if he can get it in. If he can get the product, I'll usually buy it even if it cost a little more.

I do fear for the future of the brick & mortar stores, especially with the onslaught of online suppliers. But I'm trying to do everything I can to prevent that from happening.

Kent
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 17, 2005 12:07PM)
Interesting... have you read a book on sales?
Message: Posted by: El_Lamo (Jun 17, 2005 12:22PM)
I love visiting magic shops. When I travel, I make it a point to go to any that I can find. I visit magic shops, toy shops with magic, games shops with magic, etc. They are wonderful places with real people.

When I am in a city with a genuine magic shop, I get the opportunity to meet both people interested in the magic hobby and the magic business. I can't imagine losing that opportunity.

95 % of all my purchases are from brick and mortar stores or the actual creator. I know that I am paying a bit more to do this, but I believe in helping them survive. By purchasing from the creator, sometimes I save a bit which offsets the higher shop price and sometimes I pay the same amount which ensures that the creator makes a bit more on the sale. Hopefully, it balances out.

Real stores have real stories. The air is filled with the banter, boasts, bravado and brotherhood witnessed throughout the years. Real stores are filled with the real workings. They sit as giant encyclopedias of magic, every page enticing, encouraging, challenging those in pursuit of all that remains elusive, all that requires more dedication and practice.

Cheers - El Lamo
Message: Posted by: Frank Tougas (Jun 17, 2005 12:36PM)
I too am a fan of brick and mortar stores, but I fear they will go the way of the ma and pa store which were virtually wiped out by convenience stores, variety stores almost wiped out by Target, K Mart and Wal-Mart stores.

Personally I hate going online to find a magic trick, I'd rather sit and browse through a good old fashioned catalog, then go see it up close and personal in a store setting.

Yes, I know financially I can get a better deal with an on line store, but a better deal isn't always what I'm looking for.

A real store has a certain charm that will never be equaled by the computer. I am afraid that those stores which continue to survive will have to add on a lot of items like rubber vomit to survive or will have to be a mega mart with absolutely everything magic imaginable. Those living close enough will still have their store but without the charm waiting for a blue light special on aisle five, while the rest of us peruse our e-catalogs and dial an 800 number.

I wonder how popular the Harry Potter stories would be if instead of buying wands and magic books in colorful little back alley shops it was done with a lap top?

Frank Tougas
Message: Posted by: fanwun (Jun 17, 2005 02:50PM)
Actually MagicChris, if it weren't for these shops, not many of us would be here. Yes, you may get updates on events from your local ring, but how did you find out about the ring? You can go online and buy a prop from Singapore. Still, the guy sitting on the other side of the world, behind his computer, will not be able to refer a show to you in your area.

You can also get a discounted price on many items, but you will never get an honest opinion online. Why? Because, they are not interested in you. I hate to bust your bubble, but they care even less than you think the guy behind the counter does. They don't care if you are able to properly perform what you bought. They don't even care who you are. You could be the masked magician and your sole purpose for buying an effect is to expose on TV. Guess what! Tom Salesman with the online shop does not care! The brick and mortar shop may not care either, but at least you would have to feign interest in magic.

I agree with you that some stores have crappy attendants. Still, I'd take a grumpy sales person over a someone who lie about whatever they're selling just to get you to buy it. Yeah, you might get a demo of an effect online, but the demo will only provide the best case scenario. You do not have the luxury of examining the performance in person, so you'll have to leave angle problems to trial and error.

Personally, I use both. There are things that are exclusive to some dealers, so buying online becomes a must. For my supplies, and general magic items, I like to go to the brick and mortar. I've never met a store clerk/magician that did not want to have an impromptu session. Still, you have to be mindful, and respectful, of the fact that they work in a business. When customers come in, the session takes a back seat. Heck, when customers come in, I play stoole pigeon. I act as if I just walked in a few minutes before they did, and I even give reactions to whatever is performed. Sometimes, I'll even demo some effects.

Lastly, the thing I love about the brick and mortar shop in my area is everything! The shop owner is knowledgeable and always wants to help. He's also reasonable with his prices. The icing on the cake is that he opens his floor, which is huge, for any practicing magician to strut his stuff. Or, you can take an icon like Denny & Lee's. You can go there, buy an effect and get a lesson. It's not a magic school, but if you need help with something, Denny is always there to point you in the right direction. If he doesn't teach it to you himself, he will point to the exact video or book that will. You just don't get that kind of service online.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 17, 2005 03:01PM)
Chris:

You may not like brick and mortar magic shops. That's fine. You may find their "lame greetings" and "idiotic chatter" to be a pain in the rear. So maybe one of these days you will actually have a friend who runs a good shop.

There are some bricks and mortar shops that are of little value. The Penguin Kiosk on Fremont in Las Vegas, for example. That could blow away tomorrow and I wouldn't miss it a bit. But places like Frankel's magic counter -- excellent shop. Or Joe Stevens' magic shop. Or Denny's. While they may have different opinions of some of the videos, their job is a bit more complex than you may understand. They sell products. They teach you how things work. They take care of what you need, so you will come back and buy more.

Show me an internet shop that can actually teach you what you are doing wrong, and I'll perform the loaves and fishes for you.

And then there is the aspect of the traveling magician. I have visited magic shops in six different countries. In two different shops in Germany, they recognized me instantly and pointed to things I had written or that featured me in a magazine. In Vienna, the proprietor of one of the best tiny shops I have seen knew who I was. I still order merchandise from these people.
Message: Posted by: magicsojourn (Jun 17, 2005 03:37PM)
I am a magic shop owner and have been in sales for a good portion of my life, no GAP stores however I have sold automobiles.

A magic shop is a place where people can come to learn about the art of Magic. Of all my customers, 90% of them are new to magic. A magic shop is a retail business, not to meet, greet & qualify is a big injustice to both the salesperson & the customer. Granted most magicians are not salespeople & most salespeople are not magicians. I try to make the customer feel at home by introducing myself & getting their name. I also try to see where they are in magic, beginner, intermediate or advanced. I do not try to top anybody in my store because I am here to sell not entertain. I try to give the customer what he needs as opposed to what he wants.

If a beginner comes in and just seen somebody floating a bill at a kiosk in a mall I try to gage their interest in magic. I would rather them walk out with scotch & soda and be able to do the trick within a few minutes then to sell them a float effect that they will probably not master, put the trick in the closet and never see them again as a customer because I did not find out what skill level they were. You can ascertain this information in a nice friendly manner without getting on their nerves. Also I try to demo and teach using the sales tool, the KISS principal - Keep It Simple Stupid. You want the customer to be both amazed but also to be comfortable in doing the effect themselves.

A brick & mortar shop is a place to see before you buy and then be instructed on how to do the effect. It is also a place where magicians can come to talk magic, get new ideas & buy tricks, videos, books, magazines & accessories.

I stay competitive in pricing, current in what's new and have a back room for parties, lectures & classes. If I don't have it in I can usually get it in within a week(customer oriented). I try to be fair in pricing, friendly and knowledgeable for the customer.

That's my take on a retail magic shop. Good post Tony, by the way I like your tricks.

Magically yours,
John B.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Jun 17, 2005 05:57PM)
MagicChris,

You have either had some horrible experiences with magic shops, or you are simply too polarized, for whatever reason, to accept the possibility of a good experience, even if it happens.

My area has three brick and mortar shops...all with good, helpful people.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Tony Curtis (Jun 17, 2005 08:34PM)
Thank you for all your interesting comments and thoughts. Please keep them coming.
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Jun 17, 2005 10:39PM)
In order for Brick & Mortar to survive it needs to reach beyond the rim of their area.

Its a delicate balance to keep the survival of both, there's always something one offers that others don't.

In my opinion, a shop where they actually make the magic.

I for one, love them. I grew up in them.

The only reasons why the posters above say they don't like them is they never been
in one that had an overflow of very famous, and very respectable magicians who were actually very kind and encouraging to anyone.

I don't mean chains.

Real to honest to good independent old fashioned magic shops run by people who not only love magic, but are willing to share what is best.

Just like independently run music stores.

Same thing, a place where you meet people and start up a conversation and learn from each other.

It not about ego, its about the passion.
Message: Posted by: Tony Curtis (Jun 17, 2005 10:54PM)
What worries me is there where six shops or more in London when I first became involved in magic now there are two. I am sure the same thing has happened in many other major cities around the word. It would be sad to think that one day they could all be but a memory.
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Jun 17, 2005 11:02PM)
I know what you mean.

Especially the ones that super good. But, you know its all about moving with
the times and technology.

if you can't do that, then you might find your business running to the ground faster
now than before.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 17, 2005 11:18PM)
I don't like walking into a place of business and have someone try to sell me what they think I need. And then get annoyed when I'm not interested. They have no idea what good sales techniques are. They can't read a customer.

The shops I've gone into are not the shops I went to in the 60's, 70's and 80's. They are now run by people that take no interest in magic other than selling the newest effect. When you aren't interested in the "hot" item they are trying to get you to take, they get turned off, like a cheap used car salesman.

Are there still some shops that are like those in the old days? Maybe. None I've seen the last 5 years.

You know why people don't like me saying this? Because they are nostalgic and miss the old days and know that these shops are not coming back. The times they are a chang'in.

I'm glad for the internet and the competitive prices.
Message: Posted by: mormonyoyoman (Jun 17, 2005 11:25PM)
I'm very lucky when I'm in Indiana, in having FunTyme Magic in Nashville, Indiana. (A very tiny little town, with a mini-Grand Ole Opera. I kid you not.) Ed has managed to make FunTyme a real player, even with a limited customer base, by opening an internet version of the shop. But the real treat is still going into the shop and listening to him, then walking out with whatever he highly recommends.

And that may be the only way for brick & mortar shops to stay open.


*jeep!
--Chet (Who has yet to find a magic shop retailer who was rude.)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 18, 2005 12:10AM)
Chris:

Magic shop owners aren't psychic. I have found that if I go into a shop where I am not known, and there are a lot of them, if I approach the counterman, who is normally the shop owner, and tell him what I am looking for, that cuts through all of the unnecessary BS.

Some of the people I have met this way have turned into real friends -- Barry Schorr of Presto Magic, Alan Alan, the late Ron McMillan, Betty Davenport. Some of the shops are gone now. And some have suffered from the loss of their owners -- Vienna Magic is no longer the really outstanding shop it once was. And Klingl has dwindled to a shadow of its former self. But Tam Shepherd's is still an excellent place to go.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 18, 2005 12:14AM)
Cheap salespeople don't deserve courtesy. They have their objective: SELL NO MATTER WHAT! If I told this story about a used car salesmen, everyone would agree with me. But because it deals with their nostalgia about magic shops, they get all defensive.

I think it's fun to mess with salesmen. I go into Nordstrom's dept. store, I'll have a polite salesperson ask if they can help me. If I say no thanks I'm just browsing-THAT'S IT! They politely say "If there is anything I can help you with, please let me know". That's why they get my business.

As far as the Magic Shop I went to the other day. I hadn't been to it in a few years. The last time I got shown that horrible effect virtual magician, or something. You know, gimmicked deck and a computer tells them the card they 'chose". The same guy as the other day showed it to me. He said, "As soon as I got this in, I ordered 10 more. He showed it to me and I said "That's incredible. I wouldn't have room to carry it myself, but I'll let my friends know you carry it."

Know what he did? Made a sour face and stopped talking to me. So, the other day it was fun to mess with him.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 18, 2005 12:16AM)
So you do the logical thing, and judge ALL bricks and mortar shops by one jerk.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 18, 2005 01:37AM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-18 01:16, Bill Palmer wrote:
So you do the logical thing, and judge ALL bricks and mortar shops by one jerk.
[/quote]

Bill, why do you even care? If the shops are as great as you say they are, then they will be here forever. But, they are drying up. Some major cities that used to have several shops, have none. Why is that? The Internet? Doubtful. If that were the case, than other retail shops would do the same.

It's because the folks that used to run them, that really cared about magic, are gone. Retired, deceased. Are there some good ones left? Probably. Not many. If they are, than maybe they know how to keep a customer base. They know that having cheap salesmen that only care about the quick buck is not the way to go.

Who cares what I think about brick and mortar magic shops. Unless of course it's not what I'm saying is going to close them, but what I'm saying is the truth about the majority of them.
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Jun 18, 2005 01:49AM)
Probably when Chris walks into the shop with an arrogant attitude that causes people to annoy him by selling him stuff he doesn't want.


We care (Bill and me an others) because we know what Brick & Mortar's give that
online stores can not.

If you walked into a real store where real people really care for what your
needs are, you would find out there are people there who do know more
than you.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 18, 2005 02:21AM)
I walk in as a customer. When they don't respect my wishes that I'm browsing, then they get the treatment.

Hey, I've been in an actual magic store 3 times in the last 6 years. The ones going under are doing it to themselves as I have nothing to do with them.
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Jun 18, 2005 10:24AM)
And then I suppose you always believe that these stores should not be around for the
younger children to learn about magic. Or for people to talk about their passion.

I never said you had anything to do with them going out of business. But you may carry yourself in there like you should be respected or maybe you want to pick a fight with the person behind the counter.

Who says I have to respect you when I see you walk into a magic shop?

You are a nobody except someone who is looking for something or might need help.

I don't know who you are.

So if the tables were turned and you were behind the counter and I was the customer, I expect you to kiss my ***. Because if you don't respect my wishes when I'm browsing, then you get the same treatment.
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Jun 18, 2005 10:33AM)
Another reason I love brick & mortar stores is that when you are looking for something specifically you can browse and try different things. And if it doesn't work for you when you get home, you can go back and return it and try something else.

As you go to these stores, the people get to know you and your needs and are willing
to get whatever you want at the lowest possible cost. I couldn't even imagine returning stuff via UPS/FedEx all the time, the shipping costs would be outrageous and the customer service wouldn't know your needs personally. Only the computer. Plus I hate waiting retuning expensive items in the mail.

Now you go to the store and its there and you get instead credit and then its there safely.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 18, 2005 11:09AM)
MagicChris wrote:
[quote]
Hey, I've been in an actual magic store 3 times in the last 6 years. The ones going under are doing it to themselves as I have nothing to do with them.
[/quote]

And so you really have nothing to do with them at all. And, to quote Martha Stewart, that's a good thing.

Your judgment of all bricks and mortar shops by the actions of this one shop owner are as unfair as it would be if I judged all members of any group of people by the actions of one person.

But it is human nature to behave that way.

I've mentioned this elsewhere, but I think it bears repeating. I was working a PR gig for the Greater Houston Convention a Visitors Bureau, strolling, doing magic and playing the banjo. When I approached a table, I would give them a choice of banjo music or magic. They ALWAYS wanted to hear the banjo. After I had played for them, I would ask them why they wanted to hear the banjo and not see the magic. In every case, and there were several of them, it was because some jerk had done something to them that offended or injured them in some way.

In one case, it was a fellow who had done ring flight and lost their ring. He did not reimburse them. It took a lot of persuading, but I not only did some magic for them, but I wound up performing my version of ring flight. They not only got their ring back -- they enjoyed it. So I cleaned up after a bad magician.

Bad bricks and mortar shops should and will close. But the good ones, and there are plenty of them, should not be lumped into the same category. Nor should they close.

But let's put the shoe on the other foot. You, a total stranger, walk into a shop. The salesman, who doesn't realize you want your posterior kissed, asks what brings you into the shop. So you go over to where the expensive DVDs are and start looking through them. In an effort to keep his inventory from walking out the door he engages you in conversation. That may be the way it looked to him, anyway.

Now, I don't honestly believe that you would pinch a DVD. But maybe he did. Who knows. You won't hurt his sales. The only thing that will put him out of business is his lack of technique.

Let's take a look at a contrasting shop. International Magic Studio -- Ron McMillan's old shop -- was a terriffic place to visit. If you walked in off the street, and he didn't know who you were, he would greet you and ask if there was anything he could do for you. He would introduce himself. If he found out you were a "worker," he would get his son to watch the shop while he took you to the big room where all of the really good stuff was. I hope to visit his son when I go over for the Centenary. I have fond memories of that shop.

And there are others like that here in the States, as well. They are worth seeking out.
Message: Posted by: Ed Hutchison (Jun 18, 2005 03:24PM)
Chris: you have observed bad sales practices in some magic shops, then noticed a decline in the number of brick and mortar shops, and decided that the poor service has brought about the decline.

This is reminiscent of the guy who danced around a totem pole, noticed a subsequent rain, and decided that his dance caused the rain.

I have never danced but I have often gotten wet, so I have determined that the rain must fall on all of us. There must be something other than totem-pole-dancing that causes it to rain.

In the same way, I think if you ponder the problem for a moment you'll find many reasons for the decline of brick and mortar magic shops. Some no doubt have failed because of the poor service you have cited. I'd suspect, though, that most failures have had other causes.

In fact, there are many of us who make a great effort to give our business to those who sell through traditional magic shops. We do so because we believe them to be an institution worth preserving. In my own case, I live more than 200 miles from a "real" magic shop, yet, in the past three months I have visited numerous dealers at two different conventions and have been in another seven shops during my travels.

To be honest, not all of these shops had items that interested me, so, naturally, not all these visits produced a memorable magical experience. But, with just one exception, I still encountered pleasant and helpful sales people. The lone exception was at a shop that was in the process of phasing out their line of magic and the clerk, while pleasant enough, quickly admitted that he usually sold costumes and was not really knowledgeable about magic.

I'm sorry that Chris has had other experiences, but, in the more than 30 years that I have been hanging around magic shops, I have met some very nice people. I might say, too, that while I have known some wealthy people who ran magic shops, I have never known anyone who got rich operating one. They must do it from a love of our art and I, for one, am appreciative of their efforts.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 18, 2005 06:05PM)
Ed, thanks for those great thoughts. I'm glad at least one person offered good insight.

Here’s what I keep seeing-some folks think the customer has something to prove and that the owners/sales force doesn’t have to be courteous and earn business.

Bill, you said “who doesn't realize you want your posterior kissed”
I don’t want that. I want to walk in, be greeted in a friendly manner and helped if I want it.

Businesses like magic shops should [b]bend over backwards[/b] to attract and keep customers.

A magic shop doesn’t offer discount prices. So, how can they attract customers and not go under like they do? By treating customers they way businesses used to do in the 50’s and 60’s.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 18, 2005 07:38PM)
Chris:

If you re-read all my posts, you will find that I do agree with you more than I disagree with you. I don't know whether they need to "bend over backwards" to attract business, but they do need to at least be friendly.

Most of the magic shops I trade with are friendly. The ones that aren't, or the ones that put me off, I don't go back to. But I don't judge the good ones by the bad ones.

A friend of mine once said, "You cannot judge an entire group of people by the actions of one member of that group.... The magic number is three."

Now for a reality check. Why are magic shops in business? [b]To make money.[/b] Are you with me so far? They aren't there to deliver a service to magicians. They aren't there to be a repository of all the DVDs that have been produced. They aren't there to babysit someones juvenile delinquents. The question is: "How can a magic shop make the most money?"

Some think that by trying a hard sell every time a person comes into a store, they will maximize their income. Your experience and mine show that this really won't work. The ones that are successful do it by being friendly, demonstrating tricks well, having a reasonable price, teaching, stocking things the local magicians need and performing some other services for the magic community. We have one really good magic shop in Houston. That's Frankel's Costume Company. They have been in business for at least 40 years that I know of. And they have always had a magic counter. When they moved to their present location, the set aside a very large area for a magic shop, so that it could stay functional during the Halloween season when other costume shops close their magic counters. If I go in at any time, I can purchase any basic gimmick I need, the latest DVDs, the classic books and some other things I might not find in other shops. They have some vintage magic, as well. The fellow who works behind the counter is Scott Hollingsworth. He knows magic. And he knows how to sell it. They have several magicians who come in once a week, spend their "allowance" and visit. That's a good shop. They also provide lessons for beginners, as well as a place for our SYM chapter to meet.

Granted, the costume shop actually provides support for the magic counter. But the owner loves magic and isn't likely to close the counter.

US Toy Magic in Leawood, Kansas is another place that has a lot of great stuff. I'm always treated well there. I know Phil and Andrew, and I know that they aren't going to sell me anything I don't need.

So here's the decision you have to make. Do you just want a discount? Then buy from your favorite price-cutter. But don't expect your local magic shop to help you learn how to do the stuff you buy over the internet. And don't expect some box stuffer who works for an internet magic company to tell you why you are having trouble with your latest acquisition. They probably don't know.
Message: Posted by: Tony Curtis (Jun 18, 2005 08:08PM)
Bill Palmer wrote:
[quote]
Let's take a look at a contrasting shop. International Magic Studio -- Ron McMillan's old shop -- was a terriffic place to visit. If you walked in off the street, and he didn't know who you were, he would greet you and ask if there was anything he could do for you. He would introduce himself. If he found out you were a "worker," he would get his son to watch the shop while he took you to the big room where all of the really good stuff was. I hope to visit his son when I go over for the Centenary. I have fond memories of that shop.
[/quote]
Bill things have changed there since your last visit. The studio with the big stuff has now closed, only the shop remains.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 18, 2005 09:09PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-18 20:38, Bill Palmer wrote:
Chris:

If you re-read all my posts, you will find that I do agree with you more than I disagree with you. I don't know whether they need to "bend over backwards" to attract business, but they do need to at least be friendly.

Most of the magic shops I trade with are friendly. The ones that aren't, or the ones that put me off, I don't go back to. But I don't judge the good ones by the bad ones.

A friend of mine once said, "You cannot judge an entire group of people by the actions of one member of that group.... The magic number is three."

Now for a reality check. Why are magic shops in business? [b]To make money.[/b] Are you with me so far? They aren't there to deliver a service to magicians. They aren't there to be a repository of all the DVDs that have been produced. They aren't there to babysit someones juvenile delinquents. The question is: "How can a magic shop make the most money?"

Some think that by trying a hard sell every time a person comes into a store, they will maximize their income. Your experience and mine show that this really won't work. The ones that are successful do it by being friendly, demonstrating tricks well, having a reasonable price, teaching, stocking things the local magicians need and performing some other services for the magic community. We have one really good magic shop in Houston. That's Frankel's Costume Company. They have been in business for at least 40 years that I know of. And they have always had a magic counter. When they moved to their present location, the set aside a very large area for a magic shop, so that it could stay functional during the Halloween season when other costume shops close their magic counters. If I go in at any time, I can purchase any basic gimmick I need, the latest DVDs, the classic books and some other things I might not find in other shops. They have some vintage magic, as well. The fellow who works behind the counter is Scott Hollingsworth. He knows magic. And he knows how to sell it. They have several magicians who come in once a week, spend their "allowance" and visit. That's a good shop. They also provide lessons for beginners, as well as a place for our SYM chapter to meet.

Granted, the costume shop actually provides support for the magic counter. But the owner loves magic and isn't likely to close the counter.

US Toy Magic in Leawood, Kansas is another place that has a lot of great stuff. I'm always treated well there. I know Phil and Andrew, and I know that they aren't going to sell me anything I don't need.

So here's the decision you have to make. Do you just want a discount? Then buy from your favorite price-cutter. But don't expect your local magic shop to help you learn how to do the stuff you buy over the internet. And don't expect some box stuffer who works for an internet magic company to tell you why you are having trouble with your latest acquisition. They probably don't know.
[/quote]

This thread was a good lively debate. For me, I realized after re-reading everyones input that I was [b]wrong[/b] in saying all shops should close. That was pretty childish and was born from a dislike of being treated like a “mark” by a salesmen. So, I threw out the remark they should all close. If someone owned a shop, or once owned, or had friends that owned, they’d rightly be upset. I apologize to anyone that may have offended.

Bill,
[b]My[/b] point is, there is nothing wrong with bending over backwards. Did they kiss butt? Well, they and I didn’t feel that way. We treated those patrons like family (except for the bill at the end. ;)

I think Magic Shops that combined that philosophy would fare better. They wouldn’t have to discount items, but instead offer classes and other services that an internet shop never could. They need to identify what they are missing and fill those gaps.

God bless the Café and all the folks that make it special!!!

Chris
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 18, 2005 10:02PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-18 21:08, Tony Curtis wrote:
Bill Palmer wrote:
[quote]
Let's take a look at a contrasting shop. International Magic Studio -- Ron McMillan's old shop -- was a terriffic place to visit. If you walked in off the street, and he didn't know who you were, he would greet you and ask if there was anything he could do for you. He would introduce himself. If he found out you were a "worker," he would get his son to watch the shop while he took you to the big room where all of the really good stuff was. I hope to visit his son when I go over for the Centenary. I have fond memories of that shop.
[/quote]
Bill things have changed there since your last visit. The studio with the big stuff has now closed, only the shop remains.
[/quote]

I had a feeling that would happen when Ron passed away. I know he had to have someone on duty in the shop when he took visitors down to the studio.
Message: Posted by: Tony Curtis (Jun 18, 2005 10:30PM)
Being a new kid on the block (well 52 really) I did not expect so much response to my topic so thank you all.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 18, 2005 10:35PM)
Tony:

You may be a new kid on this block, but you have been around a lot of other blocks before.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 18, 2005 10:56PM)
Bill, all I can say we're blessed to have you add your input in ths Café. You've helped a lot of folks ( me included ) in how we perform and the message we send.

Chris
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 19, 2005 01:52AM)
Chris:

Thanks. There are no hard feelings on my part here.

And believe me, I do understand your frustration and reaction with the bad magic shop. Let's face it. We run into the same thing at the hardware store and other places as well. It just doesn't hit so close to home all the time.

Let me relate an incident that happened to me several years ago. It almost caused me to sue a major music store chain in Houston. I called one of our local music stores -- one that I had worked for in the past -- and asked them if they had an electronic tuner. They said they did and they told me what it cost. I had the correct amount of money in quarters, which I had gathered in my hat at the Texas Renaissance Festival the previous weekend. Normally, merchants are tickled to get a large amount of quarters, because they generally don't have time to go to the bank on Monday morning.

So I went to the music store -- which was a fair distance from where I live -- asked for the tuner, and gave the man $40 worth of quarters. He refused to take them. Why? Not because they weren't rolled, but because I was wearing a Texas Renaissance Festival T-shirt, and he was a staunch Baptist. His pastor had condemned the lot of us because there were "evil Satanic tarot card and palm readers" at the festival, and that meant that we were to be avoided. It didn't matter that our musicians bought thousands of dollars worth of accessories from them every year.

I was really angry over this. I called the head office of the place. They knew who I was, because my name is on a very large number of the books they sell. I got a letter of apology from the head of the company, and an assurance that if I'd had $40 in pennies it would have been welcome. Needless to say, I took my business elsewhere. And they took my quarters!

But I also knew that was an anomaly in the business.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Jun 20, 2005 05:25AM)
Well, as someone who has worked in and/or run more than a couple of magic shops in his life, I'd like to toss in a few comments to the discussion, if I may.

With respect to developing a frame of reference to brick and mortar magic shops, I find it rather odd that one can generalize from an extremely limited statistical sample of three in six years time. And, no, I am not being personal, I would apply that comment to anyone, with either a positive or negative attitude as it is simply not a statistically significant sample taken within a relatively recent time frame, just for openers.

However, a personal impression based on personal experience from such a sample, is perfectly reasonable, simply because emotional responses are often based on first impressions and reinforced on repeated experience. "Once burned, twice shy," is a wise saying for a reason, after all...!

Now, as a former shop worker and someone who has manager several shops in different places across the Midwest, I believe that I can safely say that keeping an eye on a new customer who comes into a shop is generally a good idea as inventory does sometimes tend to "grow legs and leave the store on its own." Been there, seen it happen, filled out my share of police reports after catching the people who tried it.

It is also possible to notice when someone's interest is piqued and an opening in the sales cycle happens. Or just for general conversation on the topic of magic, which, in a magic shop, is usually a mutual interest.

Magic shops, unlike places like WalMart, are specialty shops, targeting a hobbyist and professional market (sometimes the people who shop there are both at the same time) and, as such, are very passionate about their interest and have few, if any people to discuss it with. This is why magic shops are often also magic hang-outs, where people will shoot the bull and discuss various tricks, magical performances and the like.

It is not only a place of commerce, but a place that is a social hub - which is something that many of the "newer" crop of magic dealers seem to miss as they are so focused on the bottom line from a financial angle, that they forget the bottom line from a human angle - making the shop a place that people actually WANT to come to because it's both a good place to shop AND to visit.

So, perhaps, when one of these "pushy" sales people "forces" themselves on one of us, maybe all they are really doing is sharing their passion over something new and cool that they have just gotten in the door and that excited them.

I know that, when I was behind the counter, I was guilty of doing that on more than one occasion. So cut the guys behind the counter a little slack now and then. They just might be excited about the newest thing they have picked up simply because they have learned something new and want to share that excitement.

I know that I did when I was behind the counter at the Treasure Chest, Marshall Brodien's shop and Max Ettinger's shop, among others. And you know what? Even though I'm not a dealer or demonstrator any more, I still do it to this very day. Some folks might call that pushy, I call it sharing my excitement and my passion for our Art.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: Larry Davidson (Jun 20, 2005 11:05AM)
I've had nothing but positive experiences dealing with outstanding brick and mortar shops, Al's Magic Shop (I wouldn't be a magician today if it weren't for Al), Barry's Magic Shop (Barry's a friend and I worked there for years), and Denny's. That's not to say there aren't bad shops out there. Of course there are.

What do I get out of brick and mortar shops that I don't get out of internet shops? Shop owners and employees who care about me and my needs, real life demos, and meeting, hanging out with, and developing friendships with other magicians.

Will quality brick and mortar shops survive? I believe that some will and some won't. In my opinion, those that have exclusives and/or that sell unique effects not available elsewhere have a chance. Survival will take much more than that, but in my view, it's one important ingredient in this internet age.

Larry
Message: Posted by: fanwun (Jun 20, 2005 03:12PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-17 16:37, magicsojourn wrote:
I am a magic shop owner and have been in sales for a good portion of my life, no GAP stores however I have sold automobiles. Maybe MagicChris is onto something, NOT. He sound like he has a huge chip on his shoulder.
A magic shop is a place where people can come to learn about the art of Magic. 90% of my customers are new to magic. A magic shop is a retail business, not to meet, greet & qualify is a big injustice to both the salesperson & the customer. Granted most magicians are not salespeople & most salespeople are not magicians. I try to make the customer feel at home by introducing myself & getting their name. I also try to see where they are in magic, beginner, intermediate or advanced. I do not try to top anybody in my store because I am here to sell not entertain. I try to give the customer what he needs as opposed to what he wants. If a beginner comes in and just seen somebody floating a bill at a kiosk in a mall I try to gage their interest in magic. I would rather them walk out with scotch & soda and be able to do the trick within a few minutes then to sell them a float effect that they will probably not master, put the trick in the closet and never see them again as a customer because I did not find out what skill level they were. You can ascertain this information in a nice friendly manner without getting on their nerves. Also I try to demo and teach using the sales tool, the KISS principal - Keep It Simple Stupid. You want the customer to be both amazed but also to be comfortable in doing the effect themselves.
A brick & mortar shop is a place to see before you buy and then be instructed on how to do the effect. It is also a place where magicians can come to talk magic, get new ideas & buy tricks, videos, books, magazines & accessories.
I stay competitive in pricing, current in what's new and have a back room for parties, lectures & classes. If I don't have it in I can usually get it in within a week(customer oriented). I try to be fair in pricing, friendly and knowledgeable for the customer.
That's my take on a retail magic shop. Good post Tony, by the way I like your tricks.

Magically yours,
John B.

[/quote]

I just wanted to come back by and drop an endorsement for John and Magic Sojourn. I didn't mention him, I think, in my initial post because his shop is new. I thought Denny & Lee's is an institution in magic and would serve as a good example. In any event, John definitely gets a nod from me. I met him when he had a kiosk in the mall. Since being in his new shop, though sometimes clearly stretched thin, he's very helpful. Everything he stated in his post is fact. You won't get the same kind of advice or nurturing as you would at Denny's, but he hasn't been in business as long either. He is reasonable with his prices. He will not shadow you around the store, especially when other customers are there(lol). He will ask you if there is anything in particular that you're looking for. If you are unsure about what you want, his salesman skills kick in, and he will sell you the cheapest crap on the shelf...NOT! Sorry, I just couldn't help that one. Really, he will help you make a good decision.

I was in the shop once when a young man was looking for something else to add to his talent show skit. I offered some advice, but John literally bent over backwards to help the young man. He showed him a few things that were meant for stage, and I think the youngin left with something. Still, his most sound advice was this, "You don't need anything else." The kid told John what he had already. Then, John, or I, asked how much time he had on stage. John immediate said, "You really don't need anything else. You have enough already. It's only 15 minutes." Still, the kid kept looking and John kept helping him AND reminding him he didn't need to add anything else. The kid also didn't have enough money to get what he left with. John gave him a further discount so he could afford it. Why'd he do it? Well, after the kid left, John told me a bit about him. He had been getting ready for the talent show for weeks and had bought most of his material from Magic Sojourn. I don't know if he liked him, knew him personally, or just felt sorry for him. I do know that some form of relationship had been built, and it resulted in the kid getting a discount on an already discounted prop (John is reasonable with his prices).

Now, when you can show me this type of scenario, on a regular basis, online, then I'll make Bill do the loaves and fish miracle...LOL.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 20, 2005 04:25PM)
All I need are twelve assistants with baggy robes and large sleeves.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 21, 2005 12:58PM)
Well, what does everyone think is the reason shops are going away? If they offer that something special you can't get from the Internet, why are they vanishing?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 21, 2005 01:08PM)
One very simple reason is that the owners of several of the major shops have either been forced into retirement, have gotten too ill to keep the business going or have passed away. If they haven't trained a successor, they won't remain in business.

Some people who open magic shops have no business doing it. There is a fellow who lives in our area who has operated at least four magic shops during the past 30 years. He goes into business, stays in business for about 3 years, then folds. He waits, gets up enough money to open the business again, stays in business for about 3 years, then folds. Slow learner.

Others persevere by having costumes or novelty items as the main source of income.

But the internet has definitely made some inroads into the business. The good ones will stay around, though. It's pretty much like anything else that is sold on the internet. At some point, personal service becomes important.

Look at the number of mom and pop bookstores that have gone out of business because of Barnes and Noble, Borders and Amazon.com. And if you are a serious publisher of mass market books, you'd better hope that Ingram picks up your book. They have a virtual lock on the distribution.

Ironically, the internet has provided a way out for the people who write small volume books. They sell through their web sites.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 23, 2005 11:46AM)
So, the good old days are gone. I have fond memories of going to shops in the 60's and 70's, but my experiences in the 90's changed that.

Bill, thanks for the insight.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 23, 2005 12:14PM)
I don't know that they are gone forever. Things like this go in cycles. And there are perennials that seem to hang on in spite of everything.

Specialty shops seem to be an "in" thing, these days. There are a couple of bookstores in my area that specialize in either antiquarian books or murder mysteries. As long as there is a large enough market for this, they will remain open. And in Humble, which is nearby, we have H&R Magic books. They do most of their business over the internet, but they still get some walk-in traffic, especially from guys who are working trade shows in the area, and who happen to be flying in or out of IAH.

But internet sales are important to almost all of us. The main thing we have to do to stay in business, if we aren't cutting prices to the bone, is to provide service. I get a couple of calls a day from people who want more information about what I offer.

The main reason I won't open a shop is that I don't like to keep regular business hours or be tied down to a location.

I'm seeing this phenomenon in other fields, as well. I have a friend in Arkansas who is a specialist in the 5-string banjo. For about 25 years she has done a business that was primarily mail order, then internet based. But you could call her anytime during normal business hours and she would give you an honest review of any products she was familiar with. And she knows her stuff. Recently, she opened a retail establishment near her house, so she can have the freedom from the "store in the house" situation. It's a case of a business going the other way, so to speak.

Niche market outlets, and that is what magic shops are, are like that.

I'll add this: the situation is not limited to the US. For example, when I was in Glasgow a few years ago, I stopped in to visit the local magic shops. There were two of them. Well, actually one of them. The other was started with a government subsidy for a minority owner who'd had no business experience before. She was trying hard to be successful, but she just didn't understand how to deal with customers. She sank like a stone. The other shop was Tam Shepherd's, which is run by Roy Walton. He has survived by knowing when to "sell" and when not to. I enjoyed the visit to his shop a great deal.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 29, 2005 02:38PM)
[quote]

Who says I have to respect you when I
see you walk into a magic shop?
[/quote]
You're right. Your in business and need customers, so you shoud not have to be nice or treat them like gold in the hopes they will come back.

That's why a lot of small business go under:they don't realize that without repeat customers, they are sunk.
Message: Posted by: evolve629 (Jun 29, 2005 04:00PM)
The cliche says it all - " A Happy Customer Is A Return Customer." You can get good or bad customer service over the magic online stores too. There are so much competition out there, our local magic shops really need to beef up how they treat their customers in order to continue the business. True, some folks like to see and feel the magic tricks before they decided to purchase it. Some are happy just by reading the reviews here at the Café and watch demo videos. However, I don't mind to pick up a magic trick or two whenever I stopped by my local magic store as I know they appreciate my business. But I also don't like to feel the pressure to have to buy something because they could be an endangered species?

It's just like everything else, there's pros and cons in everything. If it makes you feel good, then do it!
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jun 29, 2005 10:40PM)
After the Internet showed up and magic was available ( and the prices were so low ) I still felt compelled to visit a couple of the local shops ( now out of business) but, now that as a consumer that had choices, I didn't feel I had to put up with their pompous attitudes. So, eventually I stopped going.

This subject is a sore spot for folks that cherish a real shop to visit. I understand completely. But times have changed and a lot of shops stink. Yes, I realize there are still great shops around, but not many.

Could I run a great shop? Maybe/maybe not. I do have a customer service background that allows me to walk into any business and tell you if it's being run properly. You can be a salesman and still have integrity. Some of the posts on this thread said the shop didn't owe me anything and didn't have to prove anything because I walked into their shop: WRONG. They have everything to prove and a lot to lose.

I know if Bill Palmer ran a shop it would be the finest. From knowledge to customer service, he'd offer it all. Sadly, people like him are not in the retail business these days.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 30, 2005 04:18PM)
Well, actually, I am. But I don't advertise on the forum, so I don't toot my own horn here. But thanks for your kind thoughts, Chris.
Message: Posted by: saxmangeoff (Jun 30, 2005 04:44PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-29 23:40, MagicChris wrote:
I know if Bill Palmer ran a shop it would be the finest. From knowledge to customer service, he'd offer it all. Sadly, people like him are not in the retail business these days.
[/quote]

http://www.adessoverlag.com/

Geoff
Message: Posted by: cgscpa (Jun 30, 2005 09:41PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-18 00:25, mormonyoyoman wrote:
I'm very lucky when I'm in Indiana, in having FunTyme Magic in Nashville, Indiana. (A very tiny little town, with a mini-Grand Ole Opera. I kid you not.) Ed has managed to make FunTyme a real player, even with a limited customer base, by opening an internet version of the shop. [/quote]

Chet -

I go to Indiana every year to visit my brother (he lives in Carmel). I've been to FunTyme once and met Ed who was as nice as one can be. I did not know he had an internet site but will "google" him and visit it. I will be in Indiana again in August and will drop by to see him.
I have become friends and frequent golf partner of the owner of a local magic shop who has been in business for 29 years. I knew him as a kid and became reacquainted with him a few years back when my interest in magic returned. I am also his CPA. There used to be a handful of magic shops in the general area but now there are only two. We have discussed the demise of B&M shops many times (usually between golf shots). Here are some of my random thoughts:

Yes, customer service is essential, no matter what business it is. Although sales are an integral part of what a shop is supposed to do to stay alive, if you are a regular, the owner will know what type of magic you are interested in and keep you in mind when new products come in and not bother you with what you won't be interested in.

It is important that a successful shop can demo the new effects that come in. I've been in a few shops that have kids demoing new effects, literally five minutes after reading the instructions. I hate that.

Inventory control. This is more of an art than science. A shop needs to sell about half of what it orders of a particular product before it breaks even on that product so if too much is ordered it will do more harm than good. High price items are a particular concern. Most hobbyist generally won't spend more than $40 - $50 on an effect. Higher price items are a concern because they can sit on a shelf for a while before being sold or customers will try to find a better deal on higher price items online. Building inventory is a problem with any retail business. As I tell my clients, you can't pay bills with inventory. I tell all my clients that if an item sits to long, than start cutting prices (this advise is particularly hard for client's to understand since they feel they will "lose" money if sold for less than the original price. However, the money has already been lost when the product was paid for and taken into inventory.) All this on top of trying to anticipate what customers will be interested in.

The internet had no doubt hurt B&M shops. I have seen customers come into the shop, ask to see an item and then leave to go buy it online for a few bucks cheaper. I've seen people bring tricks in that were purchased online to ask for help with a particular move. I once saw a customer ask for a special order but when it came in the customer said he didn't need it anymore, he found it on-line. All this time spent on these type of "customers" take away from the regular B&M shoppers.

I like the B&M stores if only to chat with other people about magic rather than sit in front of a computer and view video demos. I have met some great people at the shop since getting back into magic (including Joe Zabel and Larry Davidson) and learned more than I could probably give back.
Message: Posted by: DustyDave (Jul 7, 2005 12:43AM)
I lament the fact that there are so few brick & mortar magic shops around. I have been into magic less than a year, but have yet to come face to face with another magician. If there were any B&M stores in my area, I know that would not be true.
There are no magic supply stores here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There used to be one in Albuquerque, but no more. As far as I know, there's not a magic supply store in the entire state of New Mexico.

As much sense as it makes to me to support local businesses and therefore local economy, I have no choice but to support internet businesses for magic supplies.
I have to tell you, there are a couple of things I have purchased that I would not have laid out my bucks for had I been able to lay my eyes on them first.

Looking at other than economics, at least the camaraderie I might have experienced at my local magic store has been replaced by the internet, too.

Thanks for letting me bend your ears a bit,
Dusty Dave
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jul 24, 2005 12:59PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-30 17:44, saxmangeoff wrote:
[quote]
On 2005-06-29 23:40, MagicChris wrote:
I know if Bill Palmer ran a shop it would be the finest. From knowledge to customer service, he'd offer it all. Sadly, people like him are not in the retail business these days.
[/quote]

http://www.adessoverlag.com/

Geoff
[/quote]

Beautiful site. Thanks, Geoff!
Message: Posted by: Barrett_James (Jul 25, 2005 09:24AM)
In commenting on magicsojourn earlier (page 1) comment about letting a prospective magic student walk out with scotch & soda and be able to do the trick within a few minutes then to sell them a float effect (i.e. Hummer/Humming/UFO card) that they will probably not master. Living in Arizona I ALWAYS have friends who have come back from Vegas who have either seen the 'floating card' or actually purchased it and 'cant make it work' and tell me they need to take it out of the drawer they put it in and have me teach them how to do it (On a side note anyone have a great excuse to tell them so I don't have to <grin>).

I travel a fair amount with work and out of town family expectations and the first thing I do is try and find local magic shops to visit, its true its getting harder and harder.

SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: If your ever vacationing in Tucson AZ (it could happen, really) you absolutely need to stop by and visit Williams Magic on 22nd, its brick and mortar, family run, branching out into the internet but keeping its doors open and is just a great afternoon to go in and visit to see whats selling, whats actually worth buying, whats 'old' (read classic) and still impresses layman, which local magi are hanging in the back room, and just watching the Williams perform for walk-in customers. I to this day go in and ask to see them perform Mis-Lead or White Bikes etc to just help me with my own performance or let them critique my presentation. Tell them James the fireman sent you so they have something to hassle me about next time I'm in!!!

Off my soapbox now, anyone using an internet dealer that knows them, their family, etc like the above mentioned brick and mortar shop?!?!
Message: Posted by: Beth (Jul 25, 2005 10:40AM)
I live in a fairly small town so no magic shops, but recently one was opened close to my home town. I was thrilled...how cool is that right?

However, as soon as I walked in, it started bad and got worse. Right away the owner starts trying to hard sell a lot of hacky, gimmicky crap, that I would have had to have been 4 or brain dead to want. So giving him the benefit of the doubt, I tell him what I am looking for. Which was fairly simple a double faced bicycle deck. Oh no, he says you can't buy those. They don't even make them. He wanted me to buy some off brand crappy deck. So I told him ...look I know they make them I buy them online all the time. He got really condescending and rude, so I left.

Now since then I have gone in his shop like twice, because I bought joke birthday gifts for friends a few times, and he tried to get me to come to some luncheons that a group of local magicians were having, tried to get me to join his ring etc, but I don't have any respect for this guy...because:

A. he is a total idiot...or B. he saw me as young and labeled me as a mark or C. He saw me as female and labeled me as a mark.

Regardless none of those scenarios endear me to him or his shop. I had always bought everything from L&L, and probably will continue to do so. They have always treated me perfectly. When you call you get to speak to a real person...if there is a problem they will fix it, and if you don't like something you get, they will take it back.

Although, I am planning on stopping at a magic shop in Tulsa when I am there so maybe my next experience with a magic shop will be better. I can kind of relate to how Chris feels tho.

Peace Beth
Message: Posted by: Chicagomagi (Jul 30, 2005 12:57PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-25 10:24, Barrett_James wrote:

SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: If your ever vacationing in Tucson AZ (it could happen, really) you absolutely need to stop by and visit Williams Magic on 22nd, its brick and mortar, family run, branching out into the internet but keeping its doors open and is just a great afternoon to go in and visit to see whats selling, whats actually worth buying, whats 'old' (read classic) and still impresses layman, which local magi are hanging in the back room, and just watching the Williams perform for walk-in customers. I to this day go in and ask to see them perform Mis-Lead or White Bikes etc to just help me with my own performance or let them critique my presentation. Tell them James the fireman sent you so they have something to hassle me about next time I'm in!!!

Off my soapbox now, anyone using an internet dealer that knows them, their family, etc like the above mentioned brick and mortar shop?!?!
[/quote]

First post here so hopefully I don't goof up.

Anyway, I'm 41 just getting back into magic as a hobbyist and I have made a couple of trips to Midwest Magic and Magic Inc. in Chicago. I have to tell you that while you can find "deals" on the Internet, there's no substitute for going to a real magic shop. For me it really fuels the passion that I have for it by watching pros and talking about it with real humans. (No offense I think online forums are great too.)

Well, I'm here in Tucson visiting relatives and I plan to go and visit Williams Magic!
Message: Posted by: lane99 (Jul 31, 2005 01:46AM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-18 02:37, MagicChris wrote:
If the shops are as great as you say they are, then they will be here forever. But, they are drying up. Some major cities that used to have several shops, have none. Why is that? The Internet? Doubtful. If that were the case, than other retail shops would do the same.
[/quote]

I think the internet does have a lot to do with it. But it's in conjunction with another factor that people who hang out in this forum usually can't grasp. Namely,
the overall market for magic is small. The reason there is a GAP in every mall in every city all over the world is because it seems most people in the world can't get by without pants. But most can get by without buying a magic trick.

Personally, I don't appreciate how magic is marketed/sold in general. Whether on the internet, or a BM store, the customer's concerns are blatantly subordinated to the vendor's in a way that people would find intolerable if we were talking about any other type of product. Please don't confuse my meaning. I don't mean, as others may have been ranting about, the salespeople are usually officious. I mean I don't like buying things where I'm not told exactly what it is; and what I AM told is misleading; and then, once I do find out what is it, I can't return it if it doesn't suit my needs. I don't think there's many other products which make such sold in such a harsh way.

Apart from that, though, I would still sometimes get a kick out of visiting a BM store if there was any here. I live in Vancouver, BC. I don't know of any complete magic store here. There are a couple of magic nooks in some novelty stores. Actually, though, by coincidence, I just tried to phone one of these shops today, and their phone line was disconnected (store name: Gizmoz). I'm not sure if it was a momentary glitch, or whether this shop bit the dust.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 31, 2005 02:13AM)
Beth:

Don't let your experience with this sexist idiot sour you against all of the magicians in your town. He is just one member of the local magic club. He may have a lot of clout with them, but he does not represent ALL B&M magic shops.

He has demonstrated to you (and the rest of us) that he is either a liar or completely uninformed as to what is available in magic. He deserves to go out of business.

Go to the magic luncheon. Have lunch a few times, then lay your best magic on them. Do something they can't explain. Join their local club. Infiltrate it. Take it over. Run it right.

There are a couple of shops that are on the internet and that show up at conventions that I have a lot of trouble with -- there is one that orders everything that is very popular and sells it for just a few percent over wholesale. I'm not going to give out a name. They won't last. They can't. At some point, they will find that their operating expenses do them in. Unless they are independently wealthy, their shop will collapse.

There is another that sells lots of knockoff merchandise. "Wonderful-Bar" instead of Wonder-bar, etc. These people are a boil on the behind of the magical retailer, and the magical inventor.

Magic shops are like almost anything else -- Sturgeon's Law applies to them.

I was in London last week, and spoke to Alan Alan. Alan ran a great shop. When he retired, he did not sell it. He knew that people came in to see him and not the merchandise.

He was a good dealer.

But even some of the "venerable ones" have their problems. When I was in Vegas, I phoned a local magic shop to find out about what they had in cups. I got strange answers from the help. Maybe I should have stuck with books.

Regarding good internet dealers -- there are two that I know quite well and feel very comfortable dealing with.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Aug 1, 2005 06:31PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-17 08:29, maxello wrote:
I am a Internet Magic dealer myself but for be honest with you:
I LOVE to go inside Brick and Mortar Magic Shops for looking and "smelling" the Atmosphere there.
I always find something I cant refuse to buy.

No I hope these shops will survive!!!
[/quote]

Speaking of atmosphere, have you ever been to Abbotts? Man they have TONS of it!! you can pick up a new effect, or a copy of Genii or "Magic" magazine, and you can just get lost in the tons of historical posters of great magicians of the past that literally PLASTER their walls AND ceiling! Abbott's is a place in which you can literally taste and FEEL the magic in the atmosphere.

You never know who will stop in and that you might be looking at the sparkling glass show cases replete with every kind of magic your heart desires one second, and the next second find yourself face to face with Jeff McBride, or Shimada, or Lord knows who.

If this "brick and mortar " shop closed, it would be a sad, sad day indeed for the magic world...because in closing, years and years of magic's rich and colorful history would be gone with the wind.

I think I would weep a river if it ever happened.
Message: Posted by: jrbobik (Aug 5, 2005 11:51AM)
I am going to add a couple of thoughts.

I always cringe when I hear about bad experience from customers. Matter of fact customer service is so bad anymore that my face is in a constant cringe. Not a very pretty site.

Think of it this way.

When you go out shopping over the weekend keep track of how many times you are treated poorly as a customer. Then imagine going to work in a retail store. How many people do you think are going to walk though your door and still be happy after all the bad customer experiences that they just had at the other stores? It makes you job a lot harder to help them now.

How many times have you been in a store that was packed and you could not find anyone to help you except the one person behind the counter that was too busy talking about their date last night with someone on the phone?

OK, I will get to the point! It is very hard to give great customer service or sales if you do not get to see how it is done properly. A lot of the problem is that so many managers/owners do not have the time and in a lot of cases the knowledge to teach the staff the right way to help customers. They do not realize the impact this has on their business.

So, what do we do?

We tell the staff, managers and anyone that will listen that their service is poor or they are too pushy. Sometimes people do not realize they are being pushy. I loved it when someone told me what we did wrong. A lot of the time it was something I would have never thought would be a problem. I would then try and fix it if I could. Sometimes there was nothing I could do except listen and make the customer understand I really did care about them.

We need to let the stores and not just magic stores know that we are not happy with the service that is being provided. Smart stores will listen. Bad ones will not and over time will go out of business.

Real stores are a two way street. The store needs to supply a good product and service and the customer has to be willing to buy the items. What I mean by that is not come in the store ask the person to demonstrate several items then go home and buy it from the internet at a cheaper price. The extra money you might pay at the store saved you from reading a killer description or seeing a video with perfect angles and then getting the product to find out it really is an awful product and it goes in that box we all have labeled "bad magic". So trust the people behind the counter and let them know what they are doing right or wrong.

I do it all the time and have seen changes that I suggested actually happen and guess what those stores have my business for a long time.

Please visit the brick stores and let them know how they are doing. You never know you could just turn that bad store into a great one and you never know who might just walk in while you are there.

Just my opinion.

Thanks for reading!

John Bobik
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 5, 2005 12:45PM)
I do more shopping by phone than I do by direct internet ordering. I have found that in most cases, I can have crucial questions answered by knowledgeable staff, which leads to fewer bad purchases.

Also, many of my purchases tend to be of high end equipment. So I want it to work. I don't want to have to return it. I ask very specific, probing questions that are crucial to what I want to do, then I add this, "If this isn't suitable for my performing conditions, all of which I have outlined to you, may I return it, if I leave it in original condition?" The good shops will let you do this, if you already know the secret of the trick. The bad ones won't.

But don't abuse this. Otherwise it won't work for any of us!

There is such a thing as "internet networking." Good internet dealers do want us to have a good experience shopping with them.

However, beware the really deep discounters -- the fellows who offer you magic for "5 to 10% above cost." Here's why. Most of them don't know anything about magic. They also don't know anything about business. They forget to work in their operating expenses, and then suddenly they end up with a supply problem. They will forget to pay a supplier, and they won't be able to fill your order. Then they charge the item to your card without sending it.

This has happened to several magic shops in the last year or two. It happens when a magic shop is under-capitalized.

Much of what you buy at a magic shop comes from a central supplier. Unless your shop orders huge quantities of "stuff," they get the same price as any other store. The brick and mortar store has to figure in rent, property tax, phone lines (business phones!), salaries and a host of other things. The internet store is supposed to factor these things in, but may forget about them. The big one is taxes. If they don't pay them, there are severe penalties involved.

But they can even operate without a business phone.

So, when you order from an internet only business, ask yourself these questions:

1) Are there any magicians on their staff?
2) Do they answer your questions from a basis of real knowledge?
3) Do they have a physical location, other than someones bedroom?
4) Do they charge your card before the goods are there?

Some do, some don't.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Dec 27, 2005 11:06PM)
I went to a "real, brick and mortar magic shop" yesterday and had a great time. In the past, I HATED these shops. There was always a cheesey salesman trying to sell me something I didn't want or need. This shop didn't have that and I spent a couple hundred dollars, as I've posted elsewhere.

I'm sure there are many "brick" shops that are run by folks that care about magic and can demo items without taking advantage of newbies.

It was fun to handle a prop before buying and see a "live" demo.
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Jan 18, 2006 12:30PM)
[quote]
On 2005-12-28 00:06, MagicChris wrote:
I went to a "real, brick and mortar magic shop" yesterday and had a great time. In the past, I HATED these shops. There was always a cheesey salesman trying to sell me something I didn't want or need. This shop didn't have that and I spent a couple hundred dollars, as I've posted elsewhere.

I'm sure there are many "brick" shops that are run by folks that care about magic and can demo items without taking advantage of newbies.
It was fun to handle a prop before buying and see a "live" demo.
[/quote]
Somebody has finally seen the light !

When I go to the Magic Sojourn, John never forces anything down my throat - but he makes sure to inform me what he got in new that week, which is what I like. He tries to tailor this to my known interests - bizarre and spooky - when he can.
Not only that, but he's saved me money by providing insight to the effects on the market that aren't what they seem, you can never get that kind of service online, where your decision is at the mercy of the standard mfg's description, and hopefully a few bonafide customer reviews.
He's honest to the point of possibly losing a sale or two here and there, but in the long run the repeat business and trust he generates will more than make up for it.
It's just a matter of finding the right shops - I got lucky on my first "hit", but they're out there.
Message: Posted by: magicsojourn (Jan 19, 2006 02:44PM)
Thanks Mystician, I review items before I get them in. A major source for reviews has been the magic Café. I also try to get reviews from my customer base. I don't have the free time like I used to in learning new magic so I rely on these reviews.
Honesty is the best policy and I thank you for your comment.

Magically yours,
John B.
Magic Sojourn
Message: Posted by: Review King (Apr 5, 2006 12:31PM)
The one shop I went to I really like. It's a bit far away, but a great place. So, there are good ones.

This week I was driving by the bad one again. I decide I’ll go in and get Magic magazine. BUT…I’ll be nice and buy a couple of things, as over priced as they are.

So, I get a DVD and a Coin. Counter/Owner isn’t happy with that and wants to show me the latest thing out there. I already have it and before he can go any further I say “oh that’s a great effect, I use it all the time”. and he says “ you bought it from someone else? Shame on you”.

So I say “ coming in here is like going t a used ca lot” and I walk out without making a purchase.

The other place is worth the drive!
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 6, 2006 02:39AM)
I know a guy who has been the owner/operator of at least four different magic shops. He can't stay in business. He has the kind of attitude that drives customers away. You walk in and say, "Hey! Joe! How are you?"

And the whining starts -- "Well, my wife is sick, my son is in the hospital, my gall bladder hurts and business is slow...."

OTOH, when Archie was in business, he kept people coming in. I never saw his shop empty. NEVER. I had to drive 25 miles to get to his shop, but I went there at least twice a week.

Archie was very special. He had a condition which caused the tendons on his left hand to contract. The doctor told him he would have to amputate his right little finger or he would end up with a claw for a right hand. So Archie told him, "Well, I guess I'd better learn some jokes about missing a finger."

The doctor said, "What are you, some kind of maniac?"

Archie said, "No, doctor. My shop is called Archie's Fun Shop. If I can't laugh at myself, I can't laugh at anything."

The doctor agreed with that.

So Archie asked me to write him a line about missing a finger. I held out my hand for a handshake and said, "Give me four." He nearly fell out laughing! And this was before "Alf" was on television, too.

When Archie died, he was well-off. Joe is still broke.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Apr 6, 2006 10:14PM)
Bill, thanks for sharing that story. It goes beyond magic. It shows how far attitude can take you in this life.

I'm glad I found the "good" shop, because I never knew why anyone liked these shops.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 7, 2006 09:25AM)
This thread has inspired me to post something else that may be of value to the forum.

When you get right down to it, buying furniture really isn't that much different than buying magic. You just can't put ill-advised purchases in a shoebox in your garage. And good furniture is not cheap. You can buy furniture on the internet, if you don't mind your wife telling you that it's ugly when it gets to your house, or that it won't fit through the front door. And the quality may not be at all like what you see in the photos on the internet.

There is a fellow in Houston who sells furniture. If you have ever been to Houston and watched television for more than an hour, you have seen a commercial with this guy jumping up and down with a fistful of bills and yelling: "I REALLY WILL SAVE YOU MONEY!" His name is Jim McKingvale, AKA "Mattress Mack."

Mack came to Houston about 25 years ago with $1500 in his pocket and a big dream. He set up a tent showroom on I-45 and sold furniture with high pressure salesmen. He was successful for a while, but his sales fell off when people became disenchanted with his methods. Then he discovered the writings of William Demming, who introduced the concept of high quality production into Japan. Mack began to suspect that he wasn't doing the best thing by his customers and sales people. So he adopted new policies.

No longer were you attacked by an aggressive salesman when you went into the store. Instead, a salesman would approach you, ask you what you wanted, and guide you to what you asked for. If you had questions, he would answer them. The salesmen were no longer on commission. There were bonuses, but the drive to push people into buying was no longer there. People felt more at ease in Mack's store.

He also guaranteed same day delivery. He has furniture of just about any level of quality you could ask for, except for total custom work. The first time I went in there, I left without purchasing anything because I was offended. Now, I'm a regular customer, even though I have to drive a long way to get to his place. I save money by shopping there. And any time you go into his shop, you will find it full of customers, and more important, he will be there.

His motto -- late to bed, early to rise, work like Hell and advertise. Now he is a very wealthy man. He contributes furniture to the needy and he is a pillar of the community.

I could tell you more stories about him, but I don't want to fill this up with non-magical material.

If any magic dealer worked the same way Mack does, he would very likely become a wealthy person.
Message: Posted by: RickyD (Apr 7, 2006 12:32PM)
Something I've seen as a trend recently, and I believe a couple of you have mentioned something like this already -- magic shops that have "diversified". One of the two magic shops here in town has just as many (if not more) gags, toys, and things you would find at a place like Spencer's as they do magic tricks. When you walk in, that's the first thing you see. Sure, there's a counter with magic stuff, but that seems to be taking a back-seat to the gags any more. Then there was a shop near where I used to live in Texas that had honestly become a large costume shop with just a little corner area devoted to magic. (I think they may have even changed their name, taking the word "Magic" out of it now. But don't quote me on that.) I'm afraid that, even if we don't lose our brick-and-mortar magic shops outright, we're still losing something when stuff like this happens. (Granted, my "favorite" in-town shop does carry some gags and stuff like that, but it's primarily a magic shop, with just a small rack of gag stuff for those who insist on buying it.)

Is it the internet's fault? Maybe partly. Might also be that they're catering to what the people want, and more and more kids are coming in buying stuff to gross-out their friends or pull pranks and stuff like that. (And as far as the costume shop -- don't know what's going on there.) But I think there might be other factors as well. For example, if my "favorite" shop closes down, it will most likely be because the owner wants to be able to spend more time with family and more time performing professionally than worrying about trying to run a business.

There was one other magic shop near where I lived when I was in Texas. (What is it with me living in towns with two competing magic shops?) I became really good friends with that shop-owner, and he told me flat-out that his shop was operating at a loss. He didn't have the shop for the money. (That's why he performed professionally.) He had it to share magic, help people get into the art, etc. And I think that mentality is another thing that's endangered.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 7, 2006 06:02PM)
There are only a handful of magic shops that have been able to support themselves entirely through the sale of magic. Almost every one of them has something else that really supports the magic.

There was one shop near here that used to even manufacture a few things -- they are almost entirely a costume shop now. That's not just because costumes are more profitable, though. There are other reasons. Magicians are like any other customers. They appreciate being told the truth. They appreciate a fair price. And they appreciate knowledgeable people behind the counter.
Message: Posted by: Payne (Apr 7, 2006 06:39PM)
Seattle was fortunate enouh to have a Magician only shop for several years. Unfortunately it closed over a decade ago due to the owner having a stroke.

The NoveltyMagicCostume shop is far from new and more the norm than it is the exception.
Message: Posted by: jwebyra (Apr 8, 2006 11:33AM)
I was in Tannens in New York yesterday for about 5 minutes and the place was dead. No other customers the whole I was there. There were 2 salespeople talking with themselves. I remember there were usually at least a few people there when they were down on 25th St.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Apr 8, 2006 11:45AM)
Funny you say that. I went to Tannens on my last trip to Monday Night Magic, and when I commented to the snoozing sales person that they were very hard to find he told me "we like it that way" so shooting yourself in the foot is commonly practiced even by the big guys.
HAVE FUN
Al Angello
Message: Posted by: jwebyra (Apr 8, 2006 12:00PM)
As terms of being hard to find...yes but I remember it is in the same building as Flosso Magic was. They were on the 4th floor while Tannens is on the 6th. You have to know what you are looking for because there are no signs saying that Tannens is in there except for the sign in the lobby and the security guard sitting there.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Apr 8, 2006 12:31PM)
And you have to know exactly what you want before you go in, because the sales personell DON'T CARE, and they look at you as if to say why are you bothering me. I love visiting Gothem, but I won't go back to Tannens again.

By contrast I visited Brian Dube's workshop/retail store in Soho the same day, and what a pleasant experience. I spoke to Brian who convinced me that even though my juggling clubs were still good the flashier ones will make me noticed, so I bought the new clubs and highly recomend visiting the finest juggling equipment manufacturer there is in the world the next time you visit NYC.
HAVE FUN
Al Angello
Message: Posted by: jwebyra (Apr 8, 2006 12:59PM)
Mr. Angello,
I remember when Tony Spina ran Tannens. He would always help me and show me the latest whenever I saw him. I had no problem not spending a dime yesterday.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 8, 2006 07:56PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-08 12:45, Al Angello wrote:
Funny you say that. I went to Tannens on my last trip to Monday Night Magic, and when I commented to the snoozing sales person that they were very hard to find he told me "we like it that way" so shooting yourself in the foot is commonly practiced even by the big guys.
HAVE FUN
Al Angello
[/quote]

I haven't thought of Tannen's as one of the "big guys" since Tony left. Their service is basically nonexistent. I'll give you an example of how bad they really are. I ordered a set of those ridiculous Garcia cups from them a little over a year ago. The listing on their web site stated that the cups came with a bag and a book on the cups and balls. They came with neither. So I called them and mentioned this. The fellow who took the order said, "Oh, yeah. They don't come with bags any more."

"What about the book?"

"It's just the Tom Osborne book. Do you still want it?"

"Yes, I paid for it didn't I?"

They are as bad as the other "don't give a ***" bricks and mortar dealers that have given bricks and mortar dealers a bad name.
Message: Posted by: jwebyra (Apr 29, 2006 09:32AM)
I went to Martinka Magic the other day. The stor is located in the way back around the corner of a strip mall and there were people coming in to the store. The owner was nice as he talked to everyone and even demoed. Compared to the store in New York City which has been mentioned by myself and others on this thread, this is how a magic shop be. I wish him the best of luck and will be shopping there from now on.

Ron
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 29, 2006 10:52AM)
I've dealt with Martinka's on line and via telephone since Ted Bogusta took it over. He is acutely aware of the position the shop has historically. He is a very knowledgable guy, and he understands how to treat his customers.

After the last auction, he brought my winnings to me at the collector's weekend in DC. He didn't have to do that. It was more convenient for me, and he was going to be there, anyway, but he could have demanded to mail the pieces I won.

You can bet that if I ever get to New Jersey, that will be one of the first places I visit. I doubt that I would go into NYC just to visit Tannen's.


Posted: Apr 29, 2006 2:47pm
-------------------------------------------
Funny thing about this thread, how it keeps coming back to the top. I just got off the phone from a conversation with a fellow who works at what used to be one of the best magic shops in the country, until the owner passed away, about a year ago. Now they are running with a skeleton crew, and they really aren't taking care of business.

I called to find out if they had any of a certain item I had manufactured in stock. Before I could finish the sentence, the fellow who answered the phone said, "I already told ___ about that. He is going to get back to you."

I said, "No, I'm calling for an entirely different reason. I want to purchase one if you still have them in stock."

"I don't know if we do. ____ will get back to you. I'm with a customer right now."

Boy! That steams me. I know they need to take care of their customers. But I'm one, too. They have no idea how much I might spend in one phone call. There is no call for rudeness. And there is no call for interrupting people when they have a legitimate request.

I don't know why I should expect ____ to call me back, anyway. He didn't when I called the first time, over a MONTH ago.

I hope someone buys this shop and moves it to a better location.
Message: Posted by: Marvello (Apr 29, 2006 02:10PM)
I was lucky enough to grow up in a town that had 2 magic stores: one run by Hank Moorehouse, and the other was run by Dennis Loomis (sadly both are closed now). I also lived with a couple hour drive of Abbott's Magic, and Magic Inc.. I would have lost out on meeting Hank & Dennis and Karrel Fox and Jay Marshall if it had not been for B&M stores. I find it sad that Abbott's is a mere shadow of it's former self, but it is still fun to visit. I buy things online because it is easier these days, but I really miss going to B&M shops.
Message: Posted by: Jimmy Joza (Apr 30, 2006 05:07PM)
Yes, things have changed a great deal at Tannen's. It saddens me to hear of others' experiences there. While I generally receive good treatment when I have gone, it just doesn't feel the same since Tony left. The new owner, Steve Brown, is helpful. However, the last time I was there was probably over six months ago.

Now, Fantasma Magic has opened up shop one block away on 33rd Street, right off the corner of 7th Avenue. It looks great! Staff there is very attentive and I can see this attracting many tourists interested in magic. It happened that Mr. David Roth himself was there and he demonstrated a chop cup routine to me using the Fantasma Buddha Chop Cup. What a treat! Now, I don't think they will stocked like Tannen's or other long established magic stores but it certainly is a refreshing addition. They will also have lectures on the last Thursday of each month --- first lecture in May will be by David Roth. By the way, if you stop by make sure you ask to see Houdini escape from his straightjacket.

Jimmy
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Apr 30, 2006 05:51PM)
Jimmy
I'm going to Monday Night Magic May 15th, and I'll check Fantasma Magic out, of course if it's a sunny day my wife will insist on central park instead. Thanks for the tip.
HAVE FUN
Al Angello
Message: Posted by: Jimmy Joza (Apr 30, 2006 09:13PM)
Enjoy, Al! I may be going tomorrow --- I've never seen Patrick Page live.

Jimmy
P.S. I just noticed the PM about Billy McComb having died about an hour ago. Truly a loss. It was really a pleasure having seen him do an impromptu act at a magic shop in Queens when he visited there a few months ago. Thank you, Billy, for all that you have offered to the magic community!
Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (May 1, 2006 06:27AM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-18 02:49, Marshall Thornside wrote:

If you walked into a real store where real people really care for what your
needs are, you would find out there are people there who do know more
than you.
[/quote]
Caring people exist online as well. As the proprietor of a mail order magic business, I get lots of inquiries about products and I try hard to give thoughtful answers based on being a professional magician since 1970.

Brick and mortar stores are under siege in many industries... not just magic. I was an English major in college and continue to be an avid reader. I buy lots of books and used to browse in brick and mortar bookstores a couple of times a week. But, I can find books much easier online, and Amazon has them delivered to my door in a few days. No $$$$ spent on gas, no looking for a parking place, no wasted trips to discover that the book I am seeking is not in stock, etc.

The world is changing. Brick and mortar magic shops have a lot of overhead. But the good ones are wonderful places and I have so many fond memories of time spent with Roy Kissell at Fox Fun n Magic in Detroit, with Neil Foster and Duke Stern at Abbotts, and with Jay Marshall and the gang at Magic, Inc. in Chicago.

Earlier in this thread it was suggested that I ran a magic shop in Ann Arbor. And that Hank Morehouse ran a competing one. Just to set the record straight: I did not ever have a magic shop in Ann Arbor. The confusion comes from the fact that I worked for Hank and for a time was the Saturday Counter Demonstrator. But it was Hank's shop. Hank and I took his "shop" on the road to magic conventions as well.

Dennis Loomis
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 1, 2006 09:02AM)
I'm proud to be an on-liner, not only for my magic supplies, but over half of my retail purchases. I read that on-line stores (many of them retailers) showed an 80% increase in internet sales last year. The customer wasn't bothered if they paid sales tax at the point of sale.
I prefer dealer showrooms and lecture materials over the magic shop, which seem more inclined to sell gags and masks these days (in my area).
Message: Posted by: jwebyra (May 1, 2006 10:14AM)
Mr. Joza

Do you have an address for Fantasma Magic. I plan on being in Mid-Town either on Wednesday or Thrusday.

Thank you,

Ron
Message: Posted by: Vater Araignee (May 1, 2006 12:24PM)
I love B&M shops but I have this bad habit of purchasing things that I can make cheaper, and considering I am an avid DIYer that should be a testament to what a physical location means to me.
I also got my first deck of tigers for $5.00, Ellusionist cost $6.99 + $3.95. What a rip off I know for a fact that it costs $1.11 to send by US mail but hey ya gotta maximize your profits even if it means making a profit on shipping, right? B&M is the best choice unless you can only find an item on line.

Just my opinion.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 1, 2006 12:52PM)
You would have a fair argument if all that Ellusionist did was slap a mailing label on the card case and put a stamp on it. But the envelopes and packing cost money. So does the labor to label and sort everything.

I used to complain about the postage people charged on items. Then I started mailing things out. It costs a lot more than you would think to mail something like a deck of cards, a set of cups, even a baseball.

I'm not a big fan of Ellusionist. I am even less of a fan of Black Tiger Decks. But in all fairness, I have to say that you knew what the postage was before you ordered them. And you could have gotten the postage down to $1.32 per deck, if you had ordered three decks.

Also, the more of these you order, the less they cost you.

Since you got these at a discount, whoever you got them from must have ordered them from Ellusionist in the first place, because they are the sole source of the cards. They have an exclusive from USPCCo. Same is true for the strange Tally-Ho cards, as well.

Your Brick and Mortar dealer must have ordered a LOT of these to get a price that would allow him to sell them to you so cheaply and still make a profit. Treasure him. He may not be around much longer.

See, here's the thing most people miss out on. No matter how much a dealer loves magic, he can't afford to keep his doors open if nobody buys from him. You can't eat your stock. You do have to make enough of a profit to keep the lights on.

I'm not saying that you should slavishly walk into your dealer's and buy every chunk of crud that he pushes across the counter top. What I am saying is that when you find a dealer who does right by you, take the time to help him stay in business. Send your friends over. Buy your ropes, accessories, etc. from him, not on line.

It will pay off in the long run. I can't tell you how many times I have set out for a gig that I realized I would need to run by the magic shop and pick up some rope or some other item that you can't get in a hardware store.

It happens may be once or twice a year, but when it does, I'm thankful that I have someone to go to.
Message: Posted by: Marvello (May 1, 2006 01:07PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-30 22:41, cgscpa wrote:
[quote]
On 2005-06-18 00:25, mormonyoyoman wrote:
I'm very lucky when I'm in Indiana, in having FunTyme Magic in Nashville, Indiana. (A very tiny little town, with a mini-Grand Ole Opera. I kid you not.) Ed has managed to make FunTyme a real player, even with a limited customer base, by opening an internet version of the shop. [/quote]

Chet -

I go to Indiana every year to visit my brother (he lives in Carmel). I've been to FunTyme once and met Ed who was as nice as one can be. I did not know he had an internet site but will "google" him and visit it. I will be in Indiana again in August and will drop by to see him.
[/quote]

When you go there, be sure to ask him about the wide selection of ripoff magic effects that he sells, such as the "APPEARING 8' LADDER FROM TOOLBOX" (and other appearing poles), "FLOATING MATCH ON CARD," :(

http://www.magicunlimited.com/NewvsOriginal.htm


Posted: May 1, 2006 2:21pm
-------------------------------------------
[quote]
On 2006-05-01 07:27, Dennis Loomis wrote:
Earlier in this thread it was suggested that I ran a magic shop in Ann Arbor. And that Hank Morehouse ran a competing one. Just to set the record straight: I did not ever have a magic shop in Ann Arbor. The confusion comes from the fact that I worked for Hank and for a time was the Saturday Counter Demonstrator. But it was Hank's shop. Hank and I took his "shop" on the road to magic conventions as well.

Dennis Loomis
[/quote]You are correct, of course- that was my confusion. I was not suggesting you were competing with Hank at all either - I do remember bugging you on many saturdays at Hank's shop. I was confusing the 2nd shop with Daryl Hurst's small shop.

My memory aint what it used to be... or is it? I forget. ;)
Message: Posted by: Vater Araignee (May 2, 2006 12:42AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-01 13:52, Bill Palmer wrote:
You would have a fair argument if all that Ellusionist did was slap a mailing label on the card case and put a stamp on it. But the envelopes and packing cost money. So does the labor to label and sort everything.

I used to complain about the postage people charged on items. Then I started mailing things out. It costs a lot more than you would think to mail something like a deck of cards, a set of cups, even a baseball.

I'm not a big fan of Ellusionist. I am even less of a fan of Black Tiger Decks. But in all fairness, I have to say that you knew what the postage was before you ordered them. And you could have gotten the postage down to $1.32 per deck, if you had ordered three decks.
[/quote]
A well thought out argument Mr. Palmer but I would like to point out that I have seen a padded envelop deal that ends up breaking down to $0.03 per envelope and considering Ellusionist can obviously afford the cost of 10,000 decks certainly this is not out of reach. Now assuming that they are using the standard mark up of 100% on their bulk orders that would mean that the 200% markup on a single deck would make it so that they could offer a better shipping deal but because of the exclusivity that you mentioned, simply put "They don't have to."
Soon I will be ordering the CAJ deck It only has a $1.50 shipping price, then you can look at Penguin Magic with free shipping. Now I know that PM is much bigger than E but when you look at it or the low cost of the CAJ, it is very difficult not to feel ripped off.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 2, 2006 02:08AM)
Vater, who at Ellusionist is going to package that deck for you? Who drives to the Post Office? Who pays for his gas? Who purchases packing supplies? Better yet, what employees do they have who work for nothing? And what landlord doesn't ask for rent each month? Utilities? Shall I go on?

You have to factor in all the variables. If Penguin Magic ships for free, they have to make it up somewhere else. Remember TANSTAAFL (There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch)It just means they have lower overhead than E.

A 100% markup on a $3 item means they only made $3 on the sale before expenses. You have to push a LOT of merchandise to make ends meet with an income of only $3 per item.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 2, 2006 02:43AM)
I've never seen padded envelopes quite that cheap. If you have a legitimate source for them, let me know.

Ellusionist actually pays a lot less than 50% off retail for their cards. That's the only way they can afford to wholesale them to other people. The "standard" 50% discount is not consistent all of the time. Jobbers want a bigger discount than 50% and traditionally offer a discount closer to 40%. And that depends entirely upon how many units you are ordering. There is also a tremendous cost outlay when trying out a new deck.

When Ellusionist ordered their first Black Tiger decks a couple of years ago, they had no idea whether they would be successful or not. They took a big risk, and it worked. Penguin operates on a much lower margin of profit than Ellusionist. I'm know more about this than I can say here, but I know that they have been bailed out a couple of times. You can't provide products for your customers without making a profit. They may save on various aspects of their postage -- big shippers get better prices on postage than normal people. They may save by contracting some of their products themselves, but in the long run, they must have products that they charge more than the normal markup on in order to support their loss leaders.

Go to the Penguin site and look at the prices for some of the staple items -- Bicycle Rider Backs, Bees, etc. Now everyone here who knows about Costco or Sam's Club knows that they can get Bikes for about $13.50 a dozen decks. So why pay almost $3.00 for them on line? It makes no sense.

Have you ever tried to hold an intelligent conversation about any products with an ordertaker at Penguin? You should. It will be educational.

Call them and ask "That rising card you are selling -- does it work like a Devano?"

See what happens.
Message: Posted by: Vater Araignee (May 2, 2006 03:20AM)
;) Ok I can admit when I'm beaten or stomped as it seems, but that doesn't mean "I" feel any less taken.
Especially considering when I spend $130 to make my self 6 all of a kind decks I'll sell what I wont use ([i]first come first served[/i]) for $8.00 and zero shipping.
Message: Posted by: cajmagic (May 2, 2006 12:57PM)
Re: Shipping

It is though sending things through the mail - Not just from a cost standpoint.
Many don't realive how hard it is to pack a deck so it doesn't get crushed.
or just the cost by weight (39c plus 24c per added ounce)

And that includes the cost of the envelope which for a deck of cards is between 15c to as much as $1.75

Re: Brick and Mortar

If they all disappear - there will be few new magicians. The store is not
there for us - it is there for the novice - who could become a magician.

Has anyone been to Vagas and their Magic Store (Forget the name) - in the Casinos
they perform then sell tricks (very overpriced but I am sure their overhead
is $$$$.

This is the purpose of Brick and Mortar.

As an aside I am a stamp collector also - Few stamp stores remain today - went
through the same thing.

The goal of a stamp collector was to RETIRE to a stamp store and sell their
collection. I think the same is true for old magicians.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 2, 2006 02:35PM)
Interesting thread from the point of view of the magician mostly, not the dealer. The thing is that magic shops the way they used to be are closing and we seem to lose more every year.

Why?

Because they do not have enough sales to support the business as a business. And that line is speaking from my own personal experience an being involved in my Dads magic shop.

The problem with magic and the selling of magic is that to support a business you have to be able to hear that cash register ring. The good part of magic shops is that they can end up being a social gathering for magicians and other entertainers to meet. The bad thing is that when the social gathering gets in the way of the cash register ringing that is one of the problems.

Ask most dealers and they will say that a magician spends the most on magic their first two years. Then after that they don't spend that much. I was in my Dads magic shop for many lectures and had the room filled with magicians and they did not buy one thing from the magic shop - only stuff from the lecture.

Our shop was open for about 8 years and we never did mail order. In fact I was the one that started to do mail order after my Dad had a stroke. We would get people that would call the shop and ask questions. That is fine but if we had a customer in the shop that we were demonstrating magic to. That shop customer came first. Why? because at times when it was slow - they may have been the ONLY customer that day and we would serve them and let the phone ring!

In the shop was a table where magicians would sit and visit with my Dad and his friends. Most of the friends did not buy that much. In fact they used to go up to the hot dog place a few doors up the block and buy hot dogs and other food and then eat it in my Dads store.

One day my Dad was cleaning up after them after he closed and said, "You know I should be selling food instead of magic".
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 2, 2006 06:10PM)
The thing that is killing B&M magic shops is not the internet. It's not the magicians. It's the magic shops themselves.

I'll give Magic, Inc. six months. If they last past Christmas, it will be a miracle. They are the shop that I referred to in my posts. There is no reason -- NO reason -- that they can't even return a phone call. It wasn't the counter help that made Magic Inc. It was Jay.
Message: Posted by: Lester (May 2, 2006 07:49PM)
Hi Fellow Magi,
Before I commence any of my inconsequential banter, I have just read of the sad passing of Dr. Billy McCombe, I never met this great man but I certainly wish I had! "There hath passed away a glory from this earth."
I know full well that this is going to sound like the somewhat sad ramblings of a decrepit magician of 53 years of age, but what the hell here goes!
Being in London in the 60s, I well remember the joy arriving at Piccadilly Circus tube station and having a whole host of magic dealers to visit. Everyone of them made you welcome and gave a personal service second to none. In my case I certainly did not have a well stuffed wallet to spend, just my Christmas and Birthday money, which my family always knew would find its way to the dealers.
I felt like a millionaire with just £10.00 burning a hole in my pocket. Davenports, Harry Stanley's Unique Magic, The Magic Shop, Tottenham Court Road, Ken Brookes Magic Place and last but by no means least, my own personal favourite, Oscar Oswald's Magic Exchange. I fondly remember, when I was about 8 or 9, dragging my old Mum up a flight of stairs to enter this cave of delights. I bought a Wonder Box made of wood from Oscar, which I still have today! It has been repainted many times and is still going strong! We always left his little emporium with a large rolled up stack of magic magazines, which he gave away free of charge in order to, as he always put it, "have something to read on the train."
Not until I read, with great sadness, the original post in this thread, concerning the sad demise of the magic shop, did I realise the great debt of gratitude that I owed to dealers of the like of Oscar Oswald et al. There was nothing like the wonderful sense of expectation, the pounding of the heart when you knew that the "bricks and mortar" experience was only a short walk away!

O.K, let sanity prevail. I'll shut up now.

All good magical wishes to you all.

Lester
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 2, 2006 07:52PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-02 19:10, Bill Palmer wrote:
I'll give Magic, Inc. six months. If they last past Christmas, it will be a miracle. They are the shop that I referred to in my posts. There is no reason -- NO reason -- that they can't even return a phone call. It wasn't the counter help that made Magic Inc. It was Jay.
[/quote]
And FRAN!
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 2, 2006 09:18PM)
Yes, and FRAN!

But while Jay was still there, the shop had a chance.

Too bad.

I'm glad I got to visit it a couple of times before the end.
Message: Posted by: jwebyra (May 6, 2006 09:37AM)
I went to Fantasma Magic this week and it is a nice store. The collection of Houdini memorabilia is a must see. The staff talks to you.

Ron
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 6, 2006 09:52AM)
Don’t you think it’s hypocritical to go on about how fine bricks & mortar are in a virtual café?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 6, 2006 09:58AM)
? When I want a level of personal contact and discussion I go to where people are in person.

As to the level of service offered at an indifferent store that just sells stuff... well it's gotten down to "who cares" when magic went to mass marketing and mass sales.
Message: Posted by: Caedere (May 10, 2006 08:13AM)
I just wanted to add my two cents.

Personally, I love going online because you can get some excellent deals. I also happen to lack a car, so driving down to the local magic store isn't something I can do at a whim.

Having said that, I HAVE been to what I believe to be the only store in Albuquerque - the Magic Juggler shop. They're great people over there. :) Very friendly, willing to demo anything, and a nice selection. It's also a good place to hang out and just shoot the breeze.

However, I always make it a point to be [i]something[/i] when I visit. If I'm lounging around for an hour, chatting with people, the very least I can do is sink some money into the store and show my support.
Message: Posted by: Vater Araignee (May 10, 2006 09:02AM)
I went into a b/m to drool and wile I'm browsing I'm doing the one handed riffle shuffle ( I do it absentmindedly ) and I notice the gentleman behind the counter smiling at me.
I was kind of embarrassed and quickly explained that I wasn't trying to get attention or show off I do it because it helps the carpal tunnel in my wrist. He asked me how far I had progressed with single handed technique so I told him I do a control and was working on a false. Then he asked if he could show me something I handed my cards to him. He showed me a flourish and a catch that are so simple I never would have thought of them. Next time I go I will show him how I modified the catch and start purchasing everything on one handed techniques that he recommends.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 13, 2006 10:33PM)
Well, it seems that the situation with Magic, Inc. resolved itself, but not in the way I thought it would. I called them originally to purchase a set of the cups I had made by one of their suppliers, because I didn't have a spare set for workers.

I thought I had donated the last set to the Magic Circle Museum in Jay Marshall's name. Well I opened a box of old stock and there they were! The very last set. So now I have my spare set, and Magic Inc., can go fly a kite.
Message: Posted by: John Cass (May 13, 2006 10:37PM)
You mean you found a set of the Laurie Ireland Commemorative Copper Cups?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 13, 2006 11:38PM)
Yes. They were tucked away in a box of old stock. I was doing a late inventory.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (May 15, 2006 03:13AM)
Brick and mortar magic shops are endangered also by something even more insidious than the internet and poor managers of the "old line" shops - the franchise shops.

In my personal experience, these shops are doing more wholesale exposure and damage to magic and magic shops than anything else out there - personal opinion only, folks.

To wit: I witnessed a group of six teens at one of these shops buying a batch of magic not too long ago with the STATED purpose of learning the secrets to they could "shout out how they're doe to dis that dork magic guy at school next week at his show!"

The effects included Scotch & Soda, Invisible Deck, Copper/Silver/Brass an ITR, a stripper deck, D'Lites (set of 2) and a DeKraam (Leslie) deck! Oh yeah, and a Devano Rising Card Deck as well!

All of this while they were practically YELLING about how badly they were going to nail this "magic guy" at his show at school next week!

Only two good things came of that - he store made a profit (which the owners would consider good) and I discovered which tricks NOT to use at THAT school for my show there and which kids NOT to use for anything!

If this is an example of how the MDA enforces its rules, well, I'll take vanilla!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: jwebyra (May 29, 2006 03:09PM)
I saw in the June issue of M.U.M. that there is supposed to be another magic shop opening in New York City sometime in June.

Ron
Message: Posted by: jimtron (May 29, 2006 08:45PM)
Vater:

I don't want to dredge up the shipping cost argument, but I use padded envelopes on a regular basis and would love to hear where you can get them for 3 cents each. Would you mind sharing your source? I don't think I've seen padded envelopes for less than 10 times that amount.
Message: Posted by: Josh Chaikin (Jun 17, 2006 07:14PM)
Well, this thread has started to fall by the wayside and though I don't believe I have anything intelligent to add, I feel I should add my two cents to at least bump the thread back up.

I'm very fortunate in that I live in an area where there are a few magic shops nearby: Us Toy, Klamm's and Steven's Magic Emporium (which I have yet to make it to). I would agree that the comraderie and advice you receive at the B&M magic shops are more than worth the extra money you'd spend ordering something online.

When I was first getting into magic, I visted Klamm's shop. It's a modest shop that he runs in his basement, and a fairly small one at that. I went in there set on getting an invisible deck. I left with a set of sponge balls and Bill Tarr's "Now You See it, Now You Don't." Why? He showed me some simple vanishes and a quick sponge ball routine.

Shortly after that, I started going to the Us Toy Company (because it's a shorter drive). I recall years ago that the shop almost never had any dead time. There would be four or five magician's working behind the counter demoing products for people, suggesting items and being exceptionally helpful. Sadly Us Toy has declined in that regard. There are only about four or five employees there now, and about half aren't even magicians (though they are making the effort to learn).

I still like to support Us Toy when I can, because I would hate to see it disappear. When I do have to purchase something online though, I will either go to Denny & Lee or Hank Lee's.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 18, 2006 10:39AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 10:52, tommy wrote:
Don’t you think it’s hypocritical to go on about how fine bricks & mortar are in a virtual café?

[/quote]

No.

What would you do? Have all 25,000+ of us meet in a stadium somewhere, split off into little groups, and discuss magic? Be reasonable.

Do you live in a virtual house?

Do you breathe virtual air?

Regarding US Toy and Magic, it's a huge shop, but it's the educational material that supports it. However, you can find some gems in there from time to time.
Message: Posted by: Magicshore (Jun 24, 2006 11:55PM)
For those who know of Barry's Magic shop.....news is that he may have to give up his shop because they are making an access alley related to the metro. I was upset to hear this as I have frequented his shop for 27 years. I might add that Barry is one of the finest entertainers, shop owner, and salesman that you could meet. I hope he will be able to relocate and carry on. So many of us have grown within his shop and will always remember the wonderful times we have had there. I personally owe Barry more than I could ever compensate him for. He is a true legend in the field of magic. Actually...I will state that he is truly magical.

John
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 25, 2006 12:21PM)
I know it's a pain in the wazoo to move a shop. But people do it all the time, with relatively little loss of business.

Stevens moved a few years ago. Granted, it was only a few blocks down the same street, but they did it. Presto has moved at least three times since I first went into their shop. A good magic shop will draw its crowd along with it.

Barry should have very little trouble making things happen, especially if all his customers support him. He should be making a mailing list right now, so he can send out flyers when the move is done.
Message: Posted by: Bardin (Jul 9, 2006 02:03AM)
I have a great B&M shop in Grand Rapids Michigan. Hippity Hop Magic has a huge seletion of magic. Some times I'll get an effect home and practice it and feel somethings missing and come back and Jim Parkes (the owner) will spend time with me getting it right.

No pressure at his store. He does right by customers for sure.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Jul 10, 2006 02:00PM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-18 11:39, Bill Palmer wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 10:52, tommy wrote:
Don’t you think it’s hypocritical to go on about how fine bricks & mortar are in a virtual café?

[/quote]

No.

What would you do? Have all 25,000+ of us meet in a stadium somewhere, split off into little groups, and discuss magic? Be reasonable.

Do you live in a virtual house?

Do you breathe virtual air?

Regarding US Toy and Magic, it's a huge shop, but it's the educational material that supports it. However, you can find some gems in there from time to time.
[/quote]

Bill, I love when you go on a rant. I think you'd be an excellent stand- up comedian.

Chris
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 11, 2006 12:35AM)
I am.

Seriously, the main enemy of bricks and mortar magic shops is bricks and mortar magic shops.
Message: Posted by: calamari (Jul 11, 2006 09:39AM)
Do they all have to be brick and mortar? some could be wood and nails or ... or aluminum siding and glue? or just concrete and rebar? maybe even glass and linoleum...
sorry I just woke up in a goofy mood.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 11, 2006 02:16PM)
Actually, it's those aluminum siding and glue magic shops that have given the bricks and mortar ones a bad name.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (Jul 11, 2006 09:12PM)
Or the initials "BM" more aptly represent the actual condition of many magic shops today...
Message: Posted by: Jack (Jul 11, 2006 10:15PM)
The magic shop here in Fort Worth carries costumes and sound and lighting equipment for sale and rental. If it was just magic, I think it would have vanished by now.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 12, 2006 01:45AM)
You are right about that particular shop. Derek hasn't relied on magic as a major source of income for a very long time.
Message: Posted by: magicmind (Jul 12, 2006 02:37PM)
There is a local shop here....has current stuff at least once a month, not that it all sells, but I can usually go there and find items that are no longer avail (books/tricks)

The magic dept. in this store is there for one reason...the owner is a magician (working) he is very busy and sometimes the place is a wreck, but he will bend over backwards to assist you. He even does special orders.

There are not many like this anymore.
Message: Posted by: robert bianchi (Jul 12, 2006 09:40PM)
I am curious as to Magic Chris'original posts and his treatment of the sales people. When I was in school, I had a job as a short order cook. There were customers that were very rude, offensive, and believed that their needs were the only ones that mattered. You could spot them a mile away. Many workers would act in a manner to annoy those kinds of customers with the hope that they would never come back. Maybe, that was what Magic Chris was expierencing.

My magic store in my area was Mecca Magic (New Jersey). They closed a few years ago, and there are no other stores around any more. I loved going there to watch the more expierenced magicians gather and discuss varrious aspects of magic, and to watch the tricks being performed live. Once they knew that you were serious, they tended to move away from the sales mode, to the mode of teaching and showing you more serious effects that they knew that you would like. It was only through the interaction that they knew that you were serious, learned of your skill level, and gave you the respect to really be a help in your development.

I guess like anything else, they treated people differently, due to the fact that many who came to shop were not serious about learning, and so sales became the primary aspect of their realtionship. When you showed that you were serious and dedicated, they did not consider the extra time to be a waste, and were more than willing to pass off some sage advice.

Sometimes you get what you put into a thing. Maybe if Magic Chris did not act as he did and merely expressed his feelings, he would have been treated differently. Just a thought.

Bob
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 13, 2006 10:55PM)
I don't think I would have felt the same way about the greetings and conversation as MagicChris did. I would have preferred that to simply being ignored, for example. I've been in some realy good shops and some horrible ones.

Sometimes, great magic shops go down the tubes.

One of my former favorite ones was Zauberklingl in Vienna. I can't say that I got by there often, but I went there every time I was in Austria. The first two times I went by, there was still some of the "mystique" of the oldest continuously run magic shop in that part of the world. They had a special room upstairs for the pros and the serious magicians. I was allowed in because I had lectured for one of the clubs in Vienna. The last time I was there, which was a couple of years ago, this room was gone. All they had was the same junk you see in the magic kiosks in Vegas, plus a few more technical things. Bikes were €7.50 a pack.

They were pricing themselves out of business. Meanwhile, not far away by bus, was another shop -- Jimmy Bix Zaubershop -- this is a tiny shop, but it is chock full of neat magic supplies. The owner is a magician. He knows the business and he knows how to sell without being pushy.

If I'm in a foreign country and I don't know the latest releases in their language, but I'm good enough with the language that I can read it easily, I like to have the shopkeeper show me things that I might be interested in. I'm glad Jimmy did, in this case, otherwise, I would have never purchased a set of Willi Seidl cups for the museum. Willi's death is one of the reasons Zauberklingl is going down the tubes.

So, go figure. Some people like attention and are not put off by sales people. Others want to be left alone. Maybe it would be good to go into a shop and say, "Look, I'm a magician. I read all the magazines. I just want to look around and not be bothered. Don't try to sell me anything. I'll let you know if I'm curious about something."
Message: Posted by: Jerrine (Jul 13, 2006 11:41PM)
Letting any salesperson know where you stand right off the bat is the way to get the service you want and cut them some slack. I've always as a salesman greeted the customer, told them to look around and if they need any help I am there for them. That low key approach has resulted in roughly 1/3 better sales than the rest of the staff, no matter what the product. Management often gets upset that there is no hard sell, like that's the only way. There is a lot to be said for old fashioned nice. If you want to be lead, tell them. If not, tell them. You can't really blame a salesperson for trying to sell can you? If you let them know where you stand then you can blame them for not listening.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 14, 2006 02:16AM)
One of the first indoor malls in Houston was put up not far from where I live. When they opened, some of the merchants, especially the furniture store, figured that they needed their highest pressure salesmen there to turn as much product as possible. They had a lot of traffic, but very low sales.

It took a "genius" who asked some questions to figure it out.

People were not coming to the mall to buy. They came to socialize and to look. They might wander through the whole mall and buy one small item. Later on, when they needed furniture, they would come back to the furniture store.

So, they put no pressure salesmen in there and sold a much larger amount of furniture.

The same thing applies to magic shops. If they are in shopping centers, they will have a lot of lookie-loos. If they are standalone shops, the clientele will be more inclined to purchase on the first visit.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jul 14, 2006 04:56AM)
It all about PPPPPPPPP... If they get all them right Bricks & Mortar Magic Shops should not be an endangered species.

http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/theory/theory.php?tID=243
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 14, 2006 06:50AM)
[quote]
On 2006-07-14 00:41, Jerrine wrote:... There is a lot to be said for old fashioned nice. If you want to be lead, tell them. If not, tell them. You can't really blame a salesperson for trying to sell can you? If you let them know where you stand then you can blame them for not listening. [/quote]

If it gets all the way to such dialog and blame assignment, it's WAY too late to worry about making sales or profitability.

Start by establishing rapport. They must be there for something. Find out what they value and what needs they have. What needs will they discuss that you can meet?

More to the point, what needs do your products satisfy?
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jul 14, 2006 08:57AM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-18 11:39, Bill Palmer wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 10:52, tommy wrote:
Don’t you think it’s hypocritical to go on about how fine bricks & mortar are in a virtual café?

[/quote]

No.

What would you do? Have all 25,000+ of us meet in a stadium somewhere, split off into little groups, and discuss magic? Be reasonable.
[/quote]

No.

I would be reasonable and have all 25,000+ of us sitting in front of computers and meet in a virtual café and talk about how wonderful it is be out and about in the fresh air and going to bricks and mortar magic shops rather than buying on computer from virtual shops. I would reasonably think that would have no effect on the business at bricks and mortar magic shops. None the 25,000+ would dream of buying from the virtual shops while they are here would they? No of course they wouldn’t, I don’t know why virtual shops even bother advertising at such virtual Cafés. I mean no one who goes on about how fine bricks & mortar shops are would dream of buying from a virtual shop while here at a virtual Café would they?
I have to go now as I have arranged an AA meeting down the pub.
Message: Posted by: Jerrine (Jul 14, 2006 09:47AM)
[quote]
On 2006-07-14 07:50, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

If it gets all the way to such dialog and blame assignment, it's WAY too late to worry about making sales or profitability.

Start by establishing rapport. They must be there for something. Find out what they value and what needs they have. What needs will they discuss that you can meet?

More to the point, what needs do your products satisfy?
[/quote]


By greeting and assuring that your assistance is there if needed is establishing rapport, any blame comes when you as the salesman doesn't respect the customers wishes or viceversa. I've found that dialog very important. A salesperson that ignores direct and subtle ques that customer needs breathing room has problems with sales and profitability. Sales has a lot to do with reading people. That first exchange sets the tone and allows you to respond to the customers reaction to it. Such as deer in headlights look when they have no clue about what they are shopping for, or the ever popular head nod saying "I know what I want, I'll let you know if I need help locating it." Talk about value, needs, and product value, etc. will best come when the customer is ready. Great difference between selling men and women too. I would think regional differences as well. My sales experience has been mainly in the south. This concludes my portion of Sales Lessons for Dummies. Brick & Mortar shops rock on!
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 14, 2006 05:34PM)
[quote]
On 2006-07-14 09:57, tommy wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-06-18 11:39, Bill Palmer wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 10:52, tommy wrote:
Don’t you think it’s hypocritical to go on about how fine bricks & mortar are in a virtual café?

[/quote]


No.

What would you do? Have all 25,000+ of us meet in a stadium somewhere, split off into little groups, and discuss magic? Be reasonable.
[/quote]

No.

I would be reasonable and have all 25,000+ of us sitting in front of computers and meet in a virtual café and talk about how wonderful it is be out and about in the fresh air and going to bricks and mortar magic shops rather than buying on computer from virtual shops. I would reasonably think that would have no effect on the business at bricks and mortar magic shops. None the 25,000+ would dream of buying from the virtual shops while they are here would they? No of course they wouldn’t, I don’t know why virtual shops even bother advertising at such virtual Cafés. I mean no one who goes on about how fine bricks & mortar shops are would dream of buying from a virtual shop while here at a virtual Café would they?
I have to go now as I have arranged an AA meeting down the pub.
[/quote]

Take a pill.
Message: Posted by: gman (Jul 14, 2006 06:41PM)
Just to put my two coins worth in...I was at a shop that shall remain nameless they had claimed to be open at noon and it was well after that when I went there and they had the door locked and the salesmen nowhere to be found.

After knocking on the door for about 5 min. he decided to come open the door. The place was a mess cards all over a table when you walk in and on the counter tops. The guy asked if I was looking for something special when I said no he just went about playing with his cards.

There was a customer before me who had asked about a magic kit for a child and wanted to spend $25.00 . This guy showed him a christmas stocking that had about 4 or 5 tricks in it and said that it was $40.00 and that was the cheapest he had.

When I had asked him about what was the difference between the regular vanishing bandana and the one I was looking at (vanishing bandana plus+) he said he didn't know and that he thought it was the same (talk about not knowing your product).

There were two other shops closer but they don't carry much in the way of new items but at least they have people who are polite and knowledgable. I guess if magic shops would A)were knowledgable about the products and B) put some personality other than the I don't care attitude, and used a little business sense (i.e. kept a mailing list of the people who purchased and mailed to them or emailed to them about upcoming specials or new items) then I'm sure most would be profitable.

That's my experience so far.

George
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Jul 14, 2006 07:23PM)
I thought this would be an appropriate time to repeat Bill's words.

[quote]
On 2006-07-11 01:35, Bill Palmer wrote:
...the main enemy of bricks and mortar magic shops is bricks and mortar magic shops.
[/quote]

With just a few exceptions, it's their own attitude that has driven the customers away, not the internet.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jul 14, 2006 07:23PM)
So that’s how you create your illusions. No thank you.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 15, 2006 02:58AM)
I do a lot of "window shopping" on the net. I purchase what I can locally. If I can't find it locally, and the local shop can't get it -- which is the case with certain manufacturers -- I'll order it over the phone. Usually, I go to one of two shops that are either bricks and mortar shops or used to be bricks and mortar shops.

I seldom order over the net. There are too many disappointments.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jul 17, 2006 08:13AM)
I had a dream once that I'd like to open a B&M. Hearing about how Tannen's began discouraging magicians from "hanging around" and showing off to each other, I'd like to make a place like a den or study where you could come in and chat with each other and maybe buy a deck or a trick glass. And I'd give it a mascot for the advertising and catalog sorta like Vic Lawson's old monkey Pumpernickle!

Oh well, when I win the lottery!
Message: Posted by: CJRichard (Jul 17, 2006 11:29AM)
Mandrake01, Are there any magic shops in Providence? One would think with it being a state capital and all there'd be at least one. If not, maybe you should really consider it.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 17, 2006 01:18PM)
Quite often, the state capital is not as large a city as some of the others. For example, Sacramento is not as large as many other California towns. As far as I can determine, there is no magic shop in Sacramento.
Message: Posted by: calamari (Jul 17, 2006 02:01PM)
Used to be one in Sac,
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 17, 2006 03:39PM)
And...?
Message: Posted by: RichieB (Jul 17, 2006 05:36PM)
Magic4you2c is one for all you British out there. I has a very friendly atmosphere with staff that are both very friendly and very knowlegable also. Check out the website on http://www.magic4you2c.co.uk

They even order in props especially, if you want them and they don't have them.
BTW, love brick and mortar shops, they ROCK!!!
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 17, 2006 09:27PM)
Ever been to Davenport's or International Magic Studios?
Message: Posted by: CJRichard (Jul 18, 2006 07:37AM)
[quote]
On 2006-07-17 14:18, Bill Palmer wrote:
Quite often, the state capital is not as large a city as some of the others.
[/quote]

Right, but we're talking Rhode Island, here. I think there could be some cities larger than the entire state. . .
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jul 18, 2006 08:17AM)
No magic shops in Providence. No money in the bank to finance a magic shop. *cy* But thanks for your support.
Message: Posted by: calamari (Jul 18, 2006 10:07AM)
And...?
nothin I am not sure but I think it is still there, your point, Bill, is valid, not all state capitols are the largest city in that state and so does not mean it would be the best place to look for a magic store. Just saying I think your example was possibly wrong.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 18, 2006 02:48PM)
There's one about nine miles outside of Sacramento.

The fact about state capitals is that most of them are not the largest town in the state. Harrisburg PA, Albany NY, DesMoines IA, Austin TX, are all good examples of towns that are not the biggest town in the state, but are state capitals.

Austin is an odd town. It has a huge base of musicians, all of whom will work for food, lots of magicians, most of which work kid shows, and only one magic shop.
Message: Posted by: calamari (Jul 18, 2006 03:01PM)
The Bay Area at one time had 7 or 8 stores now its down to 4 and the one at pier 39 probably wont last long as others have tried and failed on the Warf and 39 before(it is just to expensive to survive)
the 3 left after that would be in San Francisco (Mis Directions) and Martinez (California Magic) and Cal Magic is focusing more on their Dinner Theater although the magic shop is still open. and the one in Santa Rosa that I have never been to.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jul 20, 2006 11:36PM)
[quote]
On 2006-07-18 11:07, calamari wrote:
And...?
nothin I am not sure but I think it is still there, your point, Bill, is valid, not all state capitols are the largest city in that state and so does not mean it would be the best place to look for a magic store. Just saying I think your example was possibly wrong.
[/quote]

I think Providence probably IS the largest city in Rhode Island. That doesn't mean they're going to have a magic shop! (We got special dispensation from the SAM <and> the IBM to combine the clubs into one (The Rhode Island Societies of Magic) because the headquarters of both clubs realized there wasn't enough membership to support both of the separately.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 21, 2006 12:00AM)
That was providential, indeed.
Message: Posted by: robert bianchi (Jul 21, 2006 02:05AM)
[quote]
Right, but we're talking Rhode Island, here. I think there could be some cities larger than the entire state. . .
[/quote]
Went to school in RI, and knew by your post (first without looking at where you were from) that the person who wrote it was from Mass. Not that that is bad, but when I was in college in RI, that was all I heard from people from Mass. Is this a standard State "sibling dispute and/or joke???

Also, don't forget that RI is the "biggest little State in the union." i.e., it is quality and not quantity. Or, does size matter???

Bob
Message: Posted by: jondark445 (Aug 30, 2006 10:18PM)
Hmmm...I'm jumping into the middle of this thread, but let me say this about NYC...

NYC has four shops (Tannen's, Fantasma, and two other places that carry magic as incidentals). I've only shopped at Tannen's and Fantasma. A few years ago I went to Tannen's and was offered up the classic Bait and Switch scam. I walked out. I went back recently because I'd heard the managment changed, but, lo and behold, the moron who tried to scam me was still behind the counter. I'll never go back.

Fantasma? It's slick. It's hip. But I went there recently, and, no offense to the two folks who were there, but one guy was doing shows at their stage for customers, and the other was chatting with a friend and couldn't be bothered helping customers. I went by several times and he just didn't want to be interrupted. After a 1/2 hour of this I left.

I ultimately placed order for what I needed online. I guess that's one reason I've turned to online. I HAVE gotten better customer service from the online sites than I have in a brick and mortar. Sad, but true.

I don't know if this is in line with the discussion, but I found a chance to vent...and I vented. Thank you. :)

I now return you to your regularly scheduled program...

--Jon
Message: Posted by: Chatterbox41 (Nov 30, 2006 09:12AM)
Actually have to agree with Jondark445... my experiences with the brick and mortar magic shops around here within the past several years leave a lot to be desired. The "demonstrators" don't really demonstrate anything, spend most of their time on the cell phones, talking to friends at the counter about what they're doing after work, etc. Used to go to the same shop 20 years ago and it was significantly different and better from a magic and business point of view.

Growing up in the brick and mortar shops was also different. The owners and demonstrators took young people under their wing and showed them how to perform, what to buy, what not to buy, kept us informed about new stuff, etc. Used to be much friendlier and informative it seems. I try and support my local shop when I can, but lately it has been drive an hour to be ignored by the sales people and walk out with nothing. Online has been a good experience and seems that delivery has improved as well from many online stores.

Still miss the comraderie(sp) of the old shops though.
Message: Posted by: Review King (Dec 30, 2006 03:40PM)
Williams Magic in Tucson Arizona is a WONDERFUL shop. It’s 2 hrs. away, however.

I couldn't help it, I went to the bad one again. It hasn't changed a bit. He's in the back, comes and asks me "what can we do for you today". I say I'm just browsing. He starts to show me a trick that a friend of his is marketing. I say "oh, that's just like Bill Abbott's Mind Control". He's annoyed now.

I swear, I laughed and asked him if he had Tabary's rope book ( see my first post at the start of this thread ). His eyes light up. Off the shelf it comes. I take out my cell phone and tell him hold on I have a call and walk out.

I know, childish. But..I just couldn't help it.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (Dec 30, 2006 08:55PM)
Ha Ha, very funny Chris.

I hate to complain but many negative experiences with the brick and Moratr's in my area as well.

I don't want to single them out though this is a public forum-

But- a few gripes-

One store near here advertises it's hours on the phone- but they are rarely open when they say they are-

Several times I have called only to get an answering machine-

They did not have the following items last time I called-

A svengalli deck in bicycle, the 61 cent trick, an expanded shell half-

Last time I visited this store the proprietor seemed miffed that I did a few card tricks for customers that required a regualar deck. "Here, try it with this one", he said, as he tossed an Arne Rising deck on the counter. I felt a bit unwelcome to say the least.

The other store wasn't bad and the proprietor was a prety nice guy but, for every item I asked for that he did not have, he felt he needed to counter with an offer for another item he did have in stock.

After asking what kind of Ring Flight's he had in stock (he had none) he offered up a wallet that doubled as a fire wallet/ "card to wallet" of some sort.

He also did not have a 61 cent trick or an expanded shell half of any kind.

He also kept saying that if he didn't have it he could order it for me. Well, - no ***t I can order it too- the whole point of going to a brick and mortar is that I can get it there on that day- really I was just looking for filler material for my gig's just in case I ran through most of my material or got bored of performing the same routines dozens of times throughout the evening.

Both stores were "out of stock" or missing the most basic items that every store should have at all times-

an array of silks in varrious colors and sizes, an expanded shell half, a sevengali in bicycle, a good version of ring flight (if one exists) professional grade linking rings and cups and balls- both stores had these items but they were awful- one set of rings (royal? 5 inch) looked like some kind of plumbing equipment, and the cups and chops were pitiful- junk-

Maybe they think magician's already have many of these standard items- but I sold a lot of my stuff when I stopped performing years ago. Standard itmes should ALWAYS be in stock- no excuses.

Some say the internet is responsible for the killing off of B and M's - maybe they're just killing themselves-
Message: Posted by: Review King (Dec 30, 2006 09:42PM)
Cinemagician there are still some great shops. Williams Magic in Tucson is awesome. Fully stocked, FRIENDLY owners that know their stuff. Joyous experience.

But the bad ones, have to go.

Chris
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (Dec 30, 2006 10:20PM)
Yes, it seems that I'll have to baord the train to Baltimore to check out Denny and Lee's in order to re-experience what it is like to spend some time in a real B&M. I have not been to Tannens in about 5 or six years. And even then it had gone down hill.

When I got the oppertunity to go there years ago (Tannen's)- it was a great shop and then sometimes I would even get over to Reuben's. I was pretty young but it was fun- some great memories.
Message: Posted by: Rick Fisher (Jan 2, 2007 02:14PM)
"It not about ego, its about the passion." Marshall Thornside couldn't have said it any better! We, FAB Magic, are in the process of opening our first branch magic shop in Indianapolis. Why? Because there is a real need for magic shops to continue. It IS about tradition....It is about magicians and magic....getting together on a Saturday afternoon and talking magic...the sales will come if marketed properly. No slick sales people just friendly and experienced magicians who work behind the counter because they love magic...like I do...it is the passion that will fuel and drive success. I watch magic shops disappear it seems almost weekly. We have to compete on the internet or we won't survive either. But we also manufacture and distribute magic world wide and keep intact the made in the USA values. I invite you to pay us a visit in Colon,Michigan sometime - while you are at it visit Abbott's too.....two magic shops in a town of 1200 - unheard of??? If it can work here it can work anywhere....nuff said....

Rick Fisher, president, FAB Magic
Message: Posted by: karbonkid (Jan 2, 2007 02:41PM)
Aren't there already shops like this in Indianapolis?
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jan 2, 2007 02:54PM)
Hey Rick
There may be lots of magic shops in Indianapolis, but I'm sure yours will be the best.
YOUR FRIEND
Al Angello
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 3, 2007 02:48AM)
I was in Providence, RI for NEMCA. There are a lot of really interesting things to see in Providence. We visited Brown University, which has a HUGE magic library. And we visited the RISD museum, which had some exceptional displays. We could have stayed there an extra week or so.

Although there is no magic shop in Providence, there are a couple of really good ones nearby. Ray Goulet's shop is about an hour from Providence. And Hank Lee's shop is fairly close as well.

Ray's shop is one of the nicest brick and mortar shops there is.
Message: Posted by: magicfest (May 15, 2007 09:41PM)
Chris,
I own a brick and mortar Magic Shop. Ive been performing for 27 years. I don't know you personally, but there are many times a magician comes in who seems to know everything and seems offended that a lowly clerk even speakes to him. You never know who the guy is behind that counter or what HE knows, or what he can share with you. Its about freindship and magicians helping magicians. I have never told my staff to sell regardless of a customers needs. Next time you visit a shop why not try and walk in to share and learn, and just hang out and soak up the great, unreplaceable magic shop atmosphere. Great shops will always be around.
Message: Posted by: Andy the cardician (May 17, 2007 07:40PM)
Can a great shop also make great money?
Message: Posted by: magicgettogether (Jun 8, 2007 05:19PM)
I remember going to my first magic shop in the seventies as a kid, it was called the Magic Emporium in Michigan, Then there was Roy Kissells Fox N Fun shop, used to love watching Roy especially when a kid came in. Romigs in Michigan was great for the eighties, unfortunately all these stores are closed and it happened long before the internet. More recently, Garden City Magic lost its owner Carlos and its future is uncertain as well.

The point I am trying to make is that the internet did not close any of these shops, it was just their time. But I remember every item I purchased from them, it was an experience. Ordering on the internet is necessary today in many circumstances but certainly not an experience. The internet is a tool, nothing more.

The brick and mortar shops will go on as they always have. They'll just have great websites as well.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 9, 2007 08:01PM)
I just got back from Europe, and I visited a couple of magic shops while I was there. One of them is Christian Jedinat's shop. He has basically changed over from a partially "brick and mortar" operation to a full internet shop. However, he also does have lectures, he has a magic school, and his new facility in Rösrath also hosts other kinds of seminars. So he has expanded into another type of field. He does not actually encourage drop-in shopping. But if someone he knows is in the vicinity, you can count on having a good time at his place.

Munich used to have two really good magic shops. One, Zauberzentrale München, is now located in Pullach, and is still very much in business. The other, Braunmüller's, is basically out of business. When Rudolf was alive, it was a going concern, but Helga really can't be troubled with it. I visited the shop a long time ago, and was not treated like a serious customer. She was really proud of Michael Jackson's signature in the guest book, though!

I also visited Zauberladen Zürich. This is an excellent shop. Hörbi Kull, the proprietor, could not have been nicer. He was glad to see me, and even opened up a bit early when he saw me arrive ahead of schedule. He will be in business a long time from now. I can tell these things!
Message: Posted by: Guardian452 (Jul 2, 2007 07:10PM)
I believe brick and mortar shops are important to the magic community.

you intake a whole new feeling when you enter a magic shop.

I still remember the first magic shop I ever walked into. It was an amazing feeling to actually be inside a REAL magic shop. They are starting to die out thanks to online shops. I'm not saying that they are to blame because I mean, Whats easier..... Clicking a few buttons and entering some numbers to buy a trick, or driving out to a place to buy a trick???


I try to support brick and mortar shops by seeing if they have the product I'm looking for, before I buy it online...sure it might be a little bit more expensive, but I'm willing to pay that price to support a magic shop that you can WALK INTO, BREATH the magic atmosphere and EXPERIENCE the feeling of being inside a shop
Message: Posted by: sal (Oct 17, 2007 05:54PM)
[quote]
On 2007-05-15 22:41, magicfest wrote:
Chris,
I own a brick and mortar Magic Shop. Ive been performing for 27 years. I don't know you personally, but there are many times a magician comes in who seems to know everything and seems offended that a lowly clerk even speakes to him. You never know who the guy is behind that counter or what HE knows, or what he can share with you. Its about freindship and magicians helping magicians. I have never told my staff to sell regardless of a customers needs. Next time you visit a shop why not try and walk in to share and learn, and just hang out and soak up the great, unreplaceable magic shop atmosphere. Great shops will always be around.
[/quote]
Looks like I got here a little late, But anyway, Would just like to add that I agree- Chris, If you are ever in orlando Performing, please feel free to stop by my Wife and I's Shop in Orlando Fl (Backstage Magic) Maybe you'll have a nice time and hope you don't feel the need to "Pull out your cell phone" (LOL)
Message: Posted by: scaevola (Oct 19, 2007 07:09PM)
I really miss Flosso's shop in new york.
Message: Posted by: magicsojourn (Jun 10, 2008 08:46PM)
After 5 years in Bristol, PA Magic Sojourn is considering closing its doors for good. Will give it a few more months.
Message: Posted by: Rocky (Jun 11, 2008 01:05AM)
One shop left in Portland Oregon...located in a mall...great selection of fake dog doo doo and inflatable sex dolls. The close up mat on the demo counter has got to be at least thirty years old,but who needs to see nickels to dimes when theres inflatable sex dolls to check out ( especially the ones made with "life-like" plastic).
Moving to the other side of the country,The Mingus Magic Shop in Reading PA. is a quaint shop where the people who work the counter are polite and fun to be around. They always have the customers best interests in mind and keep the shelves stocked with both current and traditional effects...may they continue to represent brick and mortar shops for many years to come!
Message: Posted by: clarissa35f (Jun 11, 2008 07:40AM)
I have Tannen's nearby. About being accosted when I walk in, I have never found that to be the case. I walk in, I give the sales people a smile and a nod, and they smile and nod back, and keep at what they were doing. If I am near books, or DVD's mostly they leave me alone.

By now they know what my interests are, so if something new comes in they will ask if I know about it, but only if I Look toward them with a questioning look in my face... I can swear those sales people are metalists.

I do agree that there is a Cluby hangout type of feel to the place sometimes. And the sales people welcome any oppurtunity to show off, which I have to giggle at, cause the manager will come in, give them a stern look, and backl to stocking shelves they go.

I do spend a LOT of money online because let's face it, there is value online, but only if you KNOW what it is you are gonna get. You get a good sale at an Online shop you might spend $140 and end up with over $200 worth of DVD's or books.

I still support Tannen's sentimental reasons, it was one of My first magic shop experiences, and the sales person led me right, he did not try to sell me something I did not need, he did not pester me with " Oh you know about this? that? that other thing??" Like a Used car salesman on Commission.

I do feel that the B & M stores need to embrace the internet. They cannot stand as a separate entity and hope that people will keep coming to them. They need to make a real case that they offer something Online shops do not, that is worth the travel time and the extra bucks.

I will say One thing about the Tannen's every time they make a recommendation I have never regretted taking it.

Chris BTW, My Hubby and I have a name for the type of store you went to...we call them " May I help you?" type stores. From the moment you walk in the door, and walk around they are at your elbow..."May I help you? may I help you? May I help you?" then they wonder why you walked out with a nasty expression...

Sometimes I want and accept help, sometimes I just want to be left alone to make my own purchasing decisions...when I need help, I know How to get it. And at least in Tannen's they basically leave me alone,... They have come to learn that I know what I want, and I know what is out there.
Message: Posted by: clarissa35f (Jun 11, 2008 08:06AM)
Just wanted to comment on something else about B & M shops

FanWun said [quote] Still, his most sound advice was this, "You don't need anything else." The kid told John what he had already. Then, John, or I, asked how much time he had on stage. John immediate said, "You really don't need anything else. You have enough already. It's only 15 minutes."[/quote]

And I can echo that. My experience has been that at least in a store where the staff care more about magic, than in clinching a sale, once they get to know you and your needs they will tell you.." You are fine with what you have, you don't need anymore."

In any other type of business if a salesperson talked a Customer OUT of a purchase , just because it was best for the customer, they would be looking for a Job elsewhere. It has been my experience that this is something in magic shops... the well run ones at least. They will try to sell you quality even if there are more expensive items of lesser quality. They will let you know when you are fine with what you have.

They realize that magicians are loyal. We start shopping somewhere we keep shopping there, even if it means we have to travel longer to get there.

I think this is worth supporting. But I also think they cannot ignore the Internet. Tannen's has a presence on the internet... I think that is a good step, but I think if they are to survive, they need to be more proactive. Not sure how... just thinking outloud I guess.
Message: Posted by: JohntheMagician (Jun 17, 2008 10:06AM)
Brick and Mortar Shops are a great resource and I’d hate to loose them, but I am sick of hearing B&M Stores complain about internet stores and such. Yes I understand that Online Stores have a lower overhead, but if most B&M stores would get off their backsides and actually get a nice Online E-store they would actually have 1-up on the online only shop, they be selling to 2 markets.

They are a few Magic Shops within an hour and a half of where I live and I visit every one of them. They each have their pros & cons. In the end Brick & Mortar Shops will have to evolve or the will become extinct. Its up to the owners to make it happen.
Message: Posted by: tommykay (Jun 17, 2008 12:00PM)
[quote]
On 2007-07-02 20:10, Guardian452 wrote:
I believe brick and mortar shops are important to the magic community.[/quote]

I feel exactly the same way. I buy stuff from the magic shop an hour from my home just because I want him to stay in business. If I keep buying everything online, he'll fold. Then there will be no place to *go* to see magic, get face-to-face advice, etc.

I've never run a magic shop, but I am an entrepreneur, and I disagree with a number of things I've read in this forum.

Your local magic shop is just an ordinary guy who sells stuff to pay the rent. He's not Wal-Mart. He will not have every single effect that YOU think is critical. I mean, some guy thinks the "Skywalker Levitation" is indispensable, and another guy thinks magic shops should carry juggling supplies. Heck, even Tannen's doesn't carry *everything*.

And let's talk practical business. Magic shops get a huge number of lookie-Lous who just finger the merchandise and don't buy. Don't expect him to leap up and start a one-man show for every single customer. Many of his customers are dopes looking for fart spray or fake poop. Then again, the rare actual magician that comes in tends to come off as some kind of magic expert, and that can't be any fun, either. (I've noticed that the number of *children* in magic shops is rapidly dwindling. I worry for the future of this hobby for this reason.) Trust me, he's not making money hand over fist, he's in it for the love of magic, so cut him some slack. Obviously there isn't a ton of money in it, or every city would have several competing shops.

Be glad he's there at all. I can never find a salesperson at Wal-Mart.

If you get a bad salesman, give the owner a call. He can't be in the store every minute. His cash flow is probably pretty thin, so trust me, he wants to know if his salesman is ignoring you.

Don't cut off your nose to spite your face. If your local magic shop closes, I guarantee the local magic club's membership will tumble. We need brick and mortar magic shops. Go in, introduce yourself in a friendly way, and buy something occasionally. If you keep buying everything online, the local guy won't be there at all.

Magic shops tend to be the center of their particular magic community. They are critical to keeping magic alive.
Message: Posted by: Payne (Jun 17, 2008 12:38PM)
[quote]
On 2008-06-17 11:06, JohntheMagician wrote:

. . . but if most B&M stores would get off their backsides and actually get a nice Online E-store they would actually have 1-up on the online only shop, they be selling to 2 markets.

[/quote]

But they will more than likely go the way of the used bookstore as they soon will doscover that the online shop is far more profitable than the B&M shop, especially if they close the expensive to maintain B&M location.
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Jun 17, 2008 01:51PM)
[quote]
On 2005-06-17 01:16, Tony Curtis wrote:
I would be interested to hear the views from readers on the future of brick and mortar magic shops. It would seem that the internet has taken is toll on them. This I would presume is because of the lower running costs over having a shop taking into account the rent, electricity, staff & stock inventory. There are now only two left in London Davenports & International Magic and that’s a major city of the world. So what does the future hold for a traditional magic shop? I wait for your replies.
[/quote]

Loved you in the Houdini movie.
Message: Posted by: magicsojourn (Jun 18, 2008 10:51AM)
Tommkay:

Thanks for your input about magic shops staying around. I do something for over the past 2 years at my shop called Friday Night Magic. On a good Friday I get in over 50 magicians any skill level & any age. It is a social network night in which magicians may perform if they are inclined to do so. As far as magicians supporting a shop I knew going into the business this would not be the case. I belong to the 3rd largest SAM assembly in the USA and about 5% have actually been in my shop.
My customer base has been 60% business professionals including doctors, lawyers, salespeople, business owners & other hobbyist. 30% children 8 - 18. 10% regulars who are starting to get paying gigs in magic.
Message: Posted by: bugjack (Jun 18, 2008 10:30PM)
The Friday Night Magic night is a fantastic idea. I wish more shops did that. I occasionally travel to Philly and will try to time my visit some time to stop by on the way down.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 19, 2008 06:58AM)
Things ain’t what they used to be....any time!
Message: Posted by: Angel Freire (Jun 24, 2008 09:38AM)
I've visited a few shops. I find that the smaller shops tend to be friendlier. My local shop, the salespeople know me ,they know my interest. When something comes in that they know I might be interested in they let me know .I've been to bigger shops where they just try to sell me anything. They keep pushing certain products and I leave without making a purchase.I do wish my local shop had a friday night magic night.That was mentioned on this thread it sounds like a good idea.
Message: Posted by: daver (Jul 6, 2008 09:22PM)
I recall going to Tannen's as a kid back in the mid '70s when Irv and Tony were behind the counter all the time. Perhaps I was too naive as a kid to see if they were focusing mostly on the sale (with the older guy - after all, I'm sure they knew my funds were limited), but they ALWAYS made time to talk with and show me and my friend things appropriate for our interests and skill level and teach us things and show us the books to buy to learn "xyz". And even with a crowded shop on a Sat afternoon, they always made time for us and made us feel welcome.

I fear that today's B&M, needing to focus even more intently on the sale, along with the cliquish attitude of the "regulars" in the shop, will turn off a lot of kids who want to get into the art, and they'll hightail it to the Internet store du-jour, not having anyone to show them the finer points, mentor them, and give them an appreciation of it all.

THAT is where I see the problem if we lose the B&M shops. And as I travel the country (and the world), I see fewer and fewer of them. A lot better place for kids to hang out after school or on weekends than on the street corners, IMHO. Sigh...
Message: Posted by: splice (Aug 19, 2008 08:12AM)
Not all B&M shops are equal. Back when Dennis the Magician was in Ottawa, I was over there whenever I could. I got some good advice and was steered towards Vernon's Book of Magic, which I still treasure. I got to see demos of a lot of their stock, it was certainly nice to see the employees in action. Local magicians would hang there and it wasn't rare to drop into an informal session. Unfortunately the shop closed many years ago.

Now the local magic shop I sometimes go to is much different. I don't recall seeing a demo of anything. The owner had no idea what Expert at the Card Table was. But they do have a lot of magic makers stuff, and they sell the "how to make flash paper" DVD...

I support it, but I wish Dennis the Magician was still in town.
Message: Posted by: magicsojourn (Aug 30, 2008 02:53AM)
Please vote for Magic Sojourn at: http://myfoxphilly.cityvoter.com/magic-sojourn-trick-shoppe/biz/87265. I had to close my shop due to lack of business, 8 shops had left my towns business district in the past 6 months. Right now I am trying to find a place to relocate and need to keep my name recognition out there. It would be beneficial to me to have my store voted #1 Gift Shop(Magic) in the Philadelphia area so when I relocate to my new location I could have this accolade hanging in my front window. You do not have to post a comment but please VOTE!!!! Thanks, John Bodner
Message: Posted by: magicsojourn (Aug 30, 2008 03:07AM)
Let me try that link again: http://myfoxphilly.cityvoter.com/magic-sojourn-trick-shoppe/biz/87265. You can also goto my website, http://www.magicsojourn.com, and click on the link for 2008 myfoxphilly HOT LIST. Thanks again, John Bodner.
Message: Posted by: Trekdad (Aug 30, 2008 06:30AM)
Voted for you John! (under 3easypieces). Unfortunately, since it's not in Philly, I could only vote once! lol

Hope you find a place soon. Historic Bristol Borough doesn't know what great possibilities it has as a destination; it's a shame more business couldn't be driven there.
Message: Posted by: Vick (Sep 12, 2008 12:06AM)
Skimmed through some of the pages in this thread and I say Please read through
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewforum.php?forum=230&225

With the proliferation of poor quality materials,
lack of guidance and quality teaching.
Brick & Mortar shops are needed more than ever!!!!


I can not express (my gratitude for) all that Denny http://www.dennymagic.com has done for myself and many, many more performers and magicians

I know of no better place to learn the craft, no one more dedicated to helping others learn the craft in the best possible way than Denny.

Sometimes you have to read the books, figure/work it out and not take the "easy" way of a DVD.
When learning linking rings from reading "Symphony of the Rings" there were moments I struggled. Once I did get it down, I truly understood the moves and "owned" them.

When asked to list my influences it's an honor and a privilege to list Denny Haney

Forget experiences you've had in the past, get yourself over to the Yellow Brick Road (the address of Denny's)

Don't expect tricks or "secrets".........
.......... but expect your eyes (more importantly your mind) to be opened
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Sep 26, 2018 10:26PM)
Not sure if this is the right place to post this, so if not, kindly send me a link to the correct section. I am interested to continue watching Penguin Live Lectures via digital download and have bought and watched and enjoyed and learned form many over the years, directly form Penguin Live. They now see to have raised the price of their Act Series of Penguin Live DVDs to $39,00US after it has aired. I found the very same digital download available for $399US non the site:
https://erdnasemagicstore.com I would like to know

1. is the quality of these digital downloads as good as the quality offered via Penguin Magic?

2. Is it legit for Erdnase Magic store to sell these same digital lectures for such a low price?

Is it illegal?

Or legal.

Any other comments are welcome.

Many thanks.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 27, 2018 02:44AM)
After browsing a bit through the selections in the video section I will give you my suspicions.

The videos often contain a line in the description that makes one wonder. "Gimmick not included". Seems as if something odd is going on. I'm not certain, and the legal ideas are well beyond my knowledge. But it seems suspicious to say the least.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Sep 27, 2018 06:50AM)
Thanks. i’ll stick with. Using through Penguin st their regular price and stop looking for a deal.

Best wishes.

Jonathan
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Sep 27, 2018 08:23AM)
Danny's suspicions are correct. At least some of them are not authorized products.
Message: Posted by: critter (Nov 27, 2018 09:56PM)
Market Magic is a pricey joint in some ways but is a Seattle institution. I'm willing to spend a few extra bucks to keep them thriving.
Dave's Killer Magic is very different and has a very community minded approach, bringing some of the best in the industry to Vancouver.
One is an aesthetic experience, one is an educational one.

And then there's Houdini's. They're fun. Their demos are pushy and the stuff they want to sell you is usually cheap plastic that only vaguely resembles any real world object I've ever seen. But the antique cases are neat.

I will always prefer being able to feel the weight of a book or prop before sinking my money into it. I've gotten too much fake junk online to put much hope in it.

Long live the magic store.
Message: Posted by: critter (Nov 27, 2018 10:04PM)
Https://youtu.be/M920v5tesQc
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Dec 21, 2018 08:42AM)
In many ways the magic shop was a labor of love. I can remember Russ Delmar and magic Circle on 8th ave in Manhattan, cared more about helping magicians, than making money. Tannen's which was a couple of blocks over was more about the latest - greatest but was a hangout for magicians and if you had "paid your dues" could be given some great advice from them. Micky Hades in Seattle was also a favorite jaunt of mine. For me, those were the golden years of the magic shops, before there was an internet and China ripping off everything. Progress isn't so progressive all the time.
Message: Posted by: imgic (Dec 29, 2018 01:23AM)
For a few years I was doing business consulting and traveling throughout the US. I tried to get to any Magic shop in the area. Almost all have some additional revenue streams: most are costumes, followed by party rooms. One aspect that surprised me with a lot of shops I visited was the poor customer service. Several had people behind counter that had no idea about the items they were selling. I don’t expect them to be able to demo every item, or even know all details, but when they have to pick up the package and read verbatim on something like d’lites, it doesn’t help. Also, I’ve been to a few shops where there were knowledgeable folks, but they had an air of superiority. I’m a hobbyist, but fairly knowledge about magic. Talking with one shop owner, he asked if I knew a certain performer, which I hadn’t (turns out he was fairly famous in the region). After I said I didn’t know him, the owner told me that I must not know sh!t then...my jaw dropped, and I left.

I grew up with a local magic shop and have fond memories of hanging out there, spending way to much money, and talking and learning about magic. Of the shops I visit today, very few are like that...
Message: Posted by: todsky (Dec 30, 2018 05:50PM)
Call me crazy, but I recently opened a magic shop in Montreal. The fact is, I love being surrounded by magic and talking magic with all kinds of magical people. It’s a labour of love for the most part, but at least I’m not losing money. My ‘regular’ income is from performing magic shows.

Todd
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Dec 30, 2018 06:10PM)
[quote]On Dec 30, 2018, todsky wrote:
Call me crazy,
Todd [/quote]

Your crazy ;) No jk. If your desire is to bring more people into magic, your heart is in the right place and while you won't get rich, I wish your much success.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Dec 30, 2018 06:16PM)
[quote]On Dec 30, 2018, todsky wrote:
Call me crazy, but I recently opened a magic shop in Montreal. The fact is, I love being surrounded by magic and talking magic with all kinds of magical people. It’s a labour of love for the most part, but at least I’m not losing money. My ‘regular’ income is from performing magic shows.

Todd [/quote]


You ARE “crazy”... but in a good way! ;)

Todd provides superb customer service! ...and he “knows his stuff!!” 👏🏻✨
Message: Posted by: todsky (Dec 30, 2018 07:06PM)
[quote]On Dec 30, 2018, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
[quote]On Dec 30, 2018, todsky wrote:
Call me crazy,
Todd [/quote]

Your crazy ;) No jk. If your desire is to bring more people into magic, your heart is in the right place and while you won't get rich, I wish your much success. [/quote]

Thank you. It’s kind of ironic: when I tell people at the venues where I perform that I’m creating more competition for myself by running a magic shop (and giving magic lessons and workshops), they sometimes tell me ‘Oh! You’re making more competition for yourself!” I show a mock look of horror on my face, but I am, of course, happy to pass on the magical torch.
Message: Posted by: todsky (Dec 30, 2018 07:18PM)
[quote]On Dec 30, 2018, jlevey wrote:
[quote]On Dec 30, 2018, todsky wrote:
Call me crazy, but I recently opened a magic shop in Montreal. The fact is, I love being surrounded by magic and talking magic with all kinds of magical people. It’s a labour of love for the most part, but at least I’m not losing money. My ‘regular’ income is from performing magic shows.

Todd [/quote]


You ARE “crazy”... but in a good way! ;)

Todd provides superb customer service! ...and he “knows his stuff!!” 👏🏻✨ [/quote]

Thank you Jonathan. Although it’s hard to compete with some of the online magic shops (like Penguin, for example), I do have some loyal local customers. 😙
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Dec 30, 2018 09:18PM)
May 2019 be a healthy, happy and prosperous year for you, Todd! 🌈✨
Message: Posted by: critter (Dec 31, 2018 12:39AM)
After spending quite a bit of time speaking with the owner of All American Magic in Portland it was definitely worth being in physical shop for that conversation. Really cool guy who really knows his stuff.
Message: Posted by: kcbeave (Jun 17, 2019 01:50PM)
A major problem for B&M stores since the online internet and China Ebay stores started is many (not all of course) people read online about all these amazing magic tricks and then go to the local magic shop and pretend they are interested in magic getting the guy behind the counter to demonstrate several tricks they are interested in. After the clerk has spent anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more the guy will say he has to think about it and then goes home and orders it online so he can save a few bucks. I have heard this from almost every B&M I have visited. They can't be 100% percent sure they bought it online but they say the people that do this sometimes will come back a few weeks later wanting to see some more magic and most leave without buying anything or some little trinket that does not cost much. one store owner told me after all the demonstrations. That is the major cause of the demise of B&M magic shops, people using B&M stores as a showroom. Once all these stores are gone, it will be a sad day indeed.