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St. Louis M o
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Profile of Hampelscircusmagic
Been in magic since about 1965 and it seems the magic shop is a thing of the past? What kind of magic shop would be the "shop of the future?"
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Rob Johnston
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Profile of Rob Johnston
I wouldn't want a magic shop of the future. I like the old ways. But, I guess it would be a neo-decor type. With plasma screens on the walls with magic going all the time on them.

The employees are all skilled magicians, and can demo almost anything.
Price matches.
A great selection.

People that know what they are talking about.
(they have that in some stores now).
Heck, lets throw in a few holograms.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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We have 2 in my area, but both cater more to the "mall" crowd or tourists.

I miss the old days where you almost had to know someone to find out where the shops were.

Funky old buildings from the 20's with tons of magic stuff AND magic experience.
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Rob Johnston
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Profile of Rob Johnston
I love the kind where you walk in and boxes and lecture notes are stacked as high as the eye can see. The smell is old and dusty, the guy behind the counter has spectacles on and wise eyes.

You feel inferior when you walk in and you just don't know what you want. Ahhhh...magic.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
David Eichler
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Grammar Host
Durham, ME
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There is one in my immediate area with some sales staff who can do a little magic. However, they are not very knowledgeable about the effects, books, videos, etc. that they stock. Ideally, people who work there would be very familiar with the wares they sell, and could demo quite a few of them. Also, a low turnover of staff would be nice. It would be nice to go into a shop (I have shopped here for well over a decade) and see the same staff from year to year.
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Profile of RenzIII
I started in magic in 1972 in New York City. All I can say is it was great in those days at most shops.
On any given day you could see some very heavy hitters. Copperfield actually
was doing his Dancing cane right in the middle of the shop, of course before he became a megastar. Slydini, Garcia, Lorayne, Henning you name it. I even met Muhammad Ali when he was shopping for tricks.

And they had everything you could want in those days. Plus the meetings after closing on Saturdays. Man that was a time, now I buy all my books and few items online.

Times change, oh well, at least I was there.
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North Las Vegas
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Profile of huggie50
Yes, I agree with Neale and Astinus, what happened to the old shops with the special back rooms and the jam session that went into the wee hours?
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Review King
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Eternal Order
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Well, I love shopping for magic over the Internet. When I first got into magic, I visited a local shop. I couldn't believe all the magic. And, they had all these videos teaching magic, many by this fellow called Michael Ammar. I never heard of him, but I paid $50 for an “Easy To Master” card video.

Well, I was floored by the magic. So I went back and bought more videos. Then I found the same videos on the Internet for $24.00.
I don't miss being oversold and cheated in a "real shop." The Internet is the future and it's a beautiful thing!

By the way, the shop that sold over priced videos closed last year. Yippee!!!
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
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Kirksville, Missouri
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Profile of tkuhns
Every time I enter a certain famous magic shop in Kansas City, I am made to feel small. The guys behind the counter either ignore me, brush me off, or are reluctant to show me anything besides a hot rod and the latest (or the oldest) packet tricks. This was several years ago, so I hope things have changed since then.

I'm 26 years old and have been doing paid performances since I was 10, but they don't know that. I always get the feeling that I am being negatively prejudged the minute I walk in the door. My father got similar treatment when shopping for me last Christmas.

Until I came to Japan, only twice in my life could I remember shopping at a magic shop to be a pleasant experience, even though I've had to buy a lot of stuff from them (this was before the internet). The guys in the shops in Osaka and Tokyo are a lot more fun, even in the face of a daunting language barrier.
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Profile of WoodRat
I understand what MagicChris is saying... being over charged for an item (50% in his example) does not feel good. But there are real benefits to having a local magic shop to visit.

I remember spending hours just talking with the owner and staff and customers that happened in, about favorite routines, sleights, the newest thing, or just sharing tricks and little performances with each other, chewing the fat about this and that.

These online forums are nice, but not quite the same. Like in so many other things, I decide where I'm going to spend my hard earned money... and that doesn't always mean the place with the lowest possible price. A good local shop is worth supporting.

And to tkuhns, there are arrogant people in every line of work... too bad the experience at your local shop was so bad but it sounds like you are in a better place now, I am lucky to have had a good experience at mine (until they closed down)
Learn something new everyday.
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Phila., Pa.
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Profile of theonejimmie
I spend a lot on my magic hobby and because of the lack of a quality shop in my area I had to haunt book stores and search the internet for my needs.

Last May a shop opened in the area. The effect on my magic has been tremendous!

The shops proprietor does an excellent job on researching effects he knows I would be interested in. Comparing notes with others as well as being exposed to new styles has allowed me to move in directions unthought-of before. I am price savvy and the few dollars (Never More that $5.) I pay at the shop is well worth the hands on attention delivered. I hope my support along with others will keep the shop going for a long time to come.

If anyone is the Philadelphia area you can PM me for the location
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Profile of Dawai
We have only one Magic Shop right now.Its been around for a long time. I guess you can say its a mom amd pop Magic Shop. Like you said its the things of the past.
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Great Bend, KS
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Profile of dandanmagicman
I owe my passion for magic to Joe Stevens. When I was 10, I was in his Wichita, KS Emporium watching Nick St. Ern perform the most amazing magic I had ever seen. Joe stopped by and invited me to the Wizards of Wichita meeting that night. I was treated to the greatest night of my young life. I have been hooked ever since. Steven's Magic has changed over the years, but I will always have a soft spot for Joe and his magic shop. Thanks Joe for the gift of magic.
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St. Louis, MO
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Profile of edfliss
There is a big difference between being charged a fair retail price for an item and being overcharged. One magic shop in the St. Louis suburbs charges what I consider to be overly high prices (higher than the retail prices that I have seen elsewhere). I travel on business about 3 times a year and always try to visit the local magic shop (if there is one) because my children perform magic and so tricks, books, and props are good business trip presents. I have a fair idea of what retail pricing is.

Sure, there are props that I can (and sometimes do) get on the internet. But when we travel as a family we also stop at magic shops and the lesson that comes with the prop is usually worth the extra cost (especially for my kids).

If the counter staff is inattentive, rude, or arrogant, take your business elsewhere.

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Myrtle Beach
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Profile of JoeJoe
I first read this post this morning when I woke up, then went to work at a little magic shop where I get paid an hourly fee to demo ... but I haven't been able to get this out of my mind all day.

I don't think some people realize the expense of running a "real" shop. There is monthly rent, which at a mall can run several thousand dollars. You also got to have insurance ... not to mention the cost of the tricks themselves. And don't forget us demonstrators - we need to eat too!

Nobody has ever opened a magic shop to get rich! If someone wanted to get rich, they would buy a franchise or put on a suit and tie and go to wall street! We do it because we love magic - period.

Chris, I'm sorry if you feel you were ripped off by that magic shop, I hope in light of the above expenses you will see why it costs more to buy something in a real magic shop than on the Internet. Nobody was trying to rip you off. In fact, you were satisfied with your purchase!

A lot of magicians think that just because something is cheap and easy to make it should be sold for next to nothing ... but if that is how it worked, TTs would be at the checkout counter of Walmart for 50 cents. You are not paying for the materials to make the product, you are paying for the secret ... and the price is often set to keep it a secret.

I personally think $50 is a very fair price for those videos, can you even imagine how long it would take you to find all those tricks in books and follow the printed instructions? $50 can be recouped with your first paying gig - even if it's only Johnny's birthday party. How would you feel if you showed up and realized that mommy bought Johnny that tape and the kids were all watching it while awaiting you?

So quit knocking the prices at magic shops ... when you buy at a shop, you get the advice and experience of a professional demonstrator who will make suggestions and recommendations for your skill level ... they will show you how to perform a trick you just bought, and can provide extremely valuable advice that you won't get from somebody that has setup shop in their bedroom on ebay with no rent or insurance or payroll to contend with!

As for the future of magic shops ... they will be just like the shops of yesterday. After you get ripped and burnt online, and the trick is broken and won't work ... you'll have to go to the shop and buy another one to get someone like me to show you how it works. We get paid to close sales, not give free magic lessons.

I'm sorry to hear that shop couldn't sell enough videos to pay the rent. When the day comes that you are ready to turn pro, you would have welcomed their advice. I still remember when Denny took be to the "back room" to show me some of the bigger tricks and illusion he stashes back there. It was a most memorable experience, and it was through his advice that I was able to begin earning a living with magic.

I thought about this after a kid paid $15 for TT kit. That's a huge markup yes, but when I invited him behind the counter and showed him how to do a change over and explained the angles to him ... he had a big 'ol grin on his face and was more than satisfied. I certainly didn't feel like I ripped him off, I actually felt good that I took the extra steps to not only sell him a magic trick, but to make sure he understood how it worked to ensure that he would have fun with it. That is something you will not find on ebay.
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Profile of polstein
I'm also lucky enough to have a store about 10 minutes from my house - but I have to tell you - I use it for impulse buys when I can't wait for an internet order to be mailed.

Nothing to do with $$ either, I'd gladly pay extra to have them show me the effect, go over it with me & help with any problems I may have.

Or to help point me in the direction of effects or books more to my style.

The local store, however, seems to want to unload whatever *they* are thinking of at the moment - regardless what I am looking for.

F'instance, I went in for an Aronson book (for Memorized deck work), and asked about any others they may have had with similar material - instead they were busy trying to show me 1/2 the packet tricks they had.

Saw as I was leaving a copy of Workers 5 (one I read about all the time that has great memorized deck material) - they never mentioned it.

Didn't buy it either.
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New Jersey
140 Posts

Profile of jwebyra
I agree with JoeJoe in terms of the costs of running a business. I work in a small comic shop here in New Jersey and see what it takes to run a small shop, plus I remember going to magic shop and hear how business was.

The only real way to make money is the internet. We in the process of having a site built for us here at the shop.

I do miss going to shop and looking at the goodies and talking magic but those days of gone. I also miss if you had a problem with something you could take it back and get a new one, no worries about sending it back, plus paying for shipping, time, etc. But those days are leaving us slowly but surely.
ed rhodes
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Rhode Island
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Profile of ed rhodes
On 2004-02-17 22:31, huggie50 wrote:
Yes, I agree with Neale and Astinus, what happened to the old shops with the special back rooms and the jam session that went into the wee hours?

they can't afford the rent anymore! Smile
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
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Profile of cosermann
Seems to me the pure magic shop of the old days (brick and mortar, all magic) will become a thing of the past due to modern economic realities (with the possibility of a few exceptions).

I don't think that means magic shops will necessarily vanish, however. Suppose one took an old-style magic store and added a few things to generate more cash flow such as, an Internet store-front, gags/novelties, cards, balloons, games and such. Now I know this offends certain sensibilities, but business is business and if the price of having a local shop I can go to to try on TT's for fit before I buy is first walking past the chattering teeth and fake dog doo, so be it. It's worth it to me.

I take my kids to one the local shop about an hour from my house when we have an opportunity. The physical experience gets them revved up about magic like no virtual web experience can. The local brick and mortar shop is crucial for inspiring new generations of magicians.

My 2 cents.

Clifford the Red
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LA, California
1934 Posts

Profile of Clifford the Red
The demise of Magic Shops is due to a combination of a failure on their part to adjust to the times, magic wholesalers who don't really wholesale, and we as magicians in partronizing them.

If magic shops were a well-run place, with a nice environment where you could get ANYTHING you wanted QUICKLY at a fair price and also hang out as a community, I think much more magicians would use the shops as a resource. But sadly, this is rarely the case.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
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