We’re getting closer to Spring Time and I hope the weather knows that too. Our New Year’s resolutions are just vague memories now, Christmas debts are really pinching the budget, and you still haven’t figured out how to use all the features on your new electronic communication device. Yet your new locomotives are still being enjoyed and some day you’ll get those kits built and add some new scenery and buildings to your layout.

We are constantly facing cost increases in raw material, shipping, labor, insurance, local, state, and federal fees and taxes of all sorts. This is a “constant” never ending situation for all businesses. Now guess who those increases have to be passed onto, the consumer of course. It’s the vicious cycle of inflation usually caused by greed and government. For example, the vote desperate politicians pushing mandatory minimum wages without considering who has to pay for it. This simply adds to the ever increasing inflation. When a business has to raise their minimum wage they have to pass that cost onto the consumer, the consumer then demands higher wages to pay for the increase in goods and services all the while the politicians make themselves look good to the consumer thus getting a few more votes at the cost of everyone. I can see many businesses not hiring common entry level labor and only hiring skilled and experienced labor and perhaps even laying off their minimum wage labor because the wages they have to pay does not match the actual job being performed. Where will it all end?

We are constantly being asked about bulk packaging some of our not so popular couplers like our under set #147 couplers and our O scale couplers. One of the reasons we don’t bulk package these couplers is their actual sales demand, we simply do not sell enough of these couplers nor do we have enough demand to justify bulk packaging. There’s a lot more involved than most people realize. Bulk packaging O scale and even G scale couplers has a few more issues. The designs of our O scale couplers require the draft gear box to be included. Unlike HO couplers that usually fit into most molded on coupler pockets and do not always require separate boxes our O scale couplers need their particular box for the centering system to function properly. Because of this there would not be any savings per coupler in a bulk package as we do with the HO couplers where the bulk packages do not come with the boxes. Also, remember that each coupler costs the same to produce regardless if we make 100 or 100,000. Making couplers is a very labor intensive process.

We also receive requests for long shank #118 and #119 shelf couplers and, as I have responded, we need to have more requests and see a bigger market for these. Once we see the market we’ll do some research then we’ll put it on our project list and move it up the list according to the current priorities.

There are a number of requested products that are rather easy for the average modeler (if there is such) to scratch build themselves. This type of product simply can not be justified by the development and tooling costs, it just isn’t worth it. There’s certain products that would require very complicated tooling that the consumer’s retail cost would be completely unaffordable.

We do our best to keep costs down and offer the lowest prices possible for our products but it’s a constant battle with the things we have no control over.