I'm disappointed. I happened to see a Hobby Lobby while in KY over the weekend and dashed in (with 5 minutes to spare!) looking for boatloads of cheap JL slot cars. No such luck! Everything was nearly at suggested retail price, like $12 for R7 TJets and $14 for F&F XTs. The pile of cars looked like they'd been thoroughly picked through, with all the white thunders and XT Chargers long since gone. There were some chrome bats. Even the inventory of two (2!) newer Lifelikes were up there around $15, although the older purple Cartoonlike Superbirds (4!) were only $12, which is only $2 more than Lifelike was dumping them online several months ago. The bottom line is that the mere presense of a Hobby Lobby does not guarantee that you'll be able to pick up slot cars on the cheap. All in all, the HL I visited didn't impress me much as a hobby store. It was basically a Michaels or JoAnns craft store with a tiny section with plastic models, surprisingly little diecast, and a tiny handful of HO slot related stuff, mostly Lifelike. No RC, 1/32, trains, planes, rockets, etc. Given a choice between getting a HobbyTown USA and a Hobby Lobby in my town I'd pick the HobbyTown USA any day, but hey, I'm really not into dried flower arranging or sewing oven mitts. But if you can get JL slot cars for less than $5, grab whatever you can carry because that is a great price. It's about what a Pit Kit costs, and what's a better pit spare than an entire spare car?
What I find intrigueing is that HL can sell them for $3.66 I would figure they have to sell product at a proffit? Am I wrong?? So what do you think JL sells them to the Distribution center for? Are they just trying to unload extras?
Yes it's great that if you have a HL near you might be able to score cheap cars, but does it not scare you at the same time?
Thats just Hobby Lobby! Several times I have gone to the Train Section and found a sign "1/2 off this section". Its great I load up on landscaping stuff - you know stuff I think I MIGHT need in the future HaHaHa
The Rockford Hobby Lobby is exactly as AfxToo described the one in KY, including the prices. Fortunately, my wife has been collecting die cast cars longer than I have, and she's also interested in the other craft supplies, so she's my scout there.
The Rockford HobbyTown seems to stock the most cars and accessories. For some reason, they have a stack of ugly caramel-colored #84 pull-backs priced at $4.99. The price stickers look old on those so I guess I'm not the only one that doesn't like the looks of them. (By the way, the front axles and wheels from pull-backs improve the handling of JLXTs significantly. Too bad the wheels don't match the rears then...) All the magnet cars (LifeLike, SRT and G+) are $19.99 which seems pretty good but the Johnny Lightnings are all $14.99. They have good prices on AFX sets -- better than any on-line prices I've seen. The International was $129 and the 4-Way Split was $114 the last time I looked.
Those #84 snap-on pullbacks are excellent racing bodies for AFX, Super G+, and G3 chassis, but not at $5 each. I keep seeing the Tomy 4-Way Split at one of the HobbyTowns for $89. I bought a couple of them to help complete my track setup because they have lots of 12" curves and the four SG+ cars are those great looking GTP cars. The HobbyTowns must be independent franchises because the pricing varies quite a bit between them.
I've gotten my best deals on JL cars through folks on this board so I always look in the Swap & Sell section for good deals.
Pullbacks for 83 cents are quite a find. Our Rockford KB Toys never has any pullbacks anymore. A year ago I found a black Mustang and a red chrome Cuda there for $2.99 each but nothing since. I wonder if these will ever come back into production again.