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A Successful Hobby Shop

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

Clean.

Organized.

Well lit.

Bright.

Spacious.

Comfortable.

The list can continue on, and on – and it does – but what makes a shop useful is something most people – in my experience – don't stop to ask.

Usually, the shop is an afterthought of the car – an extension of their real interest, which is often the dream of a shiny, well oiled machine, represented in reality by a worn, tired ride.

The shop, however, shouldn't be an afterthought. It's usually one of the most integral parts of hobby success.

While there are romantic notions of old, Industrial Age brick factories and corner gas station garages, the fact of the matter is, in the world of manufacturing and high tech service, today, operations management has grown up to understand a few things about successful products – they require an environment to be built in that promotes quality and one of the most important places where that occurs is in the place where these products are made and serviced.

It's one of the places where Japanese and European manufacturers are pulling away from American manufacturers. Today, go into virtually any non-U.S. automobile factory and the first thing you will see is an awesome factory – even if they are turning out plebeian Passats and Golfs. American factories, however, are often still dark, dank, and poorly designed.

Do you know what is hard to do in a dark, dank, poorly designed atmosphere? See, touch, smell, hear. Be productive. Work. These are all paramount to the most critical part of product success: quality.

It's no different for your shop and hobby, either.

Don't get me wrong, I realize that in most cases, just finding a space of any kind for your hobby is a feat. Many people are happy, and feel lucky, if they have a driveway and a spot left for a bench in their over-stuffed garage – if they have a garage at all. However, it really isn't a recipe for success. It's a recipe to make you feel like you can accomplish something, when in reality all it is, is an inadequate tease that will lead you down a road of thinking and fantasizing about the success it won't ever allow you to find.

Ryan