I was dismayed to learn that The Astronomy Shoppe is closing its doors. This leaves Phoenix with only two low-volume telescope stores, a large camera shop, and countless irrelevant department stores which happen to sell telescopes. The Astronomy Shoppe was one of those stores like Wide World of Maps that I visited periodically with no particular item in mind to purchase. I spoke to a friend who worked there a couple years ago. He indicated that Dick Jacobsen is closing mostly just to retire from the business. He is looking forward to doing other things, and he still has a separate business to run. It's not just burnout that caused him to call it quits, though. Selling telescopes is a low-margin business, apparently lower than you could imagine. Dick had the place up for sale for quite a while. Interested parties would look at the books and say, "you've gotta be kidding!" I get the impression that anybody who sells telescopes for a living has to really love them. Everybody on this list knows that commercial telescopes aren't cheap. How many times have you been asked how much scope can be had for two hundred bucks? The majority of customers want the Mercedes of telescopes for this money, and they're stuck with purchasing marginal optics on a shaky mount. Now the retailer is stuck with supporting that product. Or worse yet, a potential customer uses a few hours of The Astronomy Shoppe's time only to purchase the same equipment for twenty bucks less from JC Penney. I wonder if Phoenix will see another large store that sells only astronomy equipment. Tom --- Tom Polakis Tempe, AZ Arizona Sky Pages http://www.psiaz.com/polakis/ --- This message is from the AZ-Observing mailing list. If you wish to be removed from this list, send E-mail to: AZ-Observing-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, with the subject: unsubscribe. This is a discussion list. Please send personal inquiries directly to the message author. In other words, do not use "reply" for personal messages. Thanks.