Soul Train

March 2013

By Bob Procita
Compliance Officer

Lackawanna Diesel Model TrainIn 1958, at the age of four, my Grandfather gave me my first train set. It was an HO scale, with a silver Lackawanna diesel. I still have that engine today. For the next 12 years, on every birthday and Christmas, I received trains, buildings, accessories, people, cars, and some other really cool things. I would build whole cities with trains running around and through the city. Every Christmas, I would set up a layout with the Christmas tree in the middle, a family tradition that still continues (on a much smaller scale). While in business, I had some trains displayed in my office. Soon, people would bring me trains of all sizes as gifts; some were garage sale finds.

About 20 years ago, I moved my family to North Carolina and all my trains went into storage. Boxes upon boxes have been sealed for almost two decades. Last summer I was bored and wanted to relive my childhood. Not having the room, I decided on a small, 2'x3' N- scale layout in my den. I found a complete layout on Craigslist for $80: two sets of trains, track, transformers, buildings etc. After a couple of months, I found my fingers too big, my eyes not as sharp, and my patience thin. N-scale is very small scale, 1:160, HO is 1:87, and O scale (Lionel) is 1:48 of original size.

I decided to break down the set and sell it on EBay. I set up an account and sold most of the trains, buildings, etc. for over $300. I kept the track, two transformers and one set of trains for my own use. I found a whole new way to enjoy my lifelong hobby. Since last August, I have started selling my 50+ year old collection, as well as buying more and reselling on EBay. I am able to use my marketing skills from the car business to sell over $15,000 worth of trains over the last six months. In November I sold approximately 225 units for about $4,500 alone. The profits have ranged from 100-300% per item. Since then I have researched the nationwide market and discovered that model train sales is a $1 billion per year industry. Today, I still have most of my original Lionel trains, about $2,500 in inventory, cash in my train account, and have been able to make my car payment each month from the proceeds.

God blesses us in ways we never expect. He takes our experiences and skills and multiplies them when used with proper perspective. He often takes a little and turns it into much. Remember, I started my train business as a hobby with $80 and 55 years of collecting. God showed me something new and blessed my sales while maintaining a 100% customer satisfaction rating with over 500 customers. Trains are fun and now God has provided a new way for me to enjoy them. Thank you Lord for Your Hand and blessings upon my life.