I've been going to my Friendly Local Gaming Store for 25 years now, and been increasingly disappointed over the last decade with their service and stock. I have two shops within 30 minutes of me, and another about an hour away. Time and again I've made the trek only to find they either didn't carry what I was looking for, or were out of stock. Some things I expect to be hard to find: historical miniatures can't really compete in popularity with Games Workshop and Yu-Gi-Oh. But c'mon. Paint? You've got a rack of GW paints and all that's left is two bottles of bright yellow and a bottle of orange? Combine that with the typical aloof game store staff that's more interested in hanging out than engaging with anyone on the other side of the corner, and each trip was invariably a disappointment.
Despite countless unproductive trips, I'd still try hit the store. I think a physical shop is important to the health of the games hobby as it provides not only merchandise but a place to play and exposure to the outside world of window shoppers. I also loved the idea of immediate gratification, of heading to the store, grabbing some paints and being home painting all within an afternoon. But after leaving these game and hobby shops dozens of times empty handed I finally gave up on them. I'd used Amazon for some game purchases because of their free shipping, but their stock is limited, and the free shipping option usually takes at least a week to arrive at my house.
I finally relented and placed an order with the War Store. I expected a hefty shipping fee, and was hoping to get delivery in one to two weeks, but was shocked to see a shipping fee half that of what I expected, with delivery two days after my order. On top of that, I contacted Neal at the War Store with a question and not only did he respond quickly, he followed up several times for additional clarification and to point out some products I had missed on his site. Amazing!
I'm kicking myself for not trying the War Store before now, but now I'm sold. Let the FLGS die. I'm happy to spend a few extra dollars on shipping for such exceptional service.