More About Us

This all started because John Beech (the founder) didn't have the money (on a middle school math teacher's salary) to buy some giant scale servos for a model he wanted to build. Worse (from Lynn's viewpoint), his job as a teacher wasn't keeping her in the style, to which she wanted to become accustomed! Unfortunately, a second job meant no hobby time and while part-time employment wasn't hard to find, McJob wages wouldn't cut it . . . so he decided to start his own business. This entrepreneurial goal (of augmenting his teacher's salary) led to Genesis Hobby, but we're getting ahead of ourselves because as John soon learned, the difference between wishing to start a business and actually starting one is a fair stretch – for pretty much the same reasons ascribed in Scottish Proverbs, "If wishes were horses beggars would ride."


Anyway, in trying to figure what he wanted to do, John soon hit on the idea of converting one of his many hobbies into a part time business. His thinking being it wouldn't actually be work. So he turned to the hobby he loved the most, remote control model airplanes. To this, he added something he had an interest in (but knew virtually nothing about), video production. Armed with an idea in hand, next he scraped together his life's savings. Basically, he sold everything, which wasn't nailed down, and maxed out his credit cards to buy a professional video camera, editing equipment, etc. He named his new venture Panache Productions and set about making model airplane videos. By the way, this engendered deck-to-deck tape editing complete with pre-roll, time code, and time base correctors, which predated digital computer editing. It also predated Twitter, and YouTube – yes, it was the dark ages! Anyway, thinking his entry into the world of professional video production meant riches would soon follow proved wrong and John soon realized not only was his teacher's salary 'still' not keeping him awash in neat toys, neither was Panache! You see, there's a world of difference between making videos for sale and actually selling commercially viable videos! Thus, John buckled down to learning the serious business of producing videos, which folks would actually pay good money for. Of course, this wouldn't be much of a story if business hadn't flourished so fast forward a few years and John suddenly realizes he has the money to buy the giant scale servos, which had started the ball rolling. Unfortunately, he still hadn't gotten around to buying them. Why not? It's because his part-time gig had become full-time and two full-time jobs meant no time to fly his models! Something had to give and hence, the low-pay (and rather thankless) job of teaching 8th grade math fell by the wayside and Panache became his full time occupation.


But change was afoot because one day the phone rings – "Beech, let us be your exclusive distributor and we'll make you a millionaire!", said the fellow on the other end of the line (or words to that effect).  Yup, Panache had come to the attention of Great Planes, the world's largest hobby product distributor. Since money, or the lack thereof had been the impetus for all this, and thinking how nice being a millionaire would be, John agreed. Thus, Panache joined a distinguished group of Great Planes exclusively distributed products like OS Max, Futaba, and Top Flite. The fly in the ointment was that successful companies are made up of smart people and being John's sole distributor (and privy to the numbers) soon led the talented folks at Great Planes to try their own hand at making videos (and videos aren't really that hard to make, witness YouTube). Following the launch of their self-made MonoKote video, it didn't take a genius to see the handwriting on the wall and John figured it was time to move on. Interestingly, while they had learned a little about the video business from John, he in turn had been busy learning a little bit about the hobby distribution business. Seeing the possibilities in eliminating the middleman and free to create a new product line, John hit on the idea of a video magazine composed of recurring segments. Thus, was born Modelsport (www.modelsport.com). By focusing on diverse products, combined with his teaching experience, John soon had another success on his hands and "Why take years to learn what the pros know?" became his trademark. Introduced at the 43rd Toledo R/C Expo in the spring of 1997, the first issue of Modelsport was such a hit that before noon Saturday, John had sold all he had! By year's end, Modelsport was available in 33 hobby shops, which grew to 95 the following year. Thusly, we were on our way as a self-distributed product line! Remarkably popular, the 2-hour long issues feature assorted "how-to" segments covering a diverse range of subjects including modeling techniques, R/C engines, radio programming, tips and tricks, flying and trade events, tools, construction, and new products.  Moreover, through serendipity, Modelsport viewers were often influential, e.g. the movers and shakers in their clubs so slowly but surely (principally through word of mouth) the dealer base continued to grow. Before long Modelsport grew to become the best selling line of videos in the entire of world with distribution in more than 400 hobby shops! Not too bad for a self-distributed one-trick-pony product line, eh? However, while flying to Las Vegas to film the TOC in late 2002, John had a health scare. 2003 and 2004 were recovery years and his restricted activities meant only a few issues were released. Aware the misfortune dealt his growing business could easily have meant its demise, John resolved to diversify beyond Modelsport. Looking back, including the 11 hour-long programs from the Panache lineup, John has been responsible for 27 more programs under the ægis of Modelsport, each a minimum of 2-hours in length – an astonishing output of 68-hours of commercially successful video production!


Then, in 2004, when an opportunity to partner with a Korean business on an R/C model helicopter presented itself – which John saw as squarely within his wheelhouse because helicopters had long been his special interest in the sport – he didn't hesitate. However, because of the overwhelming dominance of existing Chinese products, everyone told him he couldn't possibly succeed.  And by everyone, we mean friends, family, as well as his bean counter, lawyer, and most importantly, his banker! Utterly convinced – John spent a year raising capital. Once again this meant liquidating assets (e.g. selling anything not nailed down) but this time it also meant mortgaging their home, cashing out his 401(k), plus raiding his daughter's college savings account (all in preparation for a gutsy leap to a new business). Finally, with all the chips on the table, he took the plunge and released his first model, the Tiger 50. Moreover, thumbing his nose at prevailing opinion (the banker actually said, "While we admire your chutzpah we're going to pass on making this loan."), John (having looked up chutzpah and learned it meant audacity in Hebrew) christened his fledgeling new business Audacity Models (www.audacitymodels.com).


Unfortunately, going head-to-head against the giant Oriental manufacturers (with their seemingly never ending resources and money) takes more than pluck. It's also meant crossing swords with state-sponsored Communist enterprises featuring a work force earning little more than a $3 a day plus ready acccess to capital! Thus, more than a good product and daring, it's required superb customer service, plus a bit of luck. Fortunately, by God's grace, we released the Tiger 50 in spring 2005 to rave reviews – http://www.genesishobby.com/tiger-review.aspx – but most gratifying to John; an expanding base of satisfied customers. In the fullnes of time, our tiny American company – genuinely David vs. Goliath by any measure – has been making solid inroads. Spring 2008 saw the birth of the Pantera 50, a more capable model (and euthanasia for the Tiger 50 . . . though spare-parts support continues to this day). Moreover, in the spring of 2011 the story was futhered with the Pantera P6, a further refinement of the Tiger and Pantera models.


Meanwhile, despite starting with a single product line, John reasoned the now 600-strong dealer base meant we had de facto attained distributor status. Judging the time was right for an expanded business entity's focus, in 2004, we de jure re-christened ourselves Genesis Hobby because it represents a new way of doing business. At heart, we've remain true to our roots and thus, we're small enough to know you and big enough to serve you. We still only have one goal . . . to treat you like we would like to be treated, e.g. as if the shoe on the other foot! Anyway, while we began in our 400 square foot garage, for a whole we occupied 5000 square feet. We're now down to just our 3,000 square feet steel warehouse, which at about $0.85 per square foot is one of the cheapest rates in town. We like it here. We like it a lot – despite the hurricanes. Case in point, when Hurricane Charlie blew through in August 2004 and destroyed our 2000 square foot office and video production studio, we hurridly salvaged our computers, cameras, desks, lighting, and office equipment (literally during the eye of the storm by the headlights of our cars) and hastily moved everything back into the garage. When we learned our insurance didn't cover our 'outbuilding' we were devastated because it meant we had to eat the entire loss (and we didn't ask FEMA for a nickle). Thus, with no choice but to knuckle down, and redouble our efforts we once again set to work. In the meantime, we learned despite government propaganda to the contrary, banks still don't really like lending to micro-cap businesses like our so our success is based entirely on you liking what we have to offer and how we treat you. Anyway, Modelsport in hiatus at present but following what proved to be a disaster for Floridians everywhere (and our bretheren on the Gulf coast the next year with Katrina) we still have our health, and each other. That's what's really important.


Meanwhile, when new employees are interviewed, we explain our warehouse isn't air conditioned. This means it gets to 95°F nearly every day in the summers, occasionally over 100°F. In the winter it's rarely above 60°F. We mention this before bringing anyone new aboard because it's sweat and sweat alike, all for one and one for all, yada, yada. Moreover, John (not so jokingly) refers to himself as the general manager and janitor. Why? It's because, he says, "There are no small jobs, only small people." and thus, everyone is expected to lend a hand. The flip side of working hard is playing hard and thus, we close on weekends. Moreover, we like to get folks out of here by 5 PM because John figures an employee who has plans after work is more efficient than one who has no life. That, and since they want to get home to family and hobbies they work hard to get the work done on time so they won't have to stay late. John says, "You shouldn't expect the job to be someone's life – not if you want to keep them around for a long time." Anyway, while we had been profitable in 8 of the preceeding 15 years (leading up to the Great Recession, which began in 2007) we're presently just hanging on like everyone else. Fortunately, we promptly recognized the sitation and began cutting back on advertising and other expenses, as well personnel, and R&D because this wasn't our first recession. E.g. we knew what to do. Unfortunately, this has lasted far longer than any other recession (in our experience). Fortunately, we still cash flow positive but it's only because we quickly 'right sized' to weather the economic storm. That, plus there are no top-heavy salaries - none!


Meanwhile, our mission continues to make things that wouldn't be manufactured if we weren't here; for exmple by offering a durable alternative to the fragile 3D-centric model helicopters. We try to promote a different approach to the sport – one where fun and cameraderie come ahead of chintz and flash (or the stress of competiton). Meanwhile, business-types say our business should be more dynamic (this basically means they think we should be making lightweight carbon fiber models, or otherwise veering off our path of offering pratical, rugged, honest handling model helicopters). We, however, stay the course because it's who we are. If you're shrewd and have a practical bent, you'll understand . . . especially when we survey the butt-load of "me-too" carbon fiber models out of China because, quite frankly, the last thing we're ever going to do is copy what everybody else is doing. Like you, we're individualists and to paraphrase Robert Frost, when two roads diverge in the woods, we tend to take the path less traveled by. In short, the kind of customers attracted to our product aren't sheeple!


As for our competition, the last thing they'll do is introduce a new fiber-reinforced engineering-plastic side frame modellike out Pantear P6. Moreover, we know the carbon fiber helis are going to continue exist, . . . we just hope we can too. Frankly, passion, commitment, and belief aside we know plastic side frames will turn some people off (just as some folks don't like Glock handguns, which use the same polymer we use in Pantera's side frames). In fact, some good customers will outgrow us, but as long as enough folks like our practical approach, we'll continue to stay in this business. Anyway, if you'd like to know more, just ask . . . and if you're just curious to know more about John himself, click here.


Genesis Hobby exclusive brands include Audacity Models (www.audacitymodels.com), Modelsport (www.modelsport.com), and ProModeler (www.promodeler.com).