My story starts way back in 1989 when I bought my first competitive R/C Car. It was a Team Losi JRX-PRO 2WD Buggy. I caught the racing bug and club raced as much as I possibly could! I started out with 2WD Buggy and eventually got into the to 4WD Buggy class, then Gas Truck and eventually 1/8 Nitro Buggy.
In the 2000s my racing program got more serious; we had an active local scene and by 2003 we had a permanent outdoor facility.
This is when I started to take my racing program much more seriously. I ran as many classes as I could; but "Gas Truck" was my favourite class. I ran a bit of 1/8 Nitro Buggy; but not as much because it was quite an expensive class.
I was actually pretty good at all the 2WD classes; I travelled around Western Canada attending as many of the Western-Canadian Off-Road Series (WCORCS) races as I could. In 2005 I would be the runner-up in the 2WD Mod Buggy Class and I would win the 2WD “Gas Truck” Class. Sadly, "Gas Truck" would die off; I would then transition over to the big-boy class of 1/8 Nitro Buggy!
The RC Depot was born!
The rules were changing around this time, so I couldn't get any real suppliers as I didn't have a "Brick & Mortar" store; but I did join an R/C Co-Op with this shop in the Southern US called "B-Main Hobbies". Yes, that's right...B-Main...not A-Main. I am sure that Kendall Bennett of A-Main had more than a few conversations with Homer Alman. Regardless, B-Main's "RC Buyers Club" as they called it, allowed me to purchase products for cheap and retail it on my website! This worked well but like any "Grey Market" venture, it was a ticking bomb!
By 2008 the industry had caught up to Homer and shut-down the RC Buyers Club. I partnered with some local racers and we ran a shop for 2 years; but the partnership was just too big and work schedules resulted in me running the store pretty much alone with just one other partner. This didn't work with my schedule so I went back to running the RC Depot. By now, some of the suppliers allowed for On-Line Only Shops to exist so I could really grow the Depot the way I wanted!
I started out small and slowly grew my products as well as my brand. Right from the start I knew I wanted to be different; I saw the CRAP that all the other local shops were selling and it was actually hurting the sport. A brand-new racer would show up all proud of his POS RTR that he just bought thinking it was good and that he could compete on the track with his T-Maxx or REVO. I decided right then and there...
WE DON'T SELL CRAP!
At first I just started with promotional videos showcasing my brands; mainy Kyosho, Pro-Line & Novarossi.
I soon switched up my video marketing scheme to event videos; essentially, each race I attended I would shoot a video highlighting my brands, my team drivers and my prominent customers. Before long I was having more fun making the videos than racing.
These videos soon became very popular; the participants always looked forward to the new "RC Depot Video". Unfortunately, I lost most of these older videos; which is a shame because the event video that I shot for the 2013 Nitro Stampede race in Calgary drew some attention. Ty Tessmann was in attendance and I used it as an opportunity to get some out-of-market hits on my video of the race.
Almost immediately following the release of this video, Gord Tessmann said that Pro-Line was interested in sponsoring a video production of the Medicine Hat Shootout race which was happening in August. I used this as a huge opportunity to get a ton more attention for my store! The video was a HUGE success; Pro-Line Loved it. Tim Clark said "Give that guy a drone and he's right up there with Derek from A-Main".
My next move would make R/C History!
Come Drive With Us
Immediately following the successfull production for the Tessmann's race, I pitched a behind the scenes documentary to Gord; Similar to HBO's 24/7 or the Aquilla Productions "Oil Change" documentary about the Edmonton Oiler's failed rebuild around Taylor Hall. Gord thought it was a great idea and passed it along to Todd Mattson, who at the time, was the owner of Pro-Line Racing.
Just a couple days later Todd actually called me; I pitched my idea; what it would cost and much to my surprise he agreed and was very exceited about the three episodes we were going to film. Not long after getting off the phone I had an odd realization:
Fortunately I had time; this was just the end of September; the first episode would be at the REEDY race held at the end of January. Between October and January, not only would I watch every documenatry I could, I also filmed a "Practice" episode of Come Drive With Us at an on-road race held here in Edmonton (WCICS). The episode is actually not too bad; and it helped me learn how to edit and shoot a documentary...which I had never done piror to this.
Tunrs out I wasn't half bad at creating documentaries and for the next 6 years I would cover some of the most iconic events in R/C Histroy! The REEDY Race, Multiple DNCs, the last outdoor Cactus Classic, The NEO Race, Silver State, The Southern Nationals, AXIALFEST, Surf City, PNB, Multiple ROAR Nats and ofcourse, 5 consecutive IFMAR World Championship events!
THE highlight for me, was the 2014 IFMAR Worlds. I have known the Tessmann's for so long; before the CDWU adventure started I liked to consider them freinds; so seeing Ty win his first IFMAR title was awesome for me to now only see, but to document for all time!
Even though the CDWU filming schedule keeps me quite busy, I always make time for the RC Depot! I continued to try to grow the store even with the shrinking numbers at club & trophy races.
With the shrinking local scene I shifted the Depot's focus to increasing our web-sales; servicing cusomers accross the country. To make the RC Depot better than ever, I have used my "RC Celebrity" status to secure brands that I didn't have access to in the past. The Depot now has access to XRAY, Mugen, Associated, Kyosho, TLR and so many more brands too numerous to mention. Check out our entire list of manufacturers here!
My wife, Andreea & I, are working really hard to make the RC Depot the best competition Hobby Shop in Canada; and we're not done yet! We will always offer the best prices; we will match anyone's price; and best of all, we won't sell you no CRAP! We only focus on the best brands and the best products!
I even manage to still win a few races here and there in my old age!
I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about our History and I look forward to seeing many of you at the races!
- Cory Drachenberg, Owner, The RC Depot.