Sources Wanted Contest

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Cool Tools is offering a prize to the person who submits the best review of an Enthusiast Source. Let’s call it The Enthusiast Sources Contest.

Before the web, knowledgeable buyers shopped with mail order catalogs. You could sit at home and purchase all kinds of merchandise rarely seen in your neighborhood shops or mall stores. These specialty mail order stores usually catered to niche customers, offering cool things for every type of hobbyist and enthusiast. The major problem was finding these cool catalogs in the first place. Usually a friend of a friend had to introduce you to one.

Today, of course, websites have replaced mail order catalogs. But while search engines have made finding a prospective niche store a little easier, it still sometimes requires a recommendation of a friend to find an esoteric or reliable source.

I am looking for the best sources for enthusiasts. These online sources would be the best website that offers a deep selection in a very narrow field, with fair prices and service. Often (but not always) these specialty stores are also valuable sources for information, community, advice, and tips. There are many online forums where enthusiasts hash out preferences and brag about their gear. On the other hand some Enthusiast Sources are simply extremely knowledgeable vendors who cater to enthusiasts.

I am seeking reviews by folks who patronize an Enthusiast Source. For the next week I will offer a prize for the best recommendation submitted to Cool Tools. An ideal recommendation of an Enthusiast Web Source will tell us why this source is superior to anything else out there and why we should believe you. Really, why is this source any better than 3 or 4 others?

Winners can select a prize from our Prize Pool. Assuming this works out, I’ll run contests for other kinds of cool tools in future weeks. As usual all published reviews are edited and fact checked. If no submitted reviews are publishable, no prize will be awarded for that week.

A great Cool Tool review consists of the following five parts:
1) a succinct description of what the tool is,
2) how it changed your behavior,
3) why Cool Tools should run the item,
4) why it is superior to other things, and
5) why we should believe you.

Also the item needs to be easily available, with a link. Extra points awarded for little known sources.

Over the years Cool Tools has reviewed a number of Enthusiast Sources. Here are a few to give you an idea of what we aim looking for. (Don’t bother submitting these since we already know about them.)

Peaceful Valley — Serious small farm and large garden tools and supplies
Chinook Medical — Medical supplies for first aid and search and rescue
X-Treme Geek — Tools for techies
Eagle Optics — All scopes, and binoculars
Small Parts — Unusual materials in small quantities
Micro-Mark — Model-makers and miniatures
Plastruct – Materials for models
Elemental Scientific — Chemicals in small quantities
Ben Meadows — Heavy duty forestry supplies
Tire Rack — Automobile tires
Fire Mountain Gems — gems, beads and jewelry
Cabela’s — Outdoor recreational and outdoor living gear
Gempler’s — Outdoor work gear
Uline — Industrial, janitorial, and maintenance supplies
Harbor Freight — Cheap tools
Lehman’s — Old-fashion household appliances and tools
Gohn Bros. — Amish clothes and goods
Dick Blick — Art supplies
Japan Woodworker — Japanese woodworking tools

But what about the best Enthusiast Source for?:

Quilting
Salt water aquariums
Cooking gear
Bicycles
Kites
Natural dyes
Electronic parts
Puppet makers
Radio controlled airplanes
Horse riding
Beekeeping
Weaving stuff
International maps
Travel gear
Old house hardware
Pottery making
Health supplies
Car gear

Or your own favorite hobby or enthusiasm.

Tell us what you love. Prize for the best new review this next week.

– KK