It's been quite a while since I have posted but this subject is a little close to my heart. I was once employed by Mott's, and not that long ago. I started working there part time and stayed for a year and a half. I had just gotten into the mini hobby and was enthralled with every aspect of it, and wanted to learn more. This opportunity was a dream come true. And I loved working there......for the most part.
I hesitate about sharing some of this (some misguided loyalty to my former employer) but the rude customer service is only the guy that owns the store. He directs the sales staff to handle customers in a certain way, and when he is in the store, employees follow his instructions. When he is not in the store, that is a different story. Most of the sales staff really want to provide excellent customer service. They are dealing with some inexperienced help now. But here again, they did not hire people IN THE HOBBY to run the store.
I agree that in the right location, with store front exposure, walk in traffic alone would be increased ten fold. I have other suggestions that might work, such as in store mini meetings, classes, sales events, advertising in local papers and conventions (or the Bishop show when they are in Anaheim) sharing space with a railroad shop, etc... you know, normal stuff.
To be fair, the other side is that rent is outrageous in Southern California. The hobby is seeing a slow down (young kids and their electronic toys), economy is bad (less discretionary income) and the owner, after being in the business ALL his life, has heard every possible customer compliant you can imagine twenty times already. (You would be surprised at the kind of things customers complain about) Yes, he is surly and rude. I am not making excuses for him. I guess what I am saying is there are two sides to every story. It could be a wonderful business, and if I were even 10 years younger and not retired, I would seriously look into buying the business.
Keeping the name might be advantageous, even saying formerly known as Mott's could work too. This business needs to be bought by someone who loves the hobby. Just my opinion.