Lamenting the loss of my local hobbyshop

ntbn1 Oct 25, 2017

  1. ntbn1

    ntbn1 TrainBoard Member

    October 28 will be the last day of operation for our local hobby shop, Hobbyland in Bloomington, IL. The store has been an institution in our community for 60 years going through 4 owners. There was one person interested in buying and continuing the business, but the Small Business Administration would not make a loan on this business. The current owner was ready to retire and with no new ownership options, he is liquidating the store.

    It was a full line hobby shop serving model railroaders, RC, plastic modelers and more. Internet competition and train show vendors were a challenge for this brick and mortar store as was our smaller community size of 130,000 people. I will miss the ability to easily pick up paint, scratch building supplies and ordering from someone that would take care of a problem first hand, if needed.

    I will miss having a good full service local shop.

    Dave G
    Cache Valley & Northern RR
    Chris Green likes this.
  2. zinker55

    zinker55 TrainBoard Member

    Hobbyland will be missed, too bad the community of modelers could not get behind him. Having gone through this myself, I can truly feel his pain...
  3. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

    It's sad. I remember when the local, full service shops closed around here about 15 years ago

    There are shops in both towns now but nothing like the old ones as far as trains.

    Hardcoaler likes this.
  4. EMD F7A

    EMD F7A TrainBoard Member

    I drive an hour and a half to go to my LHS with N scale, Roseville Hobbies. It's worth every meter and ounce of fuel. Sorry to hear about this, brother.
  5. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    I went through all this years ago when S&S Hobbies in Broken Arrow closed.

    You don't have to be local to understand. Lionel fans with gray in their hair from all over the country understand. New old stock parts in cubbyholes all over behind the counter and shelves stuffed with stacks of inventory ranging from new to dusty veterans that had been waiting years for a home. It was a lesson in the history of the hobby.

    On the one hand, the rise of the internet is like the return of that special kind of shop, the one with everything and then some. On the other hand, any brick-n-mortar is better than none at all.
  6. railnut49

    railnut49 TrainBoard Member

    We lost our local hobby shop a few years ago to, so I feel the same broken heart. Over 60 years old, father to son, who was wanting a change. Mesa, AZ, Roy's Train World. I cry every time I drive by the vacant building.
    DCESharkman and Hardcoaler like this.
  7. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

    At one time in the Pittsburgh, PA area, we had 25 hobby shops. Now I only know of four, one in Irwin, one in Millvale, one in Robinson and one in Cranberry.

    One of my favorites is Esters Hobby Shop in Millvale.

    If you are ever in the Pittsburgh, PA area, be sure to plan a stop at Esters.
    doskey56 and BurghThing like this.
  8. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

    Yeah, now THOSE are hobby shops. They remind me of the Hub Hobby Shops in the Twin Cities but that's 2 hours away from here. (sigh)

    A hobby shop was a bike ride away when I was a kid. I still remember riding my Schwinn Sting Ray to Nichol's Hobby Shop to buy my MRC 500N Golden Throttlepack in 1968. I was so excited, I hardly remember the ride home! I still have and use that pack.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
    BarstowRick, umtrr-author and Kez like this.
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    We had two. Now there is one which bought the remnant inventory of #2, which had bought the remains of #1. This new effort is making a good attempt at it, and I really hope they succeed.
  10. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

    Nice and clean, nothing like my local hobby shop that I think bought all the inventory of the other failed ones that used to be here. But you can find some gem's if you don't mind digging around!

    About 20 - 30 minutes from me, so not so close as to spend too much money, but I go by there about once every 3 months to so! When I am not taking a break from the hobby to recharge!
  11. jmp883

    jmp883 New Member

    My favorite hobby shop was Model Railway Post Office in northern NJ closed. As is obvious from the name it was model railroading only and it was a great shop. The owner knew all his regular customers by name and it was always a pleasure to shop there. Great selection and great prices. The owner was also an avid railfan with photos published in many books and magazines over the years. For me, MRPO was only 10 miles from my house but I do remember being in the store when there were customers from all over the NY-NJ-CT-PA area in the store. Sadly, MRPO closed down a few years ago.

    Fortunately I found another excellent hobby shop near me....this one is a full service shop but the railroad selection is very good. Hopefully Kenvil Hobbies will be around for awhile.
  12. Burlington Bob

    Burlington Bob TrainBoard Member

    Make the drive from Bloomington to McLean and stop by the McLean Depot Train Shop. Excellent service and very reasonable prices on custom work including DCC and sound installs. I highly recommend this shop.
  13. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    My LHS, after the owner passed away, is now a Vape Shop with whatever shelf stock is left over from the previous owner that hasn't been trashed.
  14. trainman-ho

    trainman-ho TrainBoard Member

    And you know the saying....One man's trash may be another man's treasure!!!

    I wonder how many treasures were trashed because of ....lets call it a "lack of knowledge", or time restraints....

    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  15. Metalman

    Metalman TrainBoard Supporter

    The only thing that Esters needs is a counter and coffee. You can spend all day just listening to the Owners stories. He is a true class act, That loves what he does. Shop even made it on the National convention tour this year. I am located in eastern Pa. but still get to Esters at least once a year.
    BurghThing likes this.
  16. LA Metro

    LA Metro TrainBoard Member

    Allied Model Trains in Culver City, California, one of L.A.'s largest and oldest hobby shops closed its doors in the summer of 2015. I just visited The Train Shack in Burbank for the first time in about 15 years (I re-entered the hobby just last year), and bought two foam rock formations there, knowing full-well that I could buy them a bit cheaper on the internet. Friendly staff, and woman-owned!
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  17. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    I feel your pain. I got my start there at Roys so many years ago! I was truly saddened to hear they closed down.....
    mtntrainman likes this.
  18. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Unfortunately, a trend that will continue. I've worked the both the distributor and manufacturer side of the hobby industry for 20 years now and the challenges a true brick and mortar hobby shop face are hardly worth keeping the doors open for a few loyal customers. Horrible margins for the dealer to make a profit, limited runs on products that should be staples, customers who never pick up pre-orders, overhead and for the on-line shops, beating the shipping rates. A small shop like the one I work at can't compete with the free shipping of Amazon and both distributors, Horizon and Great Planes (Hobbico / Tower Hobbies) have hurt the dealers more by selling direct, cheaper and usually with free shipping. be thankful however that we are still enjoying the hobby as RC, mainly heli and plane segments are dying.
  19. Ken Ford

    Ken Ford TrainBoard Member

    I put a large portion of the blame for the death of the LHS on the larger manufacturers - they inappropriately put all the risk on the retailers by requiring preorders and not stocking anything.
  20. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Wasn't there also a fire, affiliated with the demise of Allied?

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