Hey Panzer948, Welcome back. Familiar story. Many of us came back after a long time away. I'm glad you are picking the hobby back up. You'll like all the new developments in the art. You're right about the state of the local scale model business. Most of the old hobby shops are gone. Many that survived morphed into rc stores to survive. However, every major city still seems to have at least one really good old style hobby shop left. Yours is just outside of Charlotte, in Rock Hill. Maybe there's another, but that's the only one I have found. It's off I77 to the southwest. I went there about a year ago. They had a long aisle of scale plastic models and a good selection of materials. I just visited their web site and it looks like they may be slipping into the rc category, too. But I think they are worth calling and asking if they know of any local scale modeling clubs. Here is their contact info.
939 S Anderson Rd, Rock Hill, SC 29730
You also have a pretty good Hobbytown out that way. I visited them as well. They are a franchise, and usually overpriced, but they do carry scale plastic model materials and some have knowledgeable people. I'd give them a call, too.
McMullen Creek Market
8332 Pineville-Matthews Rd #204
Charlotte, NC 28226
You can also call the International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS) folks and ask about their local chapter. I believe this might be a good contact, ◾Chapter Contact: Tony Leger phone: 919-789-8323. If not, just look them up on line.
Good luck and welcome back. Barrett