Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Hobby-Town , Empty Shelves ??

17 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    June 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Hobby-Town , Empty Shelves ??
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Friday, October 4, 2019 7:35 AM

Hi Everyone;

      I thought I would mention this. I had to go to Hobby-Town the other day, yesterday in fact. Museum Business ( Train Repairs-Lionel). Well, let me tell you I was glaberfasted !!

    Yup, you read that right. I was so surprised it went beyond flabbergasted! A good 55% of their shelves were totally empty! They had, Count them I did - 17 Model Aircraft in all scales. 4 Ships - 1/700, 12 Armor kits -1/35 and 26 Car kits - 1/25. That was it !

    No R.C and almost no Evergreen or Plastruct! To say I was definitely stunned is putting it mildly. My gosh! My local Hobby -Lobby has more! Has anyone heard any rumors,  true or not about the possible demise of any Hobby-Town stores ?

   I will let you know if anything changes . Tanker - Builder

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • From: Land of Lakes
Posted by cbaltrin on Friday, October 4, 2019 8:14 AM

I didn't even know there were any hobby towns open anymore. but I am not surprised to hear about any local hobby shop going out of business. It is so difficult to compete with online retailers. I am fortunate and amazed to have three hobby shops within an hour's drive from where I live one only a few miles away and it is a very good shop but I don't know how they stay in business. it may be because they are a general toy store with a very good hobby section so they don't have to depend entirely on income from scale modeling customers.

On the Bench:

  • Italeri F-100D 1/72
  • Revel 1/72 HH-3 Jolly Green Giant
  • Monogram P-47D
  • Monogram F-14A
  • Monogram P-51D
  • Monogram 1/72 F-4J
  • Member since
    July 2018
  • From: The Deep Woods
Posted by Tickmagnet on Friday, October 4, 2019 8:57 AM

My closest Hobby Town is an hour and a half away but last time I was there it was better stocked than I have ever seen it. It's been a while though so that could have changed by now.



  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Friday, October 4, 2019 10:17 AM

Hobbytowns are franchaises and some do better than others. Best one I'd ever been to in Sacramento is gone. So is Kalamazoo, MI which I visited sometimes. I am pretty lucky to have a small Hobbytown a couple miles away which is doing fine.

I hope yours ends up ok, TB.


  • Member since
    May 2019
  • From: Texas-Along the Old Preston Trail
Posted by Code Talker on Friday, October 4, 2019 10:25 AM
There is one in Plano, Texas. I haven't visited that location in a while but perhaps I should this weekend.
  • Member since
    June 2017
  • From: Winter Park, FL
Posted by fotofrank on Friday, October 4, 2019 10:35 AM

Going to the HobbyTown in Sanford tomorrow morning for our monthly build-day. This is a new location for this store. More floor space and better highway frontage. Looking forward to seeing the new store. From the pictures on our FB page, the store is packed with great stuff. But yeah: Location, location, location. I hope the owner does well in the new store front.

OK. On the bench: Way too much to build in one lifetime...

  • Member since
    February 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Friday, October 4, 2019 11:15 AM

The Hobbytown in Tucson, AZ closed down earlier this year. At one time they had an alright stock of plastic models, nothing special but you could usually find something. They started to slowly phase out models last year and switched to R/C only which I guess didn’t help them any as they closed shortly after. 



I imagine it didn’t help matters as every time I visited the store the staff either ignored you or acted like it was a chore to ring you up. 

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Friday, October 4, 2019 1:16 PM

Code Talker
There is one in Plano, Texas. I haven't visited that location in a while but perhaps I should this weekend.

IIRC, the same guy owns the franchises for Plano, Lewisville, Hurst, NE Dallas, Rockwall, and the former Wild Bill's in Irving.   They have the typical gack which HobbyTown corporate says they must carry, but also carry extra stuff which suits the local clientele.  For example in the Mid-cities there is a fairly strong figure modeling community (military & fantasy).  The Hurst store carries a lot of Panzer Aces, Vallejo, Scale75, Reaper as well as some figure kits.  They have also just started carrying Mission Models paint.  Yes, MM is on the way out - and it shows, but they also carry Gunze and Tamiya.   Kit selction varies.  

The Arlington and Ft Worth stores were not part of this franchisee's holdings.   They have closed.   I had heard that the other big franchisee has bougt them out but no info on their re-opening.  

HobbyTown is alive and well in DFW.  The OP has done HobbyTown  a disservice with his broad condemnation.   He should have at least identified the location

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Boise ID area
Posted by modelcrazy on Friday, October 4, 2019 1:51 PM

The one in Boise is alive and well. It closed several years ago and reopend about 2 years later under new ownership and new/better location. The usual plastics shelves need some help but their Gundam stock is thriving

  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Close to Chicago
Posted by JohnnyK on Friday, October 4, 2019 3:08 PM

There is a Hobbytown close to my house. It is very hit or miss regarding product, especially paint. I went there once to buy some Bare Metal Foil. All they had was black???? i don't go there any more. There is a great privetly owned hobby shop in Itasca, IL. about 30 minutes from me, America's Best Train, Toy and Hobby Shop. This place is just overflowing with stuff. All kinds of trains (Lionel, American Flyer, HO), plastic models, paints, toys, puzzels, etc, etc, etc. The owner buys products fro hobby shops that are going out of business and estate sales. Sometimes it is difficult to walk around the aisles because of all of the stuff.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Friday, October 4, 2019 4:47 PM
Have a really great Hobbytown in Asheville,gotta go check to see how their stock is,I hope it's not a trend.

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Friday, October 4, 2019 4:52 PM

The HT by me is thriving. In fact, the last time I was there they had more models than I have ever seen them stock.  Sounds like your HT may be in trouble.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, October 6, 2019 12:08 PM
I forgot to say the store was in San Antonio
  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, October 7, 2019 8:38 AM

Hi EdGrune;

 I should've clarified that. Sorry. It is the only one I know of in San Antonio

  • Member since
    May 2019
  • From: Texas-Along the Old Preston Trail
Posted by Code Talker on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 3:31 PM

Thank you very much for this information, Ed. 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 7:51 PM

I have known of two locations over the years in Houston. First one was in the 1960/Willowbrook area back in the 90s, closed down around the turn of the century. Another location opened along Highway 6 in West Houston about 8 years ago, and was quite close to my house in Katy. They were a great place for about 7 of those years. Large inventory of kits, paints, tools, etc. Then I noticed that they had started contracting the shelf space for tools, and then entire racks of paint disappeared. Then the kits became noticeably fewer. A few months passed, I found myself needing a few bottles of paint, so I headed over there, and for some reason I developed a pit in my stomach even as I saw their sign on the street-side marquee. Sure enough, only the sign remained.

So now in Houston, fourth largest city in the State's, I am left with one "local" choice outside of Hobby Lobby, 30 miles away near Minute Maid Park. Unless I am going to an Astros game, I am very unlikely to make that drive for a bottle or two of paint.

  • Member since
    February 2019
Posted by JonRM on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 7:35 AM

The local HT store here has the same problem, but not for the same custome service reasons.

I mentioned it to the one older gentelman who works there and he said they are having trouble getting orders in and filled from anyone. They put the order in with their vendor and they either dont have the stock or are so backorderd its not funny. They did get a decent amount in a while ago, but its still the same problem, orders in and nothing to fill them.

May be the same for them as well since its a franchise. They have to order from the same distributors, suppliers.



  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by RSchnell on Thursday, October 31, 2019 3:59 AM

Late to the party on this, but wanted to add what I see around me locally.

There was a Hobbytown in my hometown that went out of business over a year ago. They catered heavily to the R/C crowd. I bought quite a bit of stuff(kits & paint mainly) when it hit 70% off and even then a lot of merchandise was still there on his last day. Ironically, the same spot this HT was in had another hobby shop there back in the late 80s.

Another Hobbytown a few cities over doesn't have much. A handful of kits and just not much of a reason to go there aside from a decent Plastruct & Evergreen selection.

I really can't see any advantage to having a HT franchise, with the royalty to the home office, limited on where you can order your stock from. 

It's crazy to think my town of less than 80k people was able to support 4 hobby shops within 10 miles of each other 25 yrs ago. Now all we have is Hobby Lobby and more than 100k people!

If you do a Google search, it seems like HT's are closing up shop fairly often. Whether it's a higher rate than independent LHS, that I don't know. 





Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.


By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.