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HobbyTown USA, is there a store near you?

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  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
HobbyTown USA, is there a store near you?
Posted by Greg on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 8:48 AM

My introduction to HobbyTown USA was maybe 8 or so years back in Folsom (Sacramento), CA whilst visiting my sister. With the LHS on it's slow, downward slope with which we are all so unfortunately familiar, I was super-impressed. I remember they even had quite a few Eduard kits, which I'd never seen a a hobby shop before.

I had since found one and 1 1/2 hrs from me in Kalamazoo, MI and it has been my habit to drive up just to visit that store on occasion. I was talking with my sister the other day, I mentioned the Folsom store and she said it closed I looked up the Kalamazoo store, it has closed.

I was under the impression that these stores were doing ok, if not pretty well. I checked the location map on HTUSA website, it doesn't even work. I'm a little bummed out over this and am just wondering do you have a favorite HTUSA, is it still open, do you have an opinion or any input?

On almost a side note, the last time I visited the Kalamazoo store, somebody followed me around the store watching my every move. I don't take too kindly to that and vowed never to return. In hindsight, that might have been the owner and there may have been some serious problems going on.

 

-Greg

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: From the Mit, but live in Mason, O high ho
Posted by hogfanfs on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 9:04 AM

I have one here in Mason, Ohio, that I usually buy most of my paint and supplies as needed. I don't usually purchase model kits, and that's mainly due to my wife being with me, not allowing me too! LOL! They do have a very nice selection of kits, but, I think most of their sales are on the RC side.

They also have a very nice selection of scientific/educational kits. This is where my youngest daughter is drawn too. And they have a bunch of games available that you can't find at Target or Walmart. 

I'll also add, that I have never had anyone follow me around the store. I have had a few workers that will politely ask me If a need help. And one time I did, I forgot my reading glasses! lol! 

Greg, how close are you to Indy? I know it's about a hour and a half drive from my house to Indy. And i'm about 10 minutes from this Hobby Town.

 

 Bruce

 

 On the bench:  1/48 Eduard MiG-21MF

                        1/35 Takom Merkava Mk.I

 

  • Member since
    April, 2019
Posted by Fesan on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 9:06 AM

I have one a town over from me. It is not the best place sometimes. My hobbytown near me is mainly rc cars, planes, and boats. Does not have a huge selection of paints (which 90% are enamel anyway). They follow me around the store also but the one employee i do not mind since he is an avid builder and more so wants to see/hear about what WIP you have. They mainly follow around since the younger kids around my area think its cool to steal from the store constantly so i do understand their suspicions of everyone. I did just find out that Mega Hobby is in my state just a hour or so drive away so plan to check them out also this weekend.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 9:18 AM

I think the success or failure of a store is largely the fault of the local franchise owner.

The one in Arlington, TX moved from a small shop to a bigger shop, back down to a small shop, to a larger shop, to a big shop.  Each was in the vicinity of a regional shopping mall (i.e. rent := big bux).  Each time they moved - where are they now?  They have now closed.  They kept bringing in more R/C (which in and of itself may be a good thing, but is also big bux -- need to move inventory).   They also had all the other gack which accompanies a Hobbytown, puzzles, doll houses, railroad (Lionel), etc.   Thay had a good selection of plastic,  but like most of their other stock -- was priced dearly.  They didn't move inventory.   I just went in for paint.  Their stock went from just OK to bad to worse.   The franchisee also owned a store in Ft Worth, across from JRB Carswell.   It was smaller and seemed to be doing better, but it too has closed.   I have heard that the Ft Worth store income was supporting the Arlington store.

Conversely there is a franchisee that owns several stores in Dallas & the suburbs.  The store's arn't as large and are in strip malls generally away from regional shopping malls.  They have much of the standard Hobbytown gack,  but less of it.  Fewer models but better paint selection.  They seem to turn their inventory better.   The layout of the smaller stores may also be better for loss prevention.

The success of a particular store is due to the business acumen of the franchise owner and his ability/willingness to push back against the corporate inventory plan to support his community's needs.

  • Member since
    August, 2012
  • From: Parker City, IN.
Posted by Rambo on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 9:26 AM
The one down in Castleton close to the mail isn't as good as it use to be, they had to downsize twice in the last decade. The last time after toysrus closed the landlord wouldn't renew their lease or two other business around them. Toysrus is now a Tesla car place and the other there shops are a flooring store. They got rid of a lot of their models, last time I was there they didn't have a single Tamiya kit, only about a dozen dragon and about a dozen trumpeter. Lots of car and gundam still and paint was still the same. They use to have probably close to a thousand kits at any one time, now I doubt it breaks 200

Clint

  • Member since
    August, 2012
  • From: Parker City, IN.
Posted by Rambo on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 9:32 AM

Forgot to mention the one on the Southside of Indy. It's in a bigger place and they do a great business but mostly with slot car, war gaming and dungeons and dragons and host these types of events. Have good selection of models as well.

Clint

  • Member since
    March, 2014
Posted by BarrettDuke on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 9:40 AM

Several Hobby Towns that I used to shop at around the country when I was in their towns have closed in recent years. I think they're also struggling. It should be a reminder to us all that if we don't spend some of our money in our local hobby shops, we'll all soon be paying $3.50 for a bottle of paint, paying $2.00 for shipping, and waiting several days before it arrives. Barrett

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 11:06 AM
There is one about 45-50 miles away in Louisville, but I have never made the trip up there. One of my club members owns a shop and there is a small hobby shop in my town as well as a Hobby Lobby. I have shopped at one before when I was stationed in Massachusetts. They tend to carry main line stuff at MSRPs.
fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 11:14 AM

There's one in Camp Hill,Pa. 33 miles away. after that there are 5 in Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. All of those are at least 1-1/2 to 3 hours away. Never been to any of them. There used to be one in an industrial park in Elverson, Pa. but he was only open for 2 years. He admitted that they picked a bad location. The guys in our club went there a couple of times. Great store but even the GPS had a heck of a time finding it. We bought a lot of stuff on sale when he was closing.

Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 11:19 AM

I got a Hobbytown in Asheville,very close.I am quite pleased with it,they have nice selection of paints,weathering products,and supplies.I don't normally buy kits from stores,but they had a nice selection of newer kits.Dragon,Meng,Takom,and Tamiya.I have to say I'm glad they are here.

  • Member since
    July, 2018
  • From: The Deep Woods
Posted by Tickmagnet on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 12:15 PM

I have one in Springfield I visit when I happen to be in that town. It's about 70 miles away. They  carry a lot of different items and at least a third of the store is RC stuff. It leaves their model pickings pretty slim but always worth a stop just to see what might be there. It's run by some super nice folks and I've never have been followed around by them.

 

 

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Corpus Christi, Tx
Posted by mustang1989 on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 12:35 PM

BarrettDuke

Several Hobby Towns that I used to shop at around the country when I was in their towns have closed in recent years. I think they're also struggling. It should be a reminder to us all that if we don't spend some of our money in our local hobby shops, we'll all soon be paying $3.50 for a bottle of paint, paying $2.00 for shipping, and waiting several days before it arrives. Barrett

 

Without getting into the state of our hobby too much.... unfortunately I believe  that's the way it's heading anyways. Down here in Corpus we don't have anything but Hobby Lobby which is pretty limiting in the materials needed. The closest real hobby shops are over 2 hours away so for me this is already the way I acquire kits or materials.

 I've been to the Hobby Town USA in San Antonio and load up every time I go but I only get up that way maybe once a year.Indifferent

 

 

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 12:44 PM

The last remaining LHS closed for good late last year. No Hobbytown store in my area.

  • Member since
    February, 2014
  • From: Michigan
Posted by silentbob33 on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 1:32 PM

I'm glad you posted this Greg.  Not because of the Hobby Town in Kalamazoon closing down, but so I don't waste a trip there.  I'm a bit north of you in Benton Harbor so it's only about a 45 minute drive for me.  I liked the store and had been in a few times over the past year and generally found what I was looking for.

I've heard there's a Hobby Town in Granger, but it looks to be mostly RC stuff.  I've also found a place online called Maple City Hobbies in Granger but haven't made the trip down there to check the place out.  I don't know how close you are to Granger, but it might be worth checking out if it's not too far.

On my bench: Bandai 1/72 TIE Striker

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Denver
Posted by tankboy51 on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 2:14 PM

I have one just a couple of miles away.  Colpars hobbies, now part of the Hobby Town, is about 20miles away.  There are several in the metro area, Longmont, Loveland, Colorado Springs area.  So Colorado is great for outdoor and indoor activities.   40 years ago we had several more I used to visit.  Things do change.  So getting kits and supplies has never been an issue for me.   I rarely use on line stuff.  The stores get it all.  Especially Colpar, which I've been going too for over 40 years. They have been giving me a discount there for decades.  

  • Member since
    March, 2014
Posted by BarrettDuke on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 4:01 PM

Tankboy, That former Colpar store is amazing! Even as a Hobby Town, they have maintained their commitment to scale modeling. The place is truly impressive, nearly overwhelming. Barrett

  • Member since
    July, 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 4:35 PM

The closest Hobby Town to me has turned into a toilet since going from an independent to the HT branding. The plastic model section has all but disappeared, paint racks are usually 1/3 empty, and anything new is all R/C car stuff. Not worth the hour plus drive at all. And yet teary eyed modelers moan about supporting local hobby shops incessantly? Bad stores deserve to fail, and good riddance to them. 

  • Member since
    May, 2016
Posted by learmech on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 4:51 PM
We have 2 Hobby Towns here in Omaha. The one up north is mainly focused on RC. they have a indoor track for racing cars. The one located south is my main go-to LHS. they have a good selection of model kits and supplies.
  • Member since
    May, 2018
  • From: Louisville KY
Posted by DMX512 on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 5:41 PM

Rob Grovonius

If you make the trip to Louisville you MUST go to Scale Reproductions. It is a Mom and Pop shop with an excellent selection of models kits and supplies.

I never shop anywhere else.

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 6:28 PM

I have a HT five minutes from work. That is really convenient for me. They seem to be thriving. They are heavy on RC but they have a good mix of everything else. But, I think it's RC that pays his bills. The one thing he has going for him is a big empty building behind his store that he uses to promote RC races. In the summer he has people race in the parking lot. He has a good following and people dump good amounts of money into upgrades and new vehicles. I went to his store on a Sunday and they were racing that day. The store was packed. The man it doing it right.

 

  • Member since
    April, 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:45 PM

We have a small but decent Hobby Town here in Longmont, CO.  with a good selection of supplies, and a lot of common kits.  They will always order special things like GOOD new kits with only a week's lead time.  Very handy.

They have a lot or RC and toy trash which I am not interested in. 

When the boss or one of the old timers is on duty, you can "talk shop" which is very much appreciated.  However, at other times, they only have "DUH..." clerks on duty who are not at all helpful.  I usually know what I am looking for, so I am glad to have this place nearby, with all of its shortcomings.  I support them whenever I can.

 

 

Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:56 PM

I surely do appreciate all of your great feedback on my question. Thanks!!!

Mostly I am relieved that 'my' two pet stores were not indicative of trouble for all HobbyTowns. They are nice stores and I wish all of the store owners well.

Bruce, Indy is a pretty good haul, 2:15+ to Carmel/the north side for me. But I do pass through a couple times per year so if the store you have in mind is anywhere near US31, the east 465 loop, or 65 south of 465, it could be a stop.

Fesan, I'd never been followed around a store before, so now I know how it feels. Not so good, does it? More importantly, I'm glad to hear you have a decent store nearby, and don't let the distrust get to you. Atta boy. Yes

Ed, I agree, a lot does depend on the individual owner. I've been through some tough times in business, and I know that the worst of times do not bring out the best in me. I have empathy for the folks. The store in Kalamazoo was a husband/wife effort. I remember having a wonderful chat with the wife once years back. I wonder if it was the husband who was chasing me around that day years later? Surprise

Clint, thanks. I wonder if that Indy south side store is the one Bruce is thinking about?

Barrett, I agree. It's good to support local shops if we can.

Rob, thanks for chiming in.

Jim, good to hear you have a decent selection of stores up in your NE neck of the woods. Too bad one of them might not be closer.

Tojo, that sounds like a nice kit selection. Sounds like you have one of the good ones nearby.

Tickmagnet, I think every hobbiest should visit a HobbyTown at least once, I'm glad you have one to visit when you are in the vicinity.

Joe, it is starting to surprise me where the HTUSA's are ....and aren't. Corpus Christi is a decent-sized place, I would have suspected you would have one closer.

Sheep, sadly, your story is all too common. At least a lot of us were around to have enjoyed the LHS heyday, even if it makes us melancholy.

Bob, I'm sorry Kazzoo closed too, but I'm glad if I saved you a trip. I probably saved myself one, as sooner or later I'd have headed up there this spring/summer.

I am familiar with the Granger HobbyTown USA as well. I was going to mention it but my post had already gotten too long. It is a nice little store but it didn't pique my interest becuase as you said, it is mostly RC. That said, I should probably stop by again and support them if I can.

I looked up Maple City and the one I found in is Goshen, easily confused with Granger, and a good 45 minutes if not more from here.

Speaking of Granger, if you get down this way and have any interest in model trains, check out Jerry's Trains. It is an awesome new train hobby shop which unfortunately for me, I can easily walk to. Indifferent

Tankboy, sounds like lucky you. I need to get off my lazy duff and visit my daughter in Denver this summer, I might just have her take me on a little hobby side trip or two then. Wink

MJames, sorry you have a bad situation out your way.

learmech, you might be the first report I've heard of a HTUSA being your go to LHS. That's cool!

DMX, lucky you to have a good mom and pop store near by. Savor each moment.

Hamster, I didn't know you had a HTUSA so close. That is COOL. Also, the store near me Bob was talking about also has an indoor RC building. Small world.

Thanks again for chining in, everyone. Like I said, I'm relieved to hear of so many thriving HobbyTowns and LHS's in general. Yes

 

 

 

-Greg

  • Member since
    April, 2015
Posted by Mopar Madness on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 8:02 PM

My HT is in Plano, TX and about 20 minutes from my house.  They have an incredible selection of Gunze, Vallejo, Model Master, and Tamiya paints and a great selection of kits. They also host our bimonthly Model Club. And if I need something specific, they can order it.

Chad

God, Family, Models...

At the plate: 1/48 ICM Fw 126

On deck: 1/72 Airfix Lightning

In the hole: 1/72 Airfix Hunting Percival 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: From the Mit, but live in Mason, O high ho
Posted by hogfanfs on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 9:02 PM

Greg

Bruce, Indy is a pretty good haul, 2:15+ to Carmel/the north side for me. But I do pass through a couple times per year so if the store you have in mind is anywhere near US31, the east 465 loop, or 65 south of 465, it could be a stop.

Greg, 

The Hobby Town I'm talking about is in North East Cincinnati where I live. If you lived close to Indy, I knew it would not be too long a drive to Cincy. 

 Bruce

 

 On the bench:  1/48 Eduard MiG-21MF

                        1/35 Takom Merkava Mk.I

 

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Naples, FL
Posted by tempestjohnny on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 9:22 PM
I have one 6 miles from my house. Decent selection of paints but models are few and far between. Little mom and pop a little farther away has a great selection kits. But sometimes pricey.

 

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Lakewood, CO
Posted by kenjitak on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 10:20 PM

If you get back to Sacramento, checkout Viking hobby shop in Carmichael. They have a great selection in a teeny space! Lots of fun. In Denver, we have the two Colpar’s Hobby Towns, which are still regarded as Colpar East and West, and have kept their identity and well-earned rep as among the best in the country. But we also have Thompson’s hobbies in Lakewood, and Caboose hobbies, which specializes in trains. In addition, we have a number of Hobby Lobby stores throughout the area. I’d say the Denver-area is target-rich in model stores.

Ken

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 12:00 AM

DMX512

Rob Grovonius

If you make the trip to Louisville you MUST go to Scale Reproductions. It is a Mom and Pop shop with an excellent selection of models kits and supplies.

I never shop anywhere else.

 

That's the one I was referring to. If I go up there, I stop by Brian's.

  • Member since
    February, 2014
  • From: Michigan
Posted by silentbob33 on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 7:03 AM

Greg

Bob, I'm sorry Kazzoo closed too, but I'm glad if I saved you a trip. I probably saved myself one, as sooner or later I'd have headed up there this spring/summer.

I am familiar with the Granger HobbyTown USA as well. I was going to mention it but my post had already gotten too long. It is a nice little store but it didn't pique my interest becuase as you said, it is mostly RC. That said, I should probably stop by again and support them if I can.

I looked up Maple City and the one I found in is Goshen, easily confused with Granger, and a good 45 minutes if not more from here.

Speaking of Granger, if you get down this way and have any interest in model trains, check out Jerry's Trains. It is an awesome new train hobby shop which unfortunately for me, I can easily walk to. Indifferent

My bad on that location, Goshen is what I have written down. I'll blame that on my meds lol.  Thanks for the tip on Jerry's Trains.  I'll have to check it out the next time I'm down that way.

On my bench: Bandai 1/72 TIE Striker

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 10:25 AM

Chad, sounds like you have another pretty good one. Interesting your HT carries Gunze paints. I don't ever remember seeing those anywhere. Thanks for chiming in.

Bruce, I got your comment all backwards. Unfortunately, Cincinnati would be quite a haul (I'm way up north near South Bend, IN). Thanks for the thought, though....

Johnny, now there's a dedicated modeler. In Naples territory for less than 1/2 year and all ready have the local shops sorted out. Good for you! Glad you found some action down Naples way. You just made me think to check for a HT in the Tampa Bay area. No idea why I never thought to check before. Found one 40 mins away from my Florida hangout, and as you should have learned by now, 40 mins away in Western/Southwestern FL is about average, isn't that right? Thanks for giving me that idea.

Ken, I've added that info to my travel notes for both places. I checked and Carmichael is only minutes from my sister's place in Sacremento. Plus you have given me incentive to get to Denver. Sounds like a great place to be a hobbiest for sure. Thank you!

Bob, if you're not a Hoosier, I'll bet Granger and Goshen sound about alike. No worries. Wink A little more info on Jerry's, it is owned by Jerry Macri who has what has been reported as the largest HO home layout in the US in his home basement. You can do some Googling and find out more about it if you want. They have funny hours (and they change seasonally), check with them or with me before you head down this way.

 

 

-Greg

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Naples, FL
Posted by tempestjohnny on Thursday, May 16, 2019 5:28 AM
Greg. Gotta have my LHS for supplies. Also found another one in Ft Myers that's really a railroad shop but he has quite a selection of kits and a great paint selection

 

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