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Brick and Mortar-Are there any?

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Brick and Mortar-Are there any?
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Thursday, January 25, 2024 11:42 AM

Hi Ya'll!

         On the subject of Brick and Mortar Hobby Shops. They are out there. You just have to look.  In,My foray to the closest one to me, I had a thought. In the city I live in here in the State of TEXAS there is actually NO hobby shop in New Braunfels. There is Hobby Lobby and Joanns. Such as it is. So the forty five mile drive to Hill Country Hobbies,on Bandera road in San Antonio!

          Now there is a newer Brick and Mortar in San Marcos, Texas which is, for me a twenty five mile drive in the other direction. they do have an awesome selection, But, their main clientel seems to be those who build realistic scenes for Games such as Warhammer etc.. What I have found is friendly folks ,but not many who do floaty thingies either. That's alright because most of what I do now is paper or "Card" models and scratchbuild what I want.

            The consensus about Brick and Mortar just for us, is it is too expensive when you consider getting the location right, then the store itself, is there enough parking? and do I have enough Back money if I have a bad month or two. Plus insurance and an assured line of credit for my wholesale purchases.Banks want to make sure you can meet the bills.There isn't a lot of foot traffic downtown at night now and that is mostly to the Bars and such. There are in New Braunfels and San Marco,s Two what I call "Open Air Malls' They don't have a lot of what the banks like to consider as "Foot Traffic" for a Hobby shop.

             There are some other things to consider too. What do you want to carry? I have on one hand the names of two shop within thirty miles that cater to nothing but R.C..Not to much in vessels there either. There is another small shop. dedicated to gaming in town. If I had the time and money to do it again I would carry R.C.(Full selection) plastics in all categories and some Trains and Train related subject. Along with this a good selection of tools, paints and materials for the scratch builders and the model railroader I would NOT get to train involved because that can get bogged down in expensive stock and not necessarily a good turnover. Scratch, Paint and that standard range of Armor, Plane and Car kits with a good turnover is always best. There is One very train oriented shop in San Antonio and here in N.B. there are TWO train shows a year, in the spring and  the fall. Always a good turnout too.

            One of the things I noticed was this. Once I did actually have a hobby shop and didn't know it .Five Large storage buildings(Built onsight) a connecting deck and a window in the kitchen that doubled as the cash counter. Big canvas umbrella like covers over it, a Coffee Maker and Slushie machine as well as a Confection area. lots of tables and chairs and plenty of room to inspect your purchase and folks hanging around to discuss your model or what you could or might build it into. Definitely a weird setting in that I was't even in a town. This was my side-yard. There was also a large scratch building clientel, because of the engineering, architectural and civil engineering firms that still hadn't gotten into Computer Drafting, Drawing or Modeling yet. In Little Rock, I was in Lindsey Ar.. Between L.R.and Benton. I had one 20'x20' shed that was nothing but scratch building supplies and paint. because i built for three law Firms myself I bought in bulk. I had too.

        I jokingly say that all it was was me selling off my "Stash" LOL! LOL! I had a business licence, but it was for various business all under one roof technically. But many branches thereof. The "Shop" fell under the Tow and Recovery Vehicle  Division! If I could roll back the clock say forty or fifty years I would have the "Hobby Shop" only. That turned out, because of the unorthodox way it was set up, to be a fun part of my life. The thing is by doing it that way I really got into my customers minds and could see what they needed, wanted, and would like to have. Trains were Not part of it. That was a side hobby that I did Not get involved in the retail side of! My layout was water related. Old South, River and Rail and Modern Harbor, in Any coastalcity, U.S.A. My interest being the floaty thingies anyway!

          Here's an aside before I go.We have here in New Braunfels ,Texas,a few parks with nice lakes and lakeshores. YET, because of the wildlife restrictions,  ( We Cannot run, sail or power in any of these lakes and the river) the local rivers flow to fast for model boats as well. The feeling is it would "Disturb the Wildlife in The Flyways going through here, and the Deer population who come to drink thereof!" so you see except fo static there isn't a real care for the action part of modeling here. There is a strong I.P.M.S. grouping in the "Hill Country" It's just that the local one is based in San Antonio-Meets to far away for me and Has had to make show venues "Catch as catch can"

          For the first time in my many years here, 2006, til now! they are doing a one day Show and Contest in the  New Braunfels Civic Center on Feb. 10th of this year. You can bet I am going to go to that. Finally! I don't have to drive forty or fifty miles and pay for parking too! It's just sad it's only one day! Oh Well!       Bye-Ya'll-T.B. being long winded agin!


  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by Surface_Line on Friday, January 26, 2024 3:29 AM

Well, TB, here's my thoughts.

Yes, the brick and mortar shops are a heckuva lot fewer now than they used to be.  But locally-owned shops have always been a hit or miss prospect.  Here in the Greater Seattle area, we have two stand-alone shops, in addition to the three or four Hobbytowns that make me nuts.  Those danged proprietors just want to retire at age 75, no matter how much we loved their stores.

But I think back a bunch of years to my time in the Navy.  Every time I got relocated to a new station, I pored through the phone books under Hobbies.  I left hometown Seattle with a dozen shops and a few towns were horrid, with nothing but a model railroad shop that had no interest in ordering plastic kits for me.  Southern CA was wonderful, but the Memphis area drove me to buying stuff at home and shipping the kits to my Memphis barracks.

All that is to say that it has never been great everywhere, but this day of online shops means that where ever you are, you have the same access to good shops.  I do wish it was easier to get a few bottles of paint when the spirit moves me, but those nation-wide places (Hobbytown, Hobby Lobby, Michael's) take care of that, more or less.

And that's what I think.

Best regards,

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Friday, January 26, 2024 1:53 PM

I don't know of many hobby shops that I buy from on-line that aren't brick and mortar shops.  They just don't happen to be close to where I am, but I can still support them with my purchases.  A place like Burbank's House of Hobbies is 1000 miles away from me, but I still get good, old fashioned human-to-human service from them.  I highly recommend them.  I would love to actually visit them some time and see all the stuff they have.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, January 27, 2024 8:49 AM


        Interesting replies. There is a Brick and Mortar (More like Steel and Concrete panels) that I do business with. Where is it you ask? Well, I am in New Braunfels ,Texas, right? This store is in Spring Creek, Indiana! Dave and Debbie (The owners) come to our fine city twice a year for the Train Show. They always seem to have something I need!

       I will say though, there Was a Hobby Town in San Antonio that I would go to once or twice a year. Mainly for supplies and building equipment and tools. occassionally a model or two. That last was rare as Floaty thingies got bigger(1/200 ) and more costly. I do wish though that someone would pick up the standard and open another in say Shertz at least. That's only a twenty minute drive on side roads if I don't want to do freeways.

      Just wanted to add, Just this week a Micheal's opened. Not that it helps much.

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Saturday, January 27, 2024 10:42 AM

I guess I am lucky to live in Twin Cities (Minneapolis area).  Sure, we have lost a few good ones, but we have a few good ones left.

              the best are Hobby Lobby, with two stores, an all genre stores with good plastic model coverage- kits, paints, and aftermarket.  Next is Scale Model Supply, a very esoteric store in a store basement- colloquily known as the dungeon.  Its features are model RR and scale non flying stuff- no RC.  Excellent, with a section of very old kits at none-collector prices. They get new kits in fast

There are a few RC stores that carry mostly a fair selections of plastic paints, and numerous HLs and Michaels.


  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Saturday, January 27, 2024 2:22 PM

Washington DC area.  Have 3 within 60 miles.  Two Hobby Works Laurel and Rockville.  We have Star Hobby in Annapolis.   Always great going to the hobby shop.  

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Friday, February 9, 2024 10:00 PM

In Orlando, the only ones I know of woiuld be a couple craft stores and Colonial Photo and Hobby  in town.  We used to have more, once.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, February 10, 2024 5:58 AM

Hi Rick:

     You know, I seem to remember a great Hobby Venue not to far from the Seattle ferry terminal. At least it didn't seem that far. I was there at the time the World's fair opened. Got to ride the Monorail and dine in the newly Opened "Space needle" How about that!

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, February 10, 2024 10:58 AM

Having grown up with many, and making friends with the owners- one constant issue is that a lot of guys just come in to chew the fat with the counter worker, thumb through a couple of magazines and leave after an hour with a bottle of paint or glue.

Expensive way to provide entertainment.

While I miss that, I really like the lower prices and wide range of available products online.



 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: UK
Posted by PatW on Saturday, February 17, 2024 2:49 AM

None in the UK that I know of. Although there are some warehouses that are mainly postal that open perhaps once a month for mobile customers.

Remember , common sense is not common.

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Saturday, February 17, 2024 12:20 PM

I'm about 45 minutes from Andys Hobby Headquarters.  I must confess I have ordered a couple things from his online site and pay the shipping to avoid the drive/gas.  I've been in the shop a couple times and there really is nothing like staring at the stacks and stacks of brand new kits and supplies



  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Saturday, February 17, 2024 6:57 PM


I'm about 45 minutes from Andys Hobby Headquarters.  I must confess I have ordered a couple things from his online site and pay the shipping to avoid the drive/gas.  I've been in the shop a couple times and there really is nothing like staring at the stacks and stacks of brand new kits and supplies


That's a great place to be close to,would love that.I think Stikpusher is close to them too.


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