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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'll be the first to admit that a part of me is stuck in the 80's (who isn't a little stuck in their teen years), but I really miss the dedicated hobby shops. The kind of places that had any color of paint the model instructions called for; high quality paint brushes; airbrush kits; vises, Dremel kits, and other tools for a hobbyist's workbench; an owner who had a great knowledge of the hobbies represented in his inventory. Are there still any B&M hobby shops like that in your area?
 

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There were three of them within about 25 miles of me, but the nearest one closed it's doors within the past year. That one was mainly slot cars, but also had R/C cars and airplanes as well as plastic models. It had relocated from it's own building to the local mall and apparently couldn't make that work. The other two have plastic models as just one aspect of their business. Both are much more reliant on model railroading than model cars. Still, both are full-line hobby shops.
 

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I have two about a half hour drive away (in opposite directions), but I rarely get a chance to go to them except maybe once a month when I'm going out that way
 

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I dont have shops like that here at my place anymore... One store had a few AMT kits, a okey selection of brushes and Humbrol paint when i was younger... Today i get my kits from online stores. I have started shopping kits from american shops, because price and selection is much better than here. I still get paint from norwegian shops, but thats ONLY because i have to....

Vegar
 

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I am really lucky to have a number of shops in the area. WV Hobby and Craft is the biggest and run by people who want to keep their customers coming back. They do R/C and trains and really anything under the sun but they still keep a very good stock of models, new and old.

The same family runs Nitro Hobby and Craft as well which is a few miles away. It is smaller but still a great shop. First hobby shop I ever visited many years ago under a different owner.

Fountain Hobby Center in Charleston is a landmark. Don't know how long it has been there but a long time. Model inventory has a decided ebb and flow to it there but they always have something that I need.

Hobby Lobby is a fair drive and I usually don't find what I want.

Hobbytown USA came and went over a 10 year span. Their overhead must be monstrous. Most kits were straight retail then went to clearance.

Another locally owned startup came and went in the last couple of years in Charleston. Mostly R/C but too bad they didn't make it.
 

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I fondly remember "Smith's Hobbies" from when I was growing up. It was a one-man operation on the first floor of his house on the main drag just outside of town. It was situated between the new- and used-car lots of the local VW dealer. Mr. Smith was a widower about 70 years old when I first discovered the place, which had been in business since at least the mid-1950's. His main stock-in-tade was models, and mostly cars at that. He also carried a large selection of slot cars and was a Huffy and Raleigh bike dealer as well. The coolest thing about Smth's was that the prices never went up (They never went down, either). Thing is, he was so little-known that some old models, including annuals, sat on the shelf for decades! I went a fair distance toward clearing him out of his back stock of 60's annuals in the mid-to-late 1970's - not because thet were old, not because they were likely to appreciate, but because I could AFFORD THEM! I'd cut the lawn for my folks and, with what they'd give me for that pedal my bike the 5 miles to Smith's and pick up 3 or 4 models.

Looking back, I cringe to think of what I did to them! I still have several of them that are restorable. In fact, I hope to dig in to my old AMT '65 Wildcat convertible some time soon. Unfortunately, I completely ruined the MPC '69 Impala SS convertible that I got there. That one, or the coupe version, in on my list of kits that I want to find again, even if it's a resin transkit for the AMT '70 Impala.

Mr. Smith passed on in about 1978. Less than a month later, the house had been leveled, the property having been bought by the Volkswagen dealer to connect their two lots. Mr. Smith's children hadn't wanted much to do with their father when he was alive (he WAS kinda crochety... ), but they couldn't wait to cash in on him once he was gone.
 
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