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I visited my first hobby shop yesterday

2196 Views 17 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  The-Nightsky
Wednesday myself and my wife drove over to Tampa to visit our DIL and son and pick up their dachshunds for dog sitting for a week. On Thursday while they were at work we drove over to Tarpon Springs, where I was raised, to get some Greek food at the sponge docks and drive through my old neighborhoods. Also when I am over there I visit the House of Hobbies which was in Clearwater when I was growing up. A few years back he consolidated his Clearwater and New Port Richey stores into one store only a couple of miles from where I was raised. I've spoken to him before but yesterday he seemed much more talkative and we chatted for a few minutes as I was leaving. His name is Bob also and he has been in the business for a long while. I visited him back in the early '60s and told him I used to save my lawn mowing money for a trip to his shop when I was growing up. I told him about the one time I had saved enough so that I walked from the Maas Brothers, where my family was shopping, the 10+ blocks to his shop to buy a large scale WW1 triplane. He was rather impressed by that. He then told me this year would be his 50th anniversary of being in business. His store looks like a store that has been around that long and I noted that he has increased his stock of plastic and added a third aisle for plastic models. He keeps a reasonably well stocked store and I always enjoy going there. He does know the business and eBay and such though so you won't find any "deals" there. Still, I usually pick up a couple of supply items and always visit for the memories.
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I don't want to hijack the thread, but I had a first hobbyshop I truly loved.

In the late '60's, Slot and Wing Hobbies in Rantoul, Illinois was a small store near the north gate to Chanute Air Force Base, and was owned and run by Captain Thompson, USAF, Ret. It had almost any kind of plastic kit you could want, along with all sorts of wooden gas-powered planes, not to mention Estes and Centuri model rockets. The main feature of the shop, though, was a huge full-size slot-car track. You could rent a car or bring your own, and buy time to race other customers on it. Many was the time I dodged a flying slot-car as it slid off the high banked curve and flew across the store. I saw the Revell 1/96th scale Saturn V there in the window for the first time in 1969, and bought my first Monogram 1/144th scale Saturn V there in December of 1968. It was a magical place and I miss it terribly. Capt. Thompson moved to a larger store in Champaign, Illinois in the 70's, after I had moved away from Rantoul in 1971. He passed away shortly after, I'm told. I don't know if his store in Champaign is still there or not.

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