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What is the best hobby shop in the USA?


Scooter
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(Ok... so my Saturday night is slow...which made me think of a Forum idea that perhaps many people could engage in.. so...)

Q: What is the best plastic model shop in the USA?

 

(defined as: at a minimum, a place where plastic models are sold, which has the widest range of scale, manufacturers, oldies, newbies, as well as supplies, reference materials, aftermarket, decals etc etc...- not simply the biggest, but the best in service too..)

 

My first comment: is Hayes Hobby House in Fayetteville NC. Big range, and it checks the box on all the above. I also went to one in San Jose a couple of years ago that was awesome too..

 

(and as the ideas and comments come it, I'll summarize them perhaps...

 

AC

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On the west coast, I'd have to put in my vote for three.

 

First: Pegasus Hobbies in Montclair CA. Incredible selection of models, some I've not seen before anywhere else, great people, and an overwhelming selection of aftermarket sets. Heavy reference selection too.

 

Very close second: Brookhurst Hobbies in Garden Grove CA. Awesome selection of models, overwhelming selection of reference material surpassing Pegasus, and wider selection of paints and tools. Their customer service ain't so warm and helpful as Pegasus though; this despite my knowing several employees at Brookhurst well. Pegasus has better service and friendlier people and that's why I put them in the number one spot.

 

My close third choice: Tony's Hobbies and Toys in Baldwin Park CA. Another incredible selection of models, including some carried nowhere else, outstanding tools and paint selection and very complete reference selection. People are awesome too. Very friendly and helpful and Tony is a blast to shoot the breeze with.

 

 

 

 

 

Ooops! Did I mention too many? I'm sorry! :smiley18::smiley9:

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Spare Time Shop in Marlbourogh (Malburo), Massachusetts about an hour or so outside of Boston.

 

I'd heard about the Spare Time shop for years and finally made it there a few years ago while on a long business trip. Definitely a good shop, but I think AB Charles in Pittsburgh is at least as good.

 

Esther's Hobby in Millvale (a Pittsburgh suburb) is also good - not as big or well stocked as AB Charles but its in an old neighborhood and building with lots of character. If you go early, check out the P&G diner across the street for breakfast.

 

Don

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Don't know about the USA, but one of the best I've been in is Top Shelf Models in Owasso, OK. Was just there this past weekend picking up a few things.

 

 

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What I think is a good hobby shop is not the shop itself but the people who own and run the shop. If they are interested in their customers, answer their questions and welcoming to just modelers hanging around and talking, then to me that's a great hobby shop. If it has a good selection of kits and books so much the better. I've been to Brookhurst in So. CA and I think it's call Colpars in Denver, CO. Both have a big selection of kits and books but at both I did not feel welcomed. The workers talked with people who seemed to be regulars but did not bother to say hello or ask if I needed help as I walked in and wandered around.

Just my two cents,

Eric

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Ah, yes, I knew AB Charles when they were located in their old Dormont store (it's been over 30 years since I've been there and can't say I remember them being located in a barn). Every year or so, I'd make a special trip up from Morgantown to spend the afternoon there. They know how to run a hobby store....I take it they've moved as the photo on their website isn't the same store I remember....

 

 

I'd heard about the Spare Time shop for years and finally made it there a few years ago while on a long business trip. Definitely a good shop, but I think AB Charles in Pittsburgh is at least as good.

 

Esther's Hobby in Millvale (a Pittsburgh suburb) is also good - not as big or well stocked as AB Charles but its in an old neighborhood and building with lots of character. If you go early, check out the P&G diner across the street for breakfast.

 

Don

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The BEST hobby shop in the USA is the one that has exactly what I am looking for at a price I can afford at the time I am actually in the shop! That said, yesterday's BEST hobby shop was Hobby Lobby in Tinley Park, IL, where I found and bought the 1/144 RoG C-17 that I have seen in no other LHS since it first came out.

 

Ed

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Hayes Hobby House 809 Elm St. Fayetteville, NC 28303 is

my favorite. Mike Starling is super helpful with plastic models.

Sometime we plan trips just to visit them! Highly recommended

for plastic modelers traveling thur or in the area to visit.

Tony Abbott

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Spare Time Shop in Marlbourogh (Malburo), Massachusetts about an hour or so outside of Boston.

 

Great selection, but the prices are way too high, even with my club discount.

 

Best one I've ever been to was the Hobby Hut in Clearwater, FL..in 1985. The perfect LHS, astounding selection....Pocher kits IN STOCK. Never saw that before.

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Ah, yes, I knew AB Charles when they were located in their old Dormont store (it's been over 30 years since I've been there and can't say I remember them being located in a barn).

 

Yes - they moved a few years back. The barn used to be a hardware store - its in the retail section of a residential neighborhood, only a few miles from where it used to be in Dormont, but I'd need a GPS to get between the two locations. I live in the north suburbs, AB Charles is in the south, and I have to cross 2 rivers and go through a tunnel to get there from my house - which by Pittsburgh standards means it might as well be in West Virginia - so I don't get there very often.

 

I'm not a regular enough customer to follow the in-store politics; but for a long time it was AB Charles & Son. The father died a few years ago and Scott (the Son) took over and followed through on his plans to expand (another rumor had it they lost the lease on the old store - I'm not sure). The new store doesn't have the narrow aisles and the long accumulated film of cigarette smoke of the original - whether you see that as a plus or minus is up to you... Strangely, my wife is a bigger fan of AB Charles than I am - she can always do my Christmas shopping there in about 10 minutes - and the guys at the counter always know exactly what I want from the sketchiest description.

 

Don

 

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Thanks for catching me up, Don. Down here in Virginia, my absolute favorite hobby shop USED TO BE Granddad's Hobby in Fairfax. Granted, I live another 180 miles to the south, but when my son started to college at GMU, I found this little gem tucked beside the beltway and gave them about $400 of my hobby money over a period of two years. Sadly, a couple years ago, they went out of business and, rumor has it, packed up and moved to West Virginia to start a mail order business. Still no word. I miss their knowledgeable sales staff and large selection of paint, magazines and photo-etch for armor!

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Soapy's Hobby Shop in Marquette, MI. He has all the model building civilization you need. Flash your IPMS tin and get a good discount.

 

If Craig doesn't have it, he can get it. If he can't get it you can probably do without it.

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In a previous reply I mentioned Hayes in Fayetteville N.C. and then I began to feel guilty because our club,Midstate Modelers meets at Kit Kringle hobby shop in Asheboro. He has a limited supply but will order anything you ask for and the atmosphere is just outstanding,Coy and the guys are just great. At every club meeting we have a raffle that usually is around 50 or 60 dollars. If you are ever in Asheboro stop by the mall and visit Kit Kringle.

 

 

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Well. in no particular order, here is what was discussed, and are open today...

 

Hayes Hobby House in Fayetteville NC

Spare Time Shop in Marlbourogh (Malburo), MA

Pegasus Hobbies in Montclair CA

Brookhurst Hobbies in Garden Grove CA

Tony's Hobbies and Toys in Baldwin Park CA

AB Charles in Pittsburgh PA

Esther's Hobby in Millvale (a Pittsburgh suburb) PA

Top Shelf Models in Owasso, OK

Colpars in Denver, CO

Soapy's Hobby Shop in Marquette, MI

Kit Kringle hobby shop in Asheboro NC

 

 

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Well. in no particular order, here is what was discussed, and are open today...

 

Hayes Hobby House in Fayetteville NC

Spare Time Shop in Marlbourogh (Malburo), MA

Pegasus Hobbies in Montclair CA

Brookhurst Hobbies in Garden Grove CA

Tony's Hobbies and Toys in Baldwin Park CA

AB Charles in Pittsburgh PA

Esther's Hobby in Millvale (a Pittsburgh suburb) PA

Top Shelf Models in Owasso, OK

Colpars in Denver, CO

Soapy's Hobby Shop in Marquette, MI

Kit Kringle hobby shop in Asheboro NC

 

 

I guess the Hobby Lobby in Tinley Park, IL, that I mentioned above missed the list above from my not raving enough about it. I've purchased many, many kits and supplies from them over the years both for personal use and for chapter raffle kits.

 

Ed

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Midsouth Hobbies in Memphis, TN is simply one of the finest around, but it never gets mentioned in one of these threads unless I post, so... post. I've been to a few above, and Midsouth Hobbies has a couple of them beat in terms of inventory and staff.

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  • 1 month later...

Well.... It goes to show that there are great places for the hobby all over the country, and

after this little exercise, at the end of the day, the best hobby shop is the one that has what you want, when you want it, the service you need when you need it, and at the end of the day they respect the hobby.. We all need to use them as much as possible.

 

Cheers all

 

AC

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Thanks for catching me up, Don. Down here in Virginia, my absolute favorite hobby shop USED TO BE Granddad's Hobby in Fairfax. Granted, I live another 180 miles to the south, but when my son started to college at GMU, I found this little gem tucked beside the beltway and gave them about $400 of my hobby money over a period of two years. Sadly, a couple years ago, they went out of business and, rumor has it, packed up and moved to West Virginia to start a mail order business. Still no word. I miss their knowledgeable sales staff and large selection of paint, magazines and photo-etch for armor!

 

Ever make it up to Denbeigh Hobbies on the Peninsula? When I lived down your way, they were my regular stomping grounds...

Dunno if they're still around, but Orange Blossom Hobbies in Miami, FL was three stories of modeling goodness. And back in Seattle, American Eagle was a great shop, too...

Edited by BobPauly
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I used to frequent Denbigh Dan's quite frequently when I moved down here in the early '80s. I find my deals elsewhere now.

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Ever make it up to Denbeigh Hobbies on the Peninsula? When I lived down your way, they were my regular stomping grounds...

Dunno if they're still around, but Orange Blossom Hobbies in Miami, FL was three stories of modeling goodness. And back in Seattle, American Eagle was a great shop, too...

 

Orange Blossom went Tango Uniform in 2001.

 

Some of the better shops I've supported over the years include the aforementioned Orange Blossom, as well as Warrick Custom Hobbies (sadly, their plastics department has shrunk since I worked there), Universal Hobbies (now defunct), and RC Hobbies in the Ft. Lauderdale area; Dunn Brothers Hardware/Toy and Hobby, Ace Hobbies, Sky LTD and HobbyCraft Junction in the Daytona Beach area (all four shops are now defunct); Hobby and Garden in Greenwood, SC (not doing too much of the Hobby part these days); Golden Strip Hobbies in Simpsonville, SC (now defunct); AAA Hobbies in Marietta, GA; Hobby Stop in Rock Hill, SC; the various HobbyTown USA locations in and around Augusta, Atlanta, and Kennesaw, GA; Columbia and Greenville, SC (I managed one of the Columbia stores briefly, and still stop in once a week to lend a hand); Knoxville, TN; Charlotte, NC; and Ormond Beach, FL; and any one of the dozens of small Mom and Pop shops I've managed to stumble upon in my travels around the Southeast. I've also indirectly helped to support the shops in Anchorage, AK and Skyway Model Shop in Seattle. I wouldn't have supported any of them if they didn't have what I was looking for, either as a local resident (aka "regular") or a drop in on a trip.

 

Ralph

Edited by Ralph Nardone
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Orange Blossom went Tango Uniform in 2001.

 

Some of the better shops I've supported over the years include the aforementioned Orange Blossom, as well as Warrick Custom Hobbies (sadly, their plastics department has shrunk since I worked there), Universal Hobbies (now defunct), and RC Hobbies in the Ft. Lauderdale area; Dunn Brothers Hardware/Toy and Hobby, Ace Hobbies, Sky LTD and HobbyCraft Junction in the Daytona Beach area (all four shops are now defunct); Hobby and Garden in Greenwood, SC (not doing too much of the Hobby part these days); Golden Strip Hobbies in Simpsonville, SC (now defunct); AAA Hobbies in Marietta, GA; Hobby Stop in Rock Hill, SC; the various HobbyTown USA locations in and around Augusta, Atlanta, and Kennesaw, GA; Columbia and Greenville, SC (I managed one of the Columbia stores briefly, and still stop in once a week to lend a hand); Knoxville, TN; Charlotte, NC; and Ormond Beach, FL; and any one of the dozens of small Mom and Pop shops I've managed to stumble upon in my travels around the Southeast. I've also indirectly helped to support the shops in Anchorage, AK and Skyway Model Shop in Seattle. I wouldn't have supported any of them if they didn't have what I was looking for, either as a local resident (aka "regular") or a drop in on a trip.

 

Ralph,

 

It's really sad to see the names of old shops I used to support (even after I bought AAA) that are now gone forever.

 

In this economy it's really tough to keep the doors open. All too often the guys can get things online from Asia and pay the shipping for about what I have to spend wholes to get it at the shop.

 

When all of the hobby shop owners decide it's time to retire, what are they gonna do for paint and glue?

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