Saturday, December 18, 2010

What happened to the days of the LHS (Local hobby shop)

I remember growing up in San Diego and visiting Frank The Trainman or the hobby shop on the navy base. It was an exciting Saturday when my dad would take me to buy some more cheap brass snap track out of the bargain bin at Frank's. Up until recently nothing was grander, than to visit the hobby shop with a small shopping list and chatting with the guys about model railroading. I live in Fresno, the 35th largest city in the country and we have no real grand LHS. Sure there's Hobbytown USA and a couple of small stores. Even the ones that serve the model railroader are not fully stocked and are not that friendly. I was in one of the aforementioned a few years ago and the proprietor was complaining about the customers. I miss the local hobby shop.


  1. Unfortunately, the internet is partly to blame. You will always have a bigger selection when you shop online. In a local store, space is at a premium, and sometimes you have to chose what will sell better over items that are unique and hard to find. Customer service (from my experiences) is no where near as good as the old fashioned hobby shops, usually if you can get a person instead of a form-letter-email they do not know much if anything about their stock or the hobby they supply. Prices in the hobby shops tend to be a little higher, even after you figure in shipping, but that may be just because of my location. Of course there will always be exceptions to this, but I have not been lucky enough to encounter any.

    Just getting the right part on time and in tact is considered lucky here.


Joe Fugate's Siskiyou Lines 2007

Bruce Petty's Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley

Mark Lestico's N UP Cascade Division 2010

Charlie Comstock's Bear Creek and South Jackson 2010

Mike Danneman's D&RGW N 5x7 layout

David Barrows Cat Mountain and Santa Fe 1999

Fremo group in Europe Southern Pacific