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  #21  
Old 01-21-2015, 09:19 AM
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kurtschachner kurtschachner is offline
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There were three (I think) Happy Hobby stores in the Milwaukee area at one time but one burned down a while back. In the early '90s when I got back into rocketry they had a bunch of OOP stuff including some Centuri kits. The prices were reasonable at that time but then when they found out someone wanted the stuff, they increased the prices to almost insane levels.

The one that burned down had this guy running it that seemed to be stuck in a '70s time warp. Pink Floyd posters were around and the whole atmosphere just added to the weirdness. I haven't been in the other two in quite a while simply because there was nothing in those stores I wanted, especially at the prices they offered. The one up on the north side had this woman working there who was interesting. She once yelled at me because I was wanting to buy something that was buried a bit on a shelf, and she loudly complained about "people always wanting stuff" or some similar comment. The third store had a guy running it with his large German Shepherd dog that patrolled the store. The dog was never aggressive to me but still it was a surprise seeing it silently walk between the aisles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
"Happy Hobby"?? Sounds like some place I'd expect to hear about in Colorado, selling various "supplies" for recently legalized materials...

Later! OL JR
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  #22  
Old 01-21-2015, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtschachner
There were three (I think) Happy Hobby stores in the Milwaukee area at one time but one burned down a while back. In the early '90s when I got back into rocketry they had a bunch of OOP stuff including some Centuri kits. The prices were reasonable at that time but then when they found out someone wanted the stuff, they increased the prices to almost insane levels.

The one that burned down had this guy running it that seemed to be stuck in a '70s time warp. Pink Floyd posters were around and the whole atmosphere just added to the weirdness. I haven't been in the other two in quite a while simply because there was nothing in those stores I wanted, especially at the prices they offered. The one up on the north side had this woman working there who was interesting. She once yelled at me because I was wanting to buy something that was buried a bit on a shelf, and she loudly complained about "people always wanting stuff" or some similar comment. The third store had a guy running it with his large German Shepherd dog that patrolled the store. The dog was never aggressive to me but still it was a surprise seeing it silently walk between the aisles.

Heh, I experienced the German Shepherd at that store myself, weird. The store in West Allis that burned down a few years ago had some halfway decent prices on OOP stuff initially when I got back into things in the late 90's compared to the other two stores which were already jacked up. I remember they had a bunch of old catalogs from various years stacked up against a wall that were free for the taking, so I did. I grabbed handfuls of each year they had. ;-) I would say the store on 76th and Good Hope is the dumpiest of them all. I always felt like I might fall through the floor there. They had some gems hidden if you dug a bit.

Model Empire had the best/cheapest assortment of OOP kits when I became a BAR in the late 90's. Buying OOP kits there at original catalog prices helped fund my habit with all the kits I sold on the old, original Ye Olde Rocket Auction. That original auction was all done by hand with me making manual updates to the web pages as I or others put items up for auction and as people emailed their bids in to me. Ah, those were the days...
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  #23  
Old 01-21-2015, 11:08 AM
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A couple years ago I went to P&D Hobbies in Clinton Township, Mi by Selfridge ANG (former USAF) Base.
My Director at work told me a lot of the rocketry stuff there looked 'old'.
They had quite a few OOP kits, some dating back to the early 80's.
I picked up a Estes F-61 Starfighter for $34.95 and a Skytracer for $37.95.
No idea where they came up with these prices, as they are rare on ebay and worth quite a bit more, and also nowhere near the original price either.
Seemed to be right in the middle of catalog price and ebay value.
Those other than an old Citation Patriot (With a $75.00 PRICE) were the oldest kits they had; most of the 'old' stuff was discontinued in the mid 90's. Nothing really 'special' like an old Astron Skydart or Mars Lander or K29 S1B.
I kept it quiet, but somebody must have also found out about their OOP selection; went there 6 months later and it was ALL gone.

They have a TON of OOP NOS Lionel train stuff including main Locomotive engines back to the 50's, and priced accordingly HIGH.
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  #24  
Old 01-21-2015, 02:09 PM
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Default Ouch!!

I'm very sad to hear about the end of GN&H. I lived and worked in the Waukesha-Pewaukee-New Berlin area for ~5 years in the early 2000s. Any time I was feeling down, I'd take a trip to GN&H, see all that rocket gear (and other modeling stuff), and get a real boost. It had that warm, welcoming, slightly haphazardly "packed full o' neat stuff" atmosphere that reminded me of the local hobby shop (as in 2 blocks from home) that nurtured the first 3-4 years of my model rocket activities.

Even 10 years ago, there was a lot of speculation about the demise of the local hobby shop. GN&H was a shining beacon (along with, for me, Venture Hobbies down in Wheeling, IL) disproving that. I remember thinking that poorly run shops were probably at risk, but a place like Greenfield? Naw, they'll survive.

I never got to Happy Hobby or Model Empire. Geez - I was clearly goofing too much in those days!

Anyway, sad to hear it - just wanted to show some solidarity with Milwaukee and WHOOSH folks on here.

Just had to chime in on this one. A proper introductory "who I am" post coming soon.....
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  #25  
Old 09-16-2015, 01:51 PM
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I was in Milwaukee a few weeks ago and drove right past the former Greenfield News & Hobby - store windows empty, no cars in the parking lot, for rent/lease sign (I think)..... It looked SO sad!

Used to go there after work, and always remember that tingle of anticipation as I pulled into the lot at the thought of all the cool stuff inside. Sigh.

(Really wasn't planning to drive by; I was heading toward I-43 and suddenly remembered, "Hey, wait GNH is on this street.....")
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  #26  
Old 11-14-2015, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yousah
From what everyone is talking about it may have been Happy Hobby. I remember they had lots of vintage kits and when I talked to the store owner about purchasing some, he got really irritated with me. The guy was a real weirdo and I couldn't wait to get out of his store.


The Fox Valley Rocketeers did a "hobby shop crawl" (think "pub crawl" except with hobby shops) in Milwaukee a couple years ago and we stopped in Happy Hobby. Very weird setup, with product scattered about, leaky roof, moldy carpet. I thought "Ah, we'll find good stuff here!" Alas, no such luck. I heard one of their stores (they had 2) burned down.

I love the variety and convenience of the Net for buying stuff, but it pretty much killed off the local hobby shop.
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  #27  
Old 11-14-2015, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyNoir
The Fox Valley Rocketeers did a "hobby shop crawl" (think "pub crawl" except with hobby shops) in Milwaukee a couple years ago and we stopped in Happy Hobby. Very weird setup, with product scattered about, leaky roof, moldy carpet. I thought "Ah, we'll find good stuff here!" Alas, no such luck. I heard one of their stores (they had 2) burned down.

I love the variety and convenience of the Net for buying stuff, but it pretty much killed off the local hobby shop.

They actually had three stores. The one in West Allis burned down a few years ago. Of the three, the West Allis store was in the nicest shape.
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  #28  
Old 11-15-2015, 02:58 PM
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Default GN&H

During the couple weeks leading up to GN&H's closing, I visited the store a few times, first buying kits & such, then supplies, and, finally, fixtures (like racks & such) which now make up part of my hobby room.

On one of the visits, I overheard a long-time customer speaking with the owner of the store. According to the owner, business was great, but he and his wife wanted to retire (they'd been in the business, apparently, their entire lives), and had first offered the business to their children. Then, when the children turned them down, they had tried to sell it, to no avail.

Left with no alternatives, they just closed up shop.

The sad takeaway, to me, is that the hobby industry seems to be in such a sad state of affairs that entrepreneurs "know better" than to get into the retail hobby store business. I keep hoping there will be a resurgence of interest in hobbies, but based on my own experience with my kids, I think electronic stimulation has won the battle. Apparently, the quiet joy of building something has been thoroughly clobbered by the raging joy of mowing down virtual opponents in a frenzy of wild blood lust.

I find myself missing ALL my old hobby haunts more & more each day...
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  #29  
Old 11-15-2015, 07:57 PM
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Default Bobbye Hall's Hobby House (look it up).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Wow.
Hate to see Mom-n-Pop hobby shops close.

I still have a local one about 10 miles from my home, and 3 really good olde-tyme ones within 10 miles of my work.

That number is less than half what it was 10 years ago in 2005 however.
The ones that have stayed around had to get much more competitive on pricing than in the past.
The ones that refused to change from a high margin (100%+) business model simply died.


Having worked in the retail hobby biz for 12 years '85-'07 in Dallas, I've seen it all; especially the nickel and dimers, those who NEVER buy anything, and others who waste the employees time. Price is NOT everything - there's service and knowledge...

Bob
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  #30  
Old 01-07-2016, 08:45 PM
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In the February 2016 edition of Finescale Modeler, a letter was sent to the editor noting the closing of GN&H.
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