Today's Birmingham News reports that Spivey Hobby, Toys and Gifts burned to
the ground yesterday. The owner, Mr. Spivey, 78 years old, said he lost
everything in the fire. HIs building was constructed in 1932. He remodeled
his building in 1947 and 1989. His insurance carrier cancelled his
insurance policy on 20 May 2005, saying the building was too old to continue
insuring. A local resident was quoted as saying "I have bought toy
airplanes out of here for my kids. When I was a little girl my mom stuff
for me out there. Wheere else can you go now and buy a lot of this stuff?
It's very sad to see a building like this go because we have no other way to
buy the toy models."
Sounds like a lot of sad customers. No one was hurt in the fire.
I don't usually go on paranoia trips, but having the building burn to the
ground two weeks after the insurance is cancelled on grounds that (at
least from my point of view) sound far fetched is a bit much. Is there
anyone who could be motivated to some very foul play somewhere in this
Has anybody been making pitches to the guy to sell the building? Someone
have a project to "re vitalize" the area, at a good profit to themselves
maybe? Some people's ideas of "Progress" can make them do some pretty
I left out part of the story. The owner and customers were in the store
when the fire started in the back room. It was small at first and several
customers tried to put it out, but, it got away from them. No one suspects
four play and early indications are it was an electrical fire.
As a lifelong Birmingham area resident, I have spent many $$$ at Spivey's. I
doubt they will rebuild, as anyone familiar with the Birmingham area
realizes what a blighted area the store was located in. Once a fairly nice
residential area, years of urban flight have turned the immediate
surrounding area into a shadow of itself. Also, the opening of several
suburban hobby shops around town reduced his customer base somewhat. I think
he still had a significant R/C business, but the last time I was in there
his plastic model inventory was woefully low. The store also carried some
general merchandise items as well, and the neighborhood will miss this.
Several years (15 or so), they attempted to open a branch in the upscale
area of Hoover, just south of Birmingham, but closed it after a few years.
The store's loss is a shame, both for the neighborhood and the Spivey
family. They are extremely nice folks.