Another one bites the dust (hobby shop, that is)

After hearing all this talk (and seeing it with my own eyes) about the decline of the hobby, or at least major changes (not good ones) in the
way we're able to get the stuff we need to play with, it was further evidence, and depressing to boot, to see that one of the biggest hobby stores in the San Francisco Bay Area is closing this fall: San Antonio Hobby in Mountain View (in the South Bay, closer to San Jose than San Francisco).
I shopped there many times--still have the Stewart U-boat in the box with their price sticker on it. Too bad. It may not have been one of the greatest stores so far as train stuff went, but they did have a lot to offer, plus the people there actually knew a thing or three. Too bad.
I guess one good thing is that they'll no longer have to mop up the drool from tjhe floor in front of the brass display case ...
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... asked to comment on Michigan governor George Romney's remark that
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Did they have a web store as well? I really believe that future success for small firms such as hobby shops must include a viable web presence.

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John X. Volker wrote:

Dear Sir:
Let me say first that I have never been to the store in question, but...
I really believe that future success for small firms such as hobby shops must include giving a flying damn. If the window display is broken and shabby, and your stock includes the same 12 dusty Bachmann models everybody else has, and you spend all your time in the back room of the store running your Ebay store, and you don't advertise in hobby magazines or go to train shows, and your merchandise is crammed together and hidden from the public eye, just HOW do you expect to stay in business, hmm?
I was at the train show the other day. It did NOT look like the hobby was dying. The operating layout was slightly shabby, but it DID attract the public.
Let me add that there are several family-owned hardware stores in this town. One of these was quite moribund in the early 1990's. Then it was bought by some people who had the ingenious idea that if you put a few salespeople out on the floor, dust the merchandise and keep it stocked, and generally act as though you want their business, instead of moaning and groaning about the competition like the guy across town still does, you JUST MIGHT have that little extra that brings people in. That store is always busy.
Cordially yours, Gerard P.
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Are you *sure* you've never been to San Antonio Hobby? :-)
Every time I've been in there, I've always felt like really, they'd rather I stop trying to buy things and left them alone.
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Alexei Kosut < snipped-for-privacy@akosut.com> <http://akosut.com/

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San Antonio Hobby was a customer with us for fifteen years and the word came to me from them that the owner has serious health issues. Looks like I have to help the old customers direct now. I saw the decline in the hobby several years ago with about fifty of them closing down that bought from me over the years and very few to take their place.
-- Phil Anderson Up hill slow, down hill fast, tonnage first, safety last.

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I'm sorry to see San Antonio go away for whatever reason. They recently re-did the train area to include more Lionel and G scale (I know, G is a track size not a scale) stuff. The train section personal were not abundant, it is true, but there was always someone there and they would help if asked. They did not roam the aisles often. And even though their window displays were often out of date, the G train in the front ran every day, and they had plenty of fresh stock in the trains sections. Generally, I liked the store.
SAH had other sections as well: planes, cars, general crafts, etc.
I will miss the store. I'm kind of down to two now which are large, and close enough to my home: The Trains Shop in Santa Clara, and D&H in Campbell. Sigh...
Ed
in article snipped-for-privacy@news.commspeed.net, Arizona Rock & Mineral Co. at snipped-for-privacy@northlink.com wrote on 11/8/05 11:37 AM:

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Edward A. Oates wrote:

G is a scale that operates on Gauge 1 track.
Rob

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How long was San Antonio Hobbies in business. Back when I was maybe four or five my dad took me with him to a hobby shop in San Francisco or somewhere in the vicinity. We had just moved to Marysville from Wyoming and we were excited to see San Francisco and about going to a real hobby shop. It was huge and had lots of trains and all sorts of other things. Or at least it seemed huge. For some reason places that seemed really big don't look so big when you see them again after 40 years. Bruce

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Bruce Favinger spake thus:

Well, I don't want to make any assumptions about how old you are, but if you did go to the City (S.F.) as opposed to the South Bay 'burbs, which is where San Antonio is (Mountain View), then there were probably only two train stores, as there are today: Chan's Trains, on Van Ness, and Franciscan Hobbies, on Ocean Ave. The latter is a general hobby shop, and the one I prefer to all others here in the Bay Area. They've got a lot of "junk", meaning old, discontinued and funky stuff which cheapskates like me like to go through in hopes of getting a ganga.
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in article BF9642C9.1144B% snipped-for-privacy@unearthlylink.net, Edward A. Oates at snipped-for-privacy@unearthlylink.net wrote on 11/8/05 11:55 AM:
...all the other stuff re. SAH removed...
I was just in San Antonio Hobbies; the owner had a stroke recently and decided to retire. They are liquidating inventory and there is still quite a lot of new stuff in the store. I bought 24 sections of Aristo 4.5' stainless G gauge track, for example.
It is conceivable that someone may buy the store lease and name to continue on at that location, or it may just disappear. They had no online presence.
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Well, not much of an online presence. They have a web site, with what looks like the beginnings of an online shop. But there are no listing (at least that Safari sees).
Ed
in article BF96A5CF.1146E% snipped-for-privacy@unearthlylink.net, Edward A. Oates at snipped-for-privacy@unearthlylink.net wrote on 11/8/05 6:58 PM:

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