To mix things up a little this week I’ve decided to make THE Cub Report about some of my favorite hobby shops. I travel a lot for my “work”, so each year I am lucky enough to hit dozens of shops coast to coast. After all my traveling these are my top 3 hobby shops, the ones that if you are a gnarcore hobbyist you have to hit before you die.
3. A Main Hobbies, Chico California - While A Main is known primarily for their on-line sales, their brick and mortar is no joke. Their store isn’t the largest, but with their huge warehouse only about a mile away, it has to be considered one of the best stocked in the country. Want the latest Schumacher? No problem. Need to new Mugen? No problem. Quite simply they have all the stuff in stock that you wished your LHS carried. Also adding to the allure are their top notch tracks and the ability to get all the latest SoCal gossip from the guys working the counters. If you are in SoCal and want to get a real taste of rc, hit up the A Main shop.
2. Slot and Wing Hobbies, Champaign Illinois - Ok, so while A Main has every piece of uber new gear you could possibly want, Slot and Wing has a mind blowing amount of classic products. Slot and Wing, located just a few miles from the behemoths of Hobbico and Horizon, have been buying up “scratch and dent” items for years, thus making for an incredibly diverse product selection. Walking down an isle at Slot and Wing is like walking down memory lane (their classic body selection is particularly impressive). While many local hobby shops have a few leftover parts for older models, what makes Slot and Wing so special is the shear volume of older parts they carry. If you are into a walk down memory lane, or new to the hobby and want a real taste of what the hobby used to be like, plan a pilgrimage to Slot and Wing, some of the items they have on the pegs will blow your mind.
And now for my #1 favorite hobby shop here in the states…
RC Madness, Enfield Connecticut - Does RC Madness have the most gear? Nope, not by a long shot. Is it the most pristine shop you can walk into? No way. However, what makes them the number 1 shop in the country is how they treat their customers. Nearly every time I get to visit I am amazed at some of the things they do to help customers. The crew behind the counter are extremely well versed on the surface side of things, so you never get the deer in the headlights look when you ask for a strange part like you would at most hobby shops. Also, the shop owner Chris would do just about anything to make sure you leave with the parts you need. I’ve never known him to say “no” to even the most bizarre of requests. For example I would say something like, “Hey Chris, any way you can get me one of those #1 Phillips Hudy screwdrivers that only came in the XRay M18 kit?”, and his typical reply is never “No.”, it is more like “Give me a second and let me look.”. This inevitably ends up with him searching around the back, then walking to the counter with obscure part in hand and a price on his mind. In fact, I’ve seen him crack open brand new kits to get a customer the parts they needed. And when they don’t have the parts (or a suitable replacement) in stock, they have no issue going to great length to acquire them. To boil it down, the reason why RC Madness is #1 is because they go the extra mile (sometimes several extra miles) getting every customer exactly what they want. Oh and yes, if you are a hardcore hobbyist it is absolutely worth planning a dedicated trip just to visit Madness, they have multiple tracks to keep you busy once your spending spree is over.
That’s it for this week ya lunatics, support your local hobby shops and bash spots when ya can.
YOUR Cub Reporter