Caboose Hobbies closing

Discussion in 'Manufacturers and Vendors' started by gstout, Aug 4, 2016.

  1. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    Got word from a friend in Denver that Caboose Hobbies has lost its lease after 35 years and will be closing its doors before long. It is uncertain at this time whether they will relocate or simply go mail/internet order. Too bad. I get to Denver every now and then and always make it a point to stop there.

  2. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Hate to hear that, Greg, but at the very least I hope they'll at least still do mail order. I've used them in the past and have always been exceedingly pleased with the service.

    Back when NMRA offered a reprint of the 1943 ORER, my wife wanted to get it for me as a birthday gift. She knew I'd been quite pleased with Caboose Hobbies, so she called them - they went above and beyond the reasonable call of duty in not only explaining that they didn't carry it, but provided her with all the info she needed to find it.

    Best Regards,
  3. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    I only visited there once and I was awestruck! The only trouble was I wasn't carrying enough cash and I had left my main credit card at home! Still I left with a bushel of N scale stuff and a stack of books! I wish CH wasn't so far from my hometown (Springfield). There have been only a couple of other hobby shops that impressed me like Caboose Hobbies. That would have been Hall's at Dallas (closed) and Discount Model Trains at Addison, TX (Dallas area). I've ordered several items online from Caboose Hobbies--BTW, they have a HUGE inventory of HO brass.

    Tom G.
  4. HWB

    HWB Supporter

    That's too bad. It's a very impressive store.
  5. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Yea I used to tell my wife Vicki, that we didnt get paid for pulling empties so I could spend more $$ at Caboose Hobbies. That didnt work very long.
    That was a not such a good thing for me to visit while "away from home" There are a bunch of locos and other stuff around here that made the trip from DV to GJ on the head end of a freight train. I have heard they are looking for somewhere to go and set up a store again. But with Denver being the boom town it is right now retail space may be expensive and hard to come by. All the big empty spaces are being used for green house growers, if you get my drift here.
  6. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    A friend forwarded me an article from the Denver Post regarding Caboose Hobbies. It appears September 25 will be, if you will pardon the expression, the end of the line for this historic hobby shop. What I got from the article is that the owners have no plans to reopen in another location nor to go mail order only, though what they will do with all that inventory is an interesting question. Perhaps there will be some good sales between now and then.

  7. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Thanks for the update, Greg. I checked their website over the weekend and found that they were no longer taking web orders, presumably even when an item shows as "in stock." Wish I'd ordered a few detail parts as a final "thanks" before they pulled in their marker lamps.

    Caboose Hobbies used to have a "Chip Rovetta" (sp) in their web/mail order area who would type his name in e-mails as "CHiP" not unlike the late 70s drama based on the California Highway Patrol. I always enjoyed that. He was also exceedingly kind to my wife when she contacted them in an attempt to fulfill a railroading-related wish list, and for that, I'll always be grateful.

    Best Regards,
  8. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    I hear they are already are closed shelves bare no reason to stay open.
  9. paul slavens

    paul slavens Member

    What a shame, but its no surprise given the lack of interest in our hobby by the younger generation, and the dying off of the older modelers. All aspects of the train hobby are suffering, collectors of older Lionel trains have seen the value of their collections implode over the last 3 years, and I would bet Lionel and MTH will be out of business in 5 years. When new ho models show up, we better grab them while we can because who knows when any given manufacturer will throw in the towel.
  10. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    I have been saying this for years, despite disagreement from magazine editors and hobby dealers, all of whom have a serious stake in not seeing the obvious. If you think about the time and money it takes to spin up even a fairly simple model railroad (which won't do much of anything except go around in a circle endlessly) and then compare that to the cost of a Wii or Game Boy, both of which are immediately interactive, it is no wonder that the model railroad hobby is circling the drain. I used to attend the monthly DuPage County model train shows when I lived in the Chicago area, and it was rare to see any young people there unless they were with their grandparents or Thomas the Tank Engine was present in one form or another. Paul is right: enjoy this while you can because it's not going to be around much longer, unless "V" scale catches on in a big way.

  11. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    I used to be Roadmaster in Denver, the DE no his boss were HO railroader so I hate it
  12. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    The model railroad and hobby "industry" never has been particularly friendly to young people. When I was a ten, eleven or twelve year old, hobby shop propritors and clerks were always gruff and surly to kids and never really wanted to help with information and answers to young people. Since I still had Lionel trains and didn't understand "aitch-O" they never seemed to be interested in helping or even be friendly to youngsters. About anything I ever learned about trains or model railroading, I learned by myself. There were three shops in Springfield with that attitude and a couple more I visited in St. Louis. There was always a much more cheerful attitude if I visited a shop with my dad...

    Tom G.
    FriscoCharlie likes this.
  13. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Tinkertown, here in the StL area in Ladue on Clayton Road, was a wonderful model railroad hobby shop.

    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  14. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    I used to love going in there. It was one of the few stores in the area that stocked brass. I couldn't really afford it, but it was fun to look at. Guess maybe that was part of the problem.

    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  15. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    I agree the Hobby shops I went to as a Lad, and even as a 30 something, had a couple guys, that didn't want to pay any attention to anyone that they considered beneath their level of knowledge, almost all the time. But just one time I ventured yet again into a hobby shop where there was a guy that spent the time to explain to me why things were the way they were and "look for this and that, be careful with this", "don't do this" and so on. I still remember that guy, and appreciate his caring, advise and wisdom, I wasn't even putting the handrails on my locos back then. I am so glad he took that time with me. Model railroading is a multi skilled hobby, and is/was, quite patient as well. Now basically all loco mfgr's have an overseas element to the process, that has no patience, they want to know how many to make, right now, or for ever be without. Irv Athearn while a cantankerous kinda guy made the decision to produce the models in runs, some by today's standards aren't all that well detailed or even scale width hoods, but they were there, and fully supported with spare/replacement parts. You can still buy them, if you know where to look. Athearn still in my opinion supports their product line as best they can, but it ALL depends on their overseas sources. We had a bunch of cottage industries that made all kinds of detail (some not so detailed) parts for about anything you were willing to try, these are disappearing at an alarming rate as well.

    I really dont care to go to a club where at least 5-6 road numbers of the same loco are in operation. I mean how many of the same number can you have before you change one, we have folks in the hobby now that dont know how to change a number on a model locomotive. But they can tell you all about DCC.. And many don't care to even learn the basics of what I consider modeling skills. Or "if it isn't ready to go, I am not interested".
    I ain't "a scared" to take a file, saw, dremel, lathe, mill, hammer or rifle, to about anything, in fact, I learn everyday about this great hobby overcoming my mistakes.

    Our hobby is in a state of retreat of sorts. yet advancing electronically. Years from now, maybe my great great Nephews (and Nieces) will be going thru a few boxes of my MRR junk, by then all the steps and a few ladders are gone, maybe one will look at it, see a oily finger print of mine and say, wow this is "kinda cool, look at all the stuff they used to do"..
    By then of course there are very little models, no parts, very little track, yep, almost like it was 40-50 years ago now. I hope we can get some sand under our wheels soon.
    FriscoCharlie likes this.
  16. geep07

    geep07 Member

    I went to a train show here locally on Saturday. I always attend this show, they have 2 a year. I keep noticing the attendance is shrinking and the age bracket attending these shows, there is hardly a person under 50 yrs. of age. The hobby gurus say our hobby is going strong! Maybe so, but not around here in my neck of the woods. However, there seems to be a lot of layout owners around here who have huge layouts as well as medium size and small, and there are only 2 hobby shops and there are interstate miles apart . Must be Internet sales.

    Our hobby is not cheap. I don't need to call out price samples as we are very aware of what they are.

    The younger generation want instant gratification for a hobby. They want to manipulate something in their hands that involve quick thinking and the results have to be instantaneous. Whereas our hobby takes time and personal effort. If you go to a big box electronic or phone store, there you will see a influx of the younger generation, not in a hobby shop!

    My gratification is being here among the Frisco folks and all other model railroaders that we can share our famous experience in this hobby.

    gjslsffan and Ozarktraveler like this.
  17. tmfrisco

    tmfrisco Member Supporter

    On a related note: I just went to the Wholesale Trains (Lantz Hobby Shop) website only to learn they have also apparently closed as of Sept. 9th. They are not accepting any orders and will have local pickup by appointment only.
  18. Ozarktraveler

    Ozarktraveler Member

    Just spent a few days visiting our daughter in Cincinnati. While there we visited a hobby shop that catered to many hobbies. A group of college age guys were checking out the train section, which was reasonably stocked. One was definitely a rail fan trying to sell his friends on the hobby. Things were going well until they saw the first locomotive MSRP over $300, "but it's marked down" they replied. "Yeah, to $279"...

    With college tuitions/student loans what they are, it can be a tough sell. There is hope, after all, we made it. Though we may have to go to cottage industry style manufacturing ourselves with 3d printing, and more ingenuity to design and mold things ourselves among diehard fans. Involve your kids, grandkids and the neighbor's kids if you can. Here's hoping. We need more neighbor-liness these days, anyway. There are some great examples of such folks on this forum. You know who you are.
    FriscoCharlie and gjslsffan like this.
  19. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Had a heartwarming event at our estate sale last Saturday/Sunday. Didn't sell much train stuff on Saturday - I had forgotten the Boeing model RR meet was also on Saturday at Queeny Park. Everybody was out there! I figured Sunday would be better.
    Sunday was better - lots of interest in my railroad stuff. Several Frisco vets were there - I made them aware of if they didn't already know about us. Shortly after noon, I had sold maybe half of my stuff - nice, but I was worried I would still have a pile left over to move out, and we only have two weeks to go before the truck shows up here. The rest of the estate sale was booming.

    About 1:30 an elderly gentleman shows up at my "railroad corner" in the basement. We got to talking about what a wonderful hobby model railroading is. He tells me a bit about himself - he is 78, his wife passed away three years ago, and he is looking for something interesting to do with his time. He likes trains. He said he has just recovered from a bout with cancer, but he doesn't know how much time he has left. He said his 42 year-old son is a model railroader, and really enjoys building the kits. His idea is to spend as much time as he has left with his son doing model railroading activities together. I was quite touched, and said I'd be glad to help him, and what would he like to look at first of the stuff I had on the shelves. He said let's start alphabetically with Athearn, and go through it brand by brand as it is his intention to buy all that I had there. Wow! - took my breath away! About an hour later, that's what we had done. He had about a dozen boxes full of locomotives, freight cars, structures, etc and about a dozen model aircraft. And, I had well over a thousand dollars in cash. Wow, what a hobby!

    By the way, two of the three Dedek framed prints are still here, SLSF 5000 and SLSF 2006. One sold, the MKT 101-A E7 Texas Special locomotive.

    FriscoCharlie, Ozarktraveler and Karl like this.
  20. Ozarktraveler

    Ozarktraveler Member

    That's wonderful, Ken.

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