I am very happy to say that a model train store has finally opened in the Charleston area. While we have had a couple of chain craft and hobby stores available, they do not have staff who are really tuned in to the model railroader and neither do they seem very interested in developing the market. So this has been a veritable desert for model railroaders for about the last 8 to 10 years. But now that has changed. Train Town Toy & Hobby, the shop of Jim and Nancy Donlon, has moved to downtown Summerville. They used to be located in the Richmond, Virginia area, but thankfully for us they moved south about a month ago. David Geddings, my friend and co-worker, and I visited the store for the first time today, and we found it friendly and welcoming.
I talked for a short while with Jim Donlon, and he said one of the things he was surprised about when he moved here is that most folks seem to be into HO and N scale. It seems that he said in Richmond most of the folks he knew were into O. This is quite evidenced by the fact that the store is stocked primarily with Lionel. There are sections of HO, N, and G, but most of the space is dedicated to O. And I will tell you, he has some great items.
In addition to the model trains themselves there were also add-on items available such as books, videos, calendars and shirts. There was also a small selection of other toys for those poor misguided souls who might not be fully devoted to the train hobby.
While in the shop we heard a number of people come in and express their pleasure that a train store had opened in town. What a positive thing to hear. Some of these were moms with you children looking for Thomas The Tank Engine and such, but that is just fine. From those young train enthusiasts come the hobbyists of later years, and if the sale of toy trains can help support the availability of more serious model trains, that is just fine too.
I encourage you to stop by when in the area. The shop is at 128 W. Richardson Avenue, Summerville, SC 29483. The hours are currently 11 to 6 Wednesday through Friday, and 10 to 5 on Saturday. Jim said that the hours would be lengthened around holidays and other special occasions. Oh, and by the way, there is a parking garage right behind the store and, at least on the weekends, parking is free.
Note: I originally posted this on my model train blog over at Michael’s Trains, but I thought it might be of interest to a few others so I am cross posting it here. I do have some pictures of the stock and interior of the store over at the post on Michael’s Trains.