STANBRIDGE’S Hobby Shop is doing its last laps around the track.
The Mt Lawley store has been operating in various shopfronts for 70 years, and a steady stream of customers flowed through the doors today to say goodbye and peruse shelves of Scalextric cars, train sets and tools of the trade.
Owner Peter Dallimore said people had been visiting from all over Perth.
“There’s been lots of faces from the past,” he said.
“It’s been amazing, it’s spread like wildfire.”
Jack Stanbridge’s Hobby Shop opened its doors on November 14, 1948 in Victoria Park, before moving to Mt Lawley in the 1960s and the current premises in the early 1980s.
Mr Dallimore’s father – who used to visit the original Hobby Shop himself – took over in 1986, before handing over the reins to his son.
“As a kid, we had trains, we had Scalextrics, we had planes that we used to build, a steam engine, Meccano – I sort of grew up with it,” he said.
Mr Dallimore said the mining boom brought a hobby boom along with it, with business peaking around 2008.
“In the boom days we’d get 100 paying customers a day, and they’d spend 100 dollars each,” he said.
“We were the second biggest hobby shop in Australia, the other one was in Sydney.”
With the store now seeing around 30 paying customers a day, it was time for Mr Dallimore and wife Fiona to make a decision.
“I didn’t really want to commit to another five years of paying $60,000 rent per year,” he said.
“Someone with a bit more enthusiasm, a bit younger might say yep I can do this.”
The hobby shop owner said it was the nature of the world to keep changing.
“The world moves on, and I think the peak for hobbies has been unfortunately,” he said.
“I relate it to horse saddles, back in the 1920s there were lots of saddle makers. My grandfather used to make saddles. There wouldn’t be too many now.”
Mr Dallimore said the best part of the store has been watching people build things and get them working.
“It’s the kid who gets something that they’re going to make,” he said.
“We do a lot with schools throughout Australia, we do model rockets and things and I intend to keep that going.”
Stanbridge’s Hobby Shop will shut its bricks and mortar store on January 25, but will keep running online at stanbridges.com.au.