Hobbyland a veritable fantasy land

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

ROME TOWNSHIP — Airplanes hang from the ceiling and car model kits stand neatly on shelves below.

Got a thing for remote controlled cars or bead necklaces or doll houses? Hobbyland in Rome Township can fix you up with just the right project.

The store has been in existence 50 years, first in Huntington, W.Va. and then at its Lawrence County location since 1983. Owner Mildred Slone got the store from her father in 1991.

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“It’s known as a hard-core hobby shop,” Slone said. “It’s mostly geared toward boys and men, but we do have something things for women.

We carry some school science projects, such as rock tumblers. We draw from a 150-mile radius.”

There is a train mounted on tracks from the ceiling. It is Slone’s favorite.

“We did an exhibit for a place in Huntington that in turn shipped it to Las Vegas,” she said. “We did a 10 by 16 exhibit that is in a museum in Matewan.”

Radio-controlled cars are stacked on countertops. It was the store’s supplies of cars and car parts that drew Jason Blair, of Athens, to visit Friday.He came once before and liked what he saw.

“I just saw it and thought I’d stop,” he said. “Mildred finds everything I need.”

In the wintertime, Slone said people tend to come in and ask for train supplies and plastic models— projects they can do indoors. In warmer weather, radio controlled cars and airplanes tend to advance in popularity.

What is it about the trains and the cars and the artwork that entice people? Slone said she thinks she knows why such hobbies are as popular now as they ever were.

“This is something physical. It’s not like a computer. This is something where you actually use your mind and your motor skills to make something,” she pointed out. “This is unlimited creativity.”