TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

A.B. Charles Hobby Shop moves to Peters in search of higher profit, lower taxes

Sunday, March 24, 2013, 11:15 p.m.
 

They're all gone — the rooms filled with classic cars and hot rods, enough trains to run a short-line railroad, miniature war machines and whizzing slot-car tracks.

After 68 years in Dormont and Mt. Lebanon, staff at A.B. Charles Hobby Shop spent the past week emptying a big red barn full of models, magazines and parts, moving the store to a smaller space in Peters, where owner Scott Charles hopes he'll find lower taxes and an affluent clientele.

“It's the Cranberry of the South Hills,” Charles said. “Canonsburg has more Mercedeses than Mt. Lebanon now.”

Unlike the business's move from Dormont to Mt. Lebanon in 2007, Charles did not anticipate much down time for the business.

Instead of going to a storage unit until finding a space, he moved inventory from the old shop to the new one near Donaldson's Crossroads shopping center. He hopes to open in April.

The “barn,” once the home of Rollier's Hardware, was larger than the Peters shop but had lots of “lost space” in its corridors, separate rooms and storage areas, Charles said.

The new location will have the same variety of goods, including model cars, trains, building toys, airplanes, model-making and painting supplies and scrapbooking materials. The only casualty will be the shop's basement room of slot-car racing tracks, which hosted the Pittsburgh Slotcar Racing League's weekly meets.

“Everybody at the league is a little upset about the move from A.B. Charles, since they've been a South Hills institution since 1945,” said founder John Williams, 42, of Brookline. “My grandfather would take me or my dad would take me there.”

The league bought two of the store's tracks and is relocating them to Legions Hobbies & Games in Ross, Williams said.

Other members of the slot-car circuit, such as John Bamonte of the Western Pennsylvania Slot Car Club, are sad to see the tracks go but glad the business survived.

“I would occasionally shop there for modeling supplies, paint, some train stuff there,” said Bamonte, 54, of Pine. “They were a well-known, venerable shop. ... I'm glad they're staying alive.”

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. With Pittsburgh charges, feds target Uganda-based counterfeiting ring
  2. $500K grant to fund bike sharing comes through for Pittsburgh
  3. Strip District merchants say pay stations will drive out shoopers relying on free spots
  4. Motivation in slaying of Penn Hills couple remains unclear
  5. Tax exemptions cost Allegheny County governments $620M, auditor general reports
  6. Newsmaker: Gregory Reed
  7. Pittsburgh Public Schools adopts no-tax-increase budget for 2015
  8. Suspected burglar fatally shot outside North Braddock house
  9. Lawyer quits Scaife case over possible conflict as PNC defends distributions
  10. Investors eager to trade cash for green cards in immigration program
  11. Questions raised about lawyer in dispute over Scaife estate
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.