A.B. Charles Hobby Shop moves to Peters in search of higher profit, lower taxes
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police charge Allentown teen for beating, holding ex-girlfriend at gunpoint
- Early success in White House race a pleasant surprise for Carson
- Memorial Day service in National Cemetery of the Alleghenies still growing
- Kennywood fanatic, 82, rides Jack Rabbit 95 times in a row
- Neighbor arrested after McKeesport house fire, authorities say
- 4 dogs found dead in Beechview home; woman charged
- Mixed-income apartments in flourishing East Liberty applauded
- Thrill of the chase: Kennywood fanatic, 82, rides Jack Rabbit 95 times in a row
- Expert: Penn Hills loan could worsen stability
- Penn Hills police investigating suspected credit card abuse in school district
- 2 suspects sought in fatal Homestead shooting