Come out and play; Rochester man opens hobby store in downtown Austin
Published 5:18 am Thursday, November 27, 2014
On Monday at Everything Hobby, owner Kevin Guy flew a remote-controlled quadcopter, manager Jim Perrin drove a remote-controlled Traxxas truck around the store and then — since temperatures were below freezing — the two played YouTube videos demonstrating the remote-controlled boats the business sells.
Since opening at 107 Fourth Ave. NE. last Tuesday, Perrin and Guy are looking for people to come down to play and learn about the various products sold at Austin’s newest hobby shop.
“I want that interaction,” Guy said. “I want to meet the people. I want to play with the people.”
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Guy wants people to know this isn’t an old-fashioned hobby shop. While he wants Everything Hobby to look old fashioned on the outside, the products are certainly modern and up to date.
“We’re trying to be the old school on the outside, but that new school on the inside,” Guy said.
Guy said hobby stores have certainly changed in the last 10 to 15 years. Before, Guy said much of the business focused on selling remote-controlled vehicles to customers for them to build.
While Guy still sells models, most of the remote-controlled products come put together and ready to use.
Now, the focus is more on repairs rather than construction.
However, Guy still sees plenty of room for learning. His motto for his hobby shops is “engineering the future,” as he aims for his products to help teach engineering and other skills.
But Guy already has a new catchphrase for his Austin store: “How did Spam get in the can?”
“How do some of these things happen? Who invented those machines?” Guy asked.
Guy is promoting a sense of curiosity and learning through the modeling and products at the store.
He envisions eventually buying a 3D printer for the store — potentially with the help of grants — which could be used for projects and learning with area youngsters.
Guy sells quadcopters starting at around $40, but they range well over $100. He also sells Traxxas remote-controlled trucks and cars, along with remote-controlled boats and planes. Everything Hobby also features model trains, along with kits, modeling materials and more for people to start on model train kits.
Guy has talked about making his business into something more of a community center where people can come, try out his products and learn how they work. Now that the main level is stocked and open, Guy is shifting his focus to renovating the basement into a space where he can have interactive displays.
Interaction and demonstrations are a key part of the business — and it’s something Guy said he and Perrin can give that online resources can’t.
Guy said he wants to coach people on how to use products and how to repair them.
“You probably have never experienced a place like this,” Guy said.
Before becoming the “Hobby Guy,” as his hat reads, Guy had been a truck driver, delivering Kemps products for several years, before his daughter, Kelly Tointon, went into the Navy. He opened a track for remote-controlled cars called Southside Speedway in 1992 on Marion Road in Rochester.
When he and his wife became empty nesters, they decided to start something new, opening Everything Hobby at 1306 Seventh St. NW No. 1 in Rochester in 2005.
Perrin recently retired after 34 years with Austin Utilities. His wife, Joan, works with Kevin Guy’s daughter, Kelly, at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Already the two joked they have a lot in common: They both have one daughter and they both drive black Chevy pickups.
“We’re kind of brothers from different mothers,” Guy joked.
Everything Hobby’s grand opening all day Friday and then in conjunction with Christmas in the City, which will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Along with several demonstrations, Guy plans to set up a 5-by-7-foot Painting By Numbers picture for people to help paint.
Guy will also be at the Austin Bruins game on Wednesday flying one of his quadcopters.
Guy has been seeking input from Austin shoppers about what they want to see in the store. Already, the Austin Area Commission for the Arts requested that they sell paints and painting supplies.
Thus far, Guy has heard nothing but good things. He said he’s received positive reviews from the public, as people tell him Austin needs a shop like Everything Hobby.
“Here’s what they all say: ‘You’re going to do really well,’” Guy said.
The store is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.