Where’s a good place to buy stuff?

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good hobby shop anywhere in the Mountain View, California area, particularly for model railroading? I live two blocks from the San Antonio Hobby Shop, but I like it less each time I visit. First, what kind of hobby shop is closed on Sunday? Second, they have impressive square footage, but never seem to have what I’m looking for. Third, the attitude of the stuff leaves a lot to be desired. They always make me feel like I should go away and stop thinking about visiting their store (which is easy, because they’re usually closed when I think about it).

10 thoughts on “Where’s a good place to buy stuff?

  1. San Antonio Hobby has had that reputation amongst the local model car community for rather a while, and I agree that they don’t seem to make very effective use of their space for carrying things I want. (Although they do have a nice stash of vacuformed model aircraft, which I strongly suspect are left over from when they had a better reputation!)

    The other major competitor for them in the “large hobby shop” market around here is D&J Hobby in San Jose (just a few blocks off Saratoga, about midway between 280 and 85). There are also some smaller hobby shops around; I’m particularly partial to J&M Hobby House up in San Mateo, but they don’t do railroads. I’m pretty sure that there are also some model-railroad-specific shops around, but I haven’t been to any of them; they’d be listed in the phone book, though.

  2. Alexei,

    If my memory serves me right, there is a railroad model shop at Winchester and Pruneridge in San Jose (by Vally Fair shopping centre)

    I will drive by later today and see what it is called :)

  3. It is called… The Train Shop

    1829 Pruneridge Ave,
    Santa Clara, CA 95050
    (408) 296-1050

  4. I went into the San Antonio Hobby Shop with a broken transformer used in train sets. They told me I needed to buy a $95 replacement, so I did. A couple weeks later I find out a nickle fuse replacement will fix it, and fixed it.

    18 days after purchase, they refuse to take the new transformer back for refund or anything. I can talk to the owner, if I show up between 10 am and noon on monday. Maybe.

    What a bunch of jerks.


  5. San Antonio seems to only be interested in profit. Their prices on train books are ridiculous. A giuy named Cliff used to work there, he was reasonable, but now I consider it a toy store rather than a hobby shop.

  6. This is in resonse to Richard and
    his broken transformer. Now the rest of the story.Richard failed to say he brought the transformer in for a free check and he knew that The Hobby Shop did not repair
    them or had the ability to know what was wrong with it. It could be a bad engine, transformer or track Richard also failed to say
    that he used the transformer he bought at his kid’s birthday party the next day and then tried to return it when he no longer needed it At least he bought the part that didn’t work due to the free
    testing proved by San Antonio Hobby. Who is a jerk now?

  7. I have found it harder and and harder to find stuff at local hobby stores. Unless you live by a or in a big city you are pretty limited.

  8. Treasure Island Sports (www.tisinc99.com) is a pretty good store, and I believe they have a brick & mortar store in Anaheim (or somewhere) besides their online store and ebay sales. Some people have had problems with their ebay stuff, but I’ve ordered twice from their website with no problems. They also have very decent prices on most kits, as long as they’re not rare/collectible (then they severely ratchet up the $$$).

    Up here in the Bay Area, where I live, there aren’t too many options that I’m aware of. I think there’s a gunpla store in San Francisco’s Japantown, and there are a couple of dinky anime/model stores in Berkeley and El Cerrito. Expect to pay the collector’s tax in those places, though.

  9. The San Antonio Hobby Shop? Wow, that brings back memories! I was just a teenage back in the late ’70’s when I first went in that place. Very impressive! Sad to hear that they have let their customer service slide though.

Comments are closed.