Author Topic: Another one bites the dust....LHS  (Read 931 times)

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dougnelson

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Another one bites the dust....LHS
« on: January 10, 2014, 01:22:12 PM »
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Like a river, life will go on, but it will have to be without another local hobby shop - Franciscan Hobbies in San Francisco, closing after 68 years.  Franciscan was one of those traditional, old-fashion hobby shops: trains; RC airplanes, helicopters, and boats; plastic models; books; magazines; and all the supplies a hobbyist could ever need.  Located on Ocean Avenue and one of San Francisco's street car lines, the store also had a regular clientele of MUNI and transit fans.  Service was friendly and they were always happy to order anything they did not have in stock. 

For me it was a regular stop passing through the city.  I relied on them for magazines, paint, glue, styrene, and other supplies.  I am probably guilty of sometimes buying big ticket items elsewhere, based on price.  They did not embrace e-commerce and the clientele has grayed.  Kids used to swarm the store and they had to limit the number of students when school let out.  That has not been the case in recent years for obvious reasons.  Tourists also used to flock to the store when visiting and bring their fat wallets.  E-commerce seems to have stemmed that trend.

The store was started in 1946 by John Gunther, a returning GI after WWII, and is now run by his son John.  A family business to the end.  It has been described as a clubhouse, a man cave, and a bar without booze.  We now have the ability to shop the world at our fingertips, and we even have community in places like Railwire, but it is still sad to let go of the places of our past.  RIP Franciscan Hobbies.

Doug Nelson 


C855B

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Re: Another one bites the dust....LHS
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2014, 01:37:58 PM »
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Oh, how sad. Haven't been there in a gazillion years, but only due to geography.

I have a personal connection, albeit decades ago - they were the only shop that carried the regional railfan newsletter "Everywhere West". That's where my black and orange avatar came from. I published this newsletter for several years after taking it over from EW's founder, who lived in The City. Franciscan was always good for 10 copies every month.

[sigh] Another good friend passes, so to speak.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

sirenwerks

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Re: Another one bites the dust....LHS
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 04:02:58 PM »
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I met Bill (who I think is the John you refer to as the founder) last time I was there.  Helluva nice guy.
Now seeking Pacific NW N scalers to create a Modutrak-style modular club featuring NP's shared mainline between Seattle and Portland. PM me if interested.

JMaurer1

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Re: Another one bites the dust....LHS
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2014, 04:15:46 PM »
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Every time I went to SF, I would stop in there. That they had been around for so long, you never knew what you might find in a back corner. Sadly, I just haven't been around SF for quite some time. There's still the Train Shop in Santa Clara, but that's just about it in the SF Bay area now. They will be missed...
Sacramento Valley NTrak

chicken45

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Re: Another one bites the dust....LHS
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2014, 04:18:50 PM »
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I did a local tour when I was in the area some years ago.
I enjoyed Franciscan Hobbies.
I'm happy to say I bought some stuff there.
The Train Shop in Santa Clara is a pretty amazing place.
Josh "John" Surkosky
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sdodge

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Re: Another one bites the dust....LHS
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2014, 06:25:29 PM »
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I, too, used to go there years ago and the last HO loco I still own is an old Athearn GP9 WH dummy custom painted Cotton Belt Black Widow by Franciscan Hobbies. I will treasure this even more now until an opportunity to sell it comes along.  :D

Wutter

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Re: Another one bites the dust....LHS
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2014, 06:37:06 PM »
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I remember when got my very first locomotive there, a Kato BN SD40-2 nearly 7 years ago. Definitely will be missed for some of their more unique items they had.
Alvin
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https://www.shapeways.com/shops/wuttervehicles