February 13, 2019 9:36 pm

‘It’s the end of an era’: Long-standing Kingston hobby store switches to online

"Leading Edge Hobbies" opened 25-years ago, are selling everything from scale-models to paint and glue. But the owners say the business model for hobby supplies and kits has changed dramatically, with more shoppers going online.

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“It’s the end of an era”, says Tony Daicar, co-owner of Leading Edge Hobbies in Kingston, Ont.

Brothers Tony and Mike Daicar started their business as youthful 20-somethings in 1994.

Now, this coming summer, they’ll be closing their doors for good.

“It used to be when we first opened, there were a lot of kits and you build everything”, said Mike. “With an airplane you buy a box of wood and you’d have to put all that together, and it would take 40 to 50 hours — a winter project.”

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With the help of their parents, especially their father, the brothers’ business grew in 2007 when they moved to the current 6,000-square-foot store from their original 1,200-square-foot space across the street on Gardiners Road.

That’s when the hobby industry took off in a different direction with the introduction of ‘ready to run’ model cars and planes.

“There are still a lot of costumers who enjoy the building. But there are a lot people that want to be able start flying or running their cars immediately,” Mike said.

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The brothers’ decision came after recognizing the changes in the hobby retail model, happening worldwide.

“The whole market has changed for retail stores. A lot of people buying online”, says Mike Daicar.

And that’s exactly where Tony and Mike Daicar are heading — an online version of the retail experience. But it’s bittersweet, they said, as they will lose the face-to-face interaction with their costumers.

“There’s many, many friendships that my brother and I have made here that will continue long after we’ve closed the doors”, Mike said, “and that has been really important to us.”

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A closeout sale will continue until June 30th, when this landmark fixture in the community switches its business plan to remain successful.

 

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