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.


“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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