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Hobby Shops in Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE?


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It depends on exactly where you will be in Philly (sorry, I don't know about the Wilmington scene). It's a big area and some shops are a little more out of the way.

If you're heading up to Philly from Wilmington, you could probably stop in at Nicholas Smith's Toys and Hobbies. The have a nice selection of car kits, paint, a few Gofer decals & such. They also carry LOTS of slot cars, some diecasts, and the whole top floor is trains- LOTS of trains. They have some nice sci-fi and military kits. They stock Evergreen plastic. I think it's the best LHS in or near Philly (in PA) at this point (I can't speak for AAA, I have never been there- but I'll have to make a trip!). They have a few slightly older kits on the shelves, and most of the new releases. Definitely worth a stop.

http://www.nicholassmithtrains.com/store/go/about-us/

Due to Covid-19, I think their hours are actually 12-5 every day except for Sunday (closed). They're about 2 minutes off of I-476. 476 is the route you would take from 95 (the ramp to I-476 from 95 is about equidistant from Wilmington to the Philly Airport) up to the western and northern suburbs of Philly (like Delaware County, Villanova, Conshohocken, King of Prussia, etc.).

Off the beaten path a bit is Modellbahn Ott in Boyertown, PA. That might be a bit out of your way (about an hour west of Philly), but it's another good shop if you happen to be near there. 

http://modellbahnott.com/ 

Capelli Hobbies is still coming up on searches. If you're right downtown, they're on Walnut Street down by the (eastern) Delaware river end (311 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106). I have not been in that store in about 25 years, so I can't say if it would be any good now. Years ago, I do remember a good selection of model cars, a lot of Foreign kits, and it being pricy. They used to have some car aftermarket stuff stashed in some drawers on the counter side of the store, but that was a LONG time ago. They also had trains, military, figures, other tings. It might be worth a peek if you're right downtown in Old City (it's not far from the Ben Franklin & Betsy Ross Houses, Independence Hall, Constitution Center), but if you're not, then you might not want to make a special trip there, expect parking to be a hassle, etc. I'd be curious to see what that store is like now, because I have no idea about this one anymore.   

I hear AAA Hobbies is great, but I have never been there. Depending on where you are (downtown or near the Delaware), it might not be too hard to take one of the bridges (Ben Franklin or Walt Whitman) into NJ and check out AAA.

 

Edited by CapSat 6
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Thanks for the recommendations. The Philly part will be in Center City near the Convention Center. My schedule should be pretty flexible. I'll check out as many as I can.

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5 minutes ago, SSNJim said:

Thanks for the recommendations. The Philly part will be in Center City near the Convention Center. My schedule should be pretty flexible. I'll check out as many as I can.

No problem! If you're down by the Convention Center, you can walk about 9 blocks down (the numbered streets) and 2 blocks over (to get to Market Street) to get to Capelli's. Like I said before, though- I have NO IDEA what that shop is like now.

If you have time, that walk takes you to Olde City- there are a lot of things to see in that general area. I hear that the Constitution Center is really good to see. The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are not far from there. Penn's Landing is really nice. There are about a million places to get something good to eat (Philly is a GREAT spot for food!). Right across from the Convention center is Reading Terminal Market- you can get really, really good eats there. Don't waste your time with the convention center food- just take a walk over to the 'Market. I really hope you enjoy the visit to my home town!      

Also- due to the Covid-19 situation, it might be best to call ahead to any stores you want to go to and see what their hours might be now. It seems a lot of retail stores have cut their hours lately.    

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  • 2 weeks later...

I didn't make it to many of the shops; I didn't have that much spare time to get to Philadelphia. I did find a shop in Wilmington that I forgot about - Simpson's Hobbies Shop at 709 Foulk Rd. Definitely an old school hobby shop with an RC emphasis, but a good selection of old and new kits - better than the LHS near me.

I did drive by Capelli's. The windows still had Capelli's on them, but the sign overhead was something else and there were mannequins in the windows. Looking at it now, I think maybe I got confused. It looks like the left is Capelli's, the right is Charlie's. The picture is a screen grab from Google Street View.

Capellis.jpg.a0aa330aea2a88f10d7f62566537e1fd.jpg

 

I didn't make it to the others - I was travelling on Sunday, and didn't have much time. I will check out Capelli's and some of the others on my next trip up. I will be going up periodically with less urgency to the trip.

Thanks, Tom and Bill, for you recommendations.

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6 hours ago, SSNJim said:

I didn't make it to many of the shops; I didn't have that much spare time to get to Philadelphia. I did find a shop in Wilmington that I forgot about - Simpson's Hobbies Shop at 709 Foulk Rd. Definitely an old school hobby shop with an RC emphasis, but a good selection of old and new kits - better than the LHS near me.

I did drive by Capelli's. The windows still had Capelli's on them, but the sign overhead was something else and there were mannequins in the windows. Looking at it now, I think maybe I got confused. It looks like the left is Capelli's, the right is Charlie's. The picture is a screen grab from Google Street View.

Capellis.jpg.a0aa330aea2a88f10d7f62566537e1fd.jpg

 

I didn't make it to the others - I was travelling on Sunday, and didn't have much time. I will check out Capelli's and some of the others on my next trip up. I will be going up periodically with less urgency to the trip.

Thanks, Tom and Bill, for you recommendations.

Glad you were able to find a few. Yes, that looks like Capelli’s- you enter the door to the left. The store goes WAAY back. I might have to get down there and check it out myself at some point. 
 

I seem to remember Simpson’s. I might have been there once in the 90’s. The only store I remember in Northern DE was Mitchell’s, which was a great store but I think they closed nearly 15 years ago. 

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  • 8 months later...

I was back in Philly yesterday, and managed to stop by Capelli's. The doors were locked when I visited at 2:30 Friday afternoon. No signs on the door or anything; it could be they're on spring break. Maybe next time.

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8 hours ago, SSNJim said:

I was back in Philly yesterday, and managed to stop by Capelli's. The doors were locked when I visited at 2:30 Friday afternoon. No signs on the door or anything; it could be they're on spring break. Maybe next time.

I didn't see this before, there is a place in Wilmington called Simpson's hobbies. The carry a fair amount of kits but a lot less them they did years ago, I was there right before Christmas for the first time in a long time as I'm about an hour away now and used to live a lot closer but if you want to check them out they are at 709 Foulk Rd, Wilmington, DE 19803 and are a small mom and pop shop. I saw after I added this that you find them, it's the only one in DE that I know of.

Edited by SCRWDRVR
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I did make it to Simpson's in August. It's just down the road from where I was working at Foulk and Grubb. I always had a hard time finding them open. I was pleased when I did. Very nice shop - they had a pretty good selection of model cars.

Here's what I found in DE after a Google search. I'm going to check out the ones near I-95 on my trips to Philly, some of the others on my scooter. The only two I've been to is the first and the last, both of which I enjoyed quite a bit. It's been a few years since I was at Hobby Stop, but they had a good selection too. 

Simpson's Hobbies Inc    709 Foulk Rd, Wilmington, DE 19803
Trains, Toys & Hobbies    2505B Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, DE 19703
HobbyTown Dover    96 Salt Creek Dr Unit 1, Dover, DE 19901
First State Hobbies    600 Peoples Plaza, Newark, DE 19702
F&N Hobbies    1398 Blackbird Forest Rd #1214, Clayton, DE 19938
SeaSide Hobbies    15 Daisey Ave, Ocean View, DE 19970
Aeromarine Laminates Inc / Hobby Stop    22762 Sussex Hwy, Seaford, DE 19973

There used to be a HobbyTown in Milford, I believe. I would pass it on my way to the beach areas in DE but I haven't been that way in several years. It's not on the HobbyTown site.

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I have been wanting to stop in the hobby town  but keep thinking it will be like a lot of the chains and focus on the RC cars, I’ve seen the one in Seaford have never had a chance to stop in. There are a few there I have never heard of but honestly when I lived outside of Wilmington I just always went to Simpsons

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