|The odd couple.|
|He shouldn't have tried the chili.|
In an Oct. 1, 1989 article, Register reporter Dean Takahashi described the DeArmond family enterprise as "perhaps Orange County's oldest living example of cluster retailing: putting retailers of the same or similar goods together to multiply their marketing power and attract customers who know what kind of item they want to buy or want to compare prices. ...On their own, Hobby City's stores -- such as Ansdell Piano, The Aquarium, The Bear Tree, Rocks & Gems, Stamp and Coin, Century Models, and Me and JJ's Miniatures -- would be outside the shopping limelight. But clustered together, they have become a destination for tourists and hard-core hobbyists."
|All three tikis were lightly painted at some point -- Clearly not an original feature.|
In 1999, a young man named Kevin Dunn opened Radical Reptiles in the old Treasure Cove building. He was only 19 when Bea DeArmond first talked to him about opening a reptile store and nature museum for children at Hobby City. The shop moved out in the mid-2000s, when it seemed Hobby City was destined to be bulldozed to make way for yet another damned condo complex. But the housing market tanked, so while Radical Reptiles (and other shops) are now missing, there are still no condos and Hobby City carries on. (See my earlier posts: 1 and 2)
|The Radical Reptiles facade in 2006, with tikis barely visible on the left.|
Again, if you know where these tikis ended up, or if you have other interesting information or contacts re Hobby City's history, please send me a note.