For radio controlled airplane hobbyist Jack Turner, opening up a hobby shop came as a necessity in 1989.
At the time, Prince Albert’s only hobby shop closed and he was left without a place to purchase airplane parts.
With some extra cash lying around, he opened up a shop on acreage outside the city, and local hobbyists followed the “if you build it they will come” motif.
In 1996, he retired from SaskTel and bought a corner building at 300 13th St. W., opening up the second incarnation of J&P Hobbies in a move that also proved to be the opening of a can of worms.
“It was supposed to be a two to three-day job, and it grew from that into, basically, seven days a week,” he said with a goodhearted laugh. “Now, we’ve cut down our week Tuesday to Saturday because we want some days off.”
The perpetually semi-retired shopkeeper has one of only three devoted hobby shops in the province -- one in each of Saskatchewan’s biggest cities.
To Turner’s benefit, the shop in Saskatoon has started focusing more on remote controlled cars and airplanes, pushing train and plastic model hobbyists to his shop.
I get a van run about once a month from Saskatoon where there’s about six to eight guys that jump into a van and come up here to buy plastic models and stuff. - J&P Hobbies owner Jack Turner
“I get a van run about once a month from Saskatoon where there’s about six to eight guys that jump into a van and come up here to buy plastic models and stuff,” he said.
Other hobbyists come from Tisdale, Melfort, The Pas and even as far away as Uranium City to wade through the heavily stocked store with items stacked to the ceiling.
Hobbies covered include model builders, remote controlled cars, airplanes and helicopters, model trains, Warhammer and various other things.
With so many hobbyists dependent on his store, Turner’s toying with the idea of retiring for the past five years has raised alarm bells.
“I don’t want to close it,” he said, adding that his plan is to sell the business to someone with an interest in keeping it as a hobby shop.
“It is important to lots of people, and lots of people are concerned that I will close.”
Pausing for a few seconds, he added with a laugh, “If you want to buy it I’ll give you a really good deal!”