Special to The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: Hobbies and Beyond is the only store of its kind in the Kawartha Lakes. The independently family run business has operated for almost two years now. The location has sold hobbyist products for the last 31 years.
The owners, Charles McCusker and Cathy Cormier say they offer a wide range of products. From plastic models, repair parts, art supplies, and radio control vehicles to board games, darts, puzzles, and telescopes, there is something for the whole family.
“A family can come in here and everyone can leave with something they want to do,” Mr. McCusker said.
Whether it be crafts, puzzles, building a model car, or filling out a colouring book, no one should have to leave empty handed, according to Mr. McCusker.
The owners try to purchase as much of their inventory as they can from Canadian manufacturers. “We try and source as much as we can from Canada. But there’s not a lot of Canadian distributors anymore,” Charles shared.
Some of the Canadian manufacturers the owners do source their products from are Brown’s Finishing, PM Hansen, Valley Trading Company, Eurographics, RC Pro, and Heinz Jordan.
The reason the owners bought the Hobby Store is because it is what they are passionate about.
“I’ve been a hobbyist since I was six years old,” Mr. McCusker said. He enjoys building model vehicles, he says it very relaxing and rewarding once the project is complete.
A lot of people find hobby’s to be a de-stressor, according to the owners. “As one gentlemen puts it, he says I can sit down for a couple hours and the whole world goes away,” Mr. McCusker recounted.
He says, a few customers have benefited from taking up some of the hobbies they sell supplies for, in their store. One women, who suffers from tremors, was interested in purchasing an adult colouring book, but was worried she wouldn’t be able to stay inside the lines, according to Ms. Cormier. The women said, once she got a pencil crayon in her hand and concentrated on colouring the book, her tremors went away, Cathy related. “It gives her some confidence that she can do something creative, which is nice,” she said.
At the end of the day, the owners say Hobbies and Beyond is a way for kids and adults to exercise their minds.
“It’s just an outlet for creativity,” Ms. Cormier said. “That’s what it’s all about, creating and keeping your mind active”
The store has a hobbies club, where hobbyists in the community meet every third Thursday of the month.
Charles said, “We are trying to encourage everybody to come out and build, and enjoy hobbies.”
The owners say they are more than happy to talk about what their customer’s projects are, and how they can assist them in anyway.
“That is where they are superior to the internet,” Mr. McCusker said.
He says they aren’t just selling products, they are also helping their customers put together their products when needed.
“We are one of very few Hobby shops left, they are all just falling by the way-side.”
It is important for the community to support their locally owned, family run business, if they want to keep a hobby shop in the area.