Friday, July 20, 2007

Chicago's Pilot Hobby shop at 5450 West Belmont Avenue. Going Out of Business. July 2007.

Pilot Hobby Shop, located at 5450 West Belmont Avenue on Chicago's northside, is officially going out of business. A neighborhood institution just east of Belmont and Central Avenues is closing after 50 something years in business. The stores building is up for sale, and the owners have decided to retire. Their final closing day will proboubly be at the end of July. Some remaining items are marked down, so hurry up and get in on those last minute deals while You can. Pilot Hobby Shop is one of Chicago's oldest hobby stores. They will be missed.

7 comments:

lapstrake said...

That's sad. I didn't know of this store, but I'm beginning to wonder, are there any hobby shops left??

Eddie said...

Good news buddy, there still are.
Some of the ones I shop at are
Al's Hobby Shop in Elmhurst Illinois, Chicagoland Hobby on Northwest Highway,Hobby City in Berwyn Illinois (Berwyn!!??)
Berwyn Toy Trains -Golden Spike Hobby Shop in Burbank Illinois, and Des Plaines Hobbies in Des Plaines Illinois.

It is good to know that everything hasn't gone mail order yet.

Thank You.
Eddie.

anthony c said...

Also: Bill's Englewood Station in Orland Park and Hands-to-Work Railroading (odd name) in Alsip.

Eddie said...

Hi Anthony!
Where are the ones You mentioned located at approximately? Cross streets? intersections? I would like to visit them. Also, I found out recently, that the Right Track Hobby Shop in Palos Heights Illinois went out of business recently.

Thank You.
Eddie.

anthony c said...

Hi Eddie. Bill's Englewood Station is on 147th St., literally just a few steps east of LaGrange Road on the north side of 147th. It's part of a strip mall.

Also part of a strip center is Hands-to-Work Railroading on 127th, about a quarter block or less west of Pulaski. This place even has limited Sunday hours, which is a big plus, except on days the Bears play. Seriously, the owners (brothers) are huge Bears fans and they let you know it very plainly on their website.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Bill's is also gone. Closed this spring I believe and will open an ebay store
in a few months.

The Observer said...

I went by Pilot on Friday night, May 17, 2008, and, to my shock, the store was almost completely empty and most of the display cases were gone. A sign in the window offered the remaining store fixtures for sale.
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A city building permit taped to the window states that a Polish hair-styling parlor will be opened there; it'll only be about the 200th "fryzjer" in the area.
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I remember having seen Pilot listed in model railroad magazines back into the 1940s. I think you can still see the "Pilot Paint And Varnish" painted on the brick wall outside. The original silver-on-black lettering at the tops of the front show windows seems to be covered by that ugly blue awning now.
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I'll miss Pilot; one less place to go and buy a sheet of K&S brass or a copy of RMC. It was one of the oldest places left at the Belmont/Central shopping intersection. Dayan's, a very interesting '40s-style small department store, has been similarly replaced by another generic "dollar store."
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It never entered my mind that part of our historians' responsibility would involve documenting the passing of hobby shops...
.
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--The Observer