Hobby shop moving to Peters from Mt. Lebanon

  • By Rick Shrum March 20, 2013

Scott Charles owns a hobby store, not a real estate agency. But he has a keen understanding of “Location, Location, Location.”

He will be closing A.B. Charles Hobby Shop in Mt. Lebanon at 6 p.m. Saturday, when the business day ends. Then after a couple of weeks or so of moving merchandise and remodeling the new digs, Charles will open at his new location in Peters Township, where people and automobile traffic abound.

“The gist of the move is that area is now considered the Cranberry of the South Hills,” said Charles, 62, third-generation owner of the venerable shop he operates with his wife, Sue Ann, and son, Dustin.

“That is where the action is,” Charles continued. “There is a lot of activity. There are more people at Donaldson’s Crossroads than South Hills Village. I’m looking at this as a very positive move.”

That relocation will be from McFarland Road, near the end of Banksville Road, to the McDowell Shops off Route 19 (Washington Road). It will be down from Kmart, next to the Dollar Tree, in a space where Century Sports once existed.

The shop also will be closer to Charles’ home. He lives off Boyce Road in Upper St. Clair.

Local hobbyists probably realize this is not a new endeavor. A.B. Charles, Scott’s grandfather, opened the shop in 1945, near the end of World War II, It was on West Liberty Avenue – also Route 19 – in Dormont, where it endured for 61 years.

Scott moved his business to its current site, about a half-mile directly down the hill, in fall 2006.

The neatly stocked shelves inside feature numerous items including trains and related railroad items; radio-control cars, planes and helicopters; plastic kits; slot car racing paraphernalia; and the traditional models.

Charles, who has worked at this shop for 48 years, has seen numerous changes in the hobby industry and realizes more are ahead. “The Internet has changed many things,” he said, “But we’ve learned to adapt and will continue to adapt.”

Hours at the new store will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and, likely, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. All businesses in that strip mall must be open seven days a week, except major holidays, with the same Monday through Saturday times. Sunday hours, he said, are somewhat flexible.

Charles said that for the first time in 68 years, his shop will have a new phone number. He hasn’t gotten it yet, but it will be in the 724 area code. But he said the existing number (412-561-3068) can be dialed for one more year.

“We’re going crazy now, with the pending move and work at the new store,” Charles said. “But I still enjoy doing this.”

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a business reporter in 2012. Previously, he was a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won numerous awards, including a Golden Quill, an O-R staff Golden Quill award, and four other writing awards during his 40 plus years working for daily newspapers. A lifelong Pittsburgher, he is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.


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