Tulare County’s newest hobbies store is not just a place to buy remote-control cars;
it’s a place to play with them.
Besides having cars ranging from $100 to several
thousand dollars, Exeter Hobbies also features a small indoor track where customers are invited to test out cars or even bring
their own just to play, said owner Mark Hull.
“We have all ages who come out to play,” he said.
The hobbies portion of the business grew out
of Hull’s main bread and butter, TGN Distributing. He started that business 12 years ago and now it ships remote-control
car parts internationally.
small retail store became a possibility when the business moved from Visalia to a brick building on Maple Street in Exeter.
Hull said he didn’t have as much room in Visalia for retail and also didn’t want to compete with the Visalia Hobbies
two months ago, Hull started carrying RC cars as well as some planes and helicopters and more simple toys such as puzzles
getting to carry all the stuff I’d want to buy if I had a kid,” Hull said.
He also sells parts for all the remote-control vehicles
he carries and has a service department.
that’s not the end of it. Hull is going to use ano-ther room to create Tulare
County’s only public dirt
track for remote-control racing. He said it’s been
15 years since such a venue existed in the county.
“It really should be
a good thing for our community. We’ll do parties and you’ll be able to rent cars if you aren’t ready to
drop a few hundred dollars on buying a car,” he said.
The plan is to create a membership for those who want to
use the track on a regular basis, one-time fees for occasional visitors and then have special race days where those who want
to race can pay an entry fee, Hull said.
the success his business has experienced in years when other companies have faced downsizing, Hull said he has a few theories.
One is that people are spending more time at home and are looking for family-friendly
entertainment that is more long-term
than trips and won’t break the bank.
is the popularity of these toys in countries in Europe and Asia where he ships parts. And the last is that people who had
previously bought remote-control cars continue to maintain them and buy parts, which is less expensive than an initial purchase.
SPOTLIGHT On BUSINESS
» Name: Exeter Hobbies
» Address: 130 E. Maple St., Exeter
» Telephone: 592-4880
» Hours: 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday
Owners: Mark and Rose Hull
» Web address: www.exeterhobbies.com
“The fact is, this stuff makes a guy happy. No matter how low your income, it cheers
you up,” Hull said. “It’s a passion for people, so they find the money to purchase it.”