HobbyTown in Cedar Rapids is closing

Stuart light tank model — Drew Bulman/Little Village

After six years selling everything from jigsaw puzzles to rockets and radio-controlled planes, HobbyTown in Cedar Rapids is going out of business.

In a news release, owners Niels and Musette Christensen cited the increasing cost of rent and inflation as reasons why they were closing.

The couple opened the store in December 2016, in the space at 3655 1st Ave SE in the Town & Country Shopping Center that had been home to another hobby store, Box-Kar. Like the hobby shop of the same name in Ankeny, the Cedar Rapids store is a franchise of the Nebraska-based HobbyTown, which has locations in 39 states. The two Iowa stores are separately owned.

The Christensens’ involvement in the hobbyist community began in the early 1990s with their interest in radio-controlled car racing. The store has featured a wide selection of hobby-grade radio-controlled vehicles, as well as lower-tech items like model kites. All of the store’s remaining merchandise will be on sale for up to 50 percent off, when it opens on Wednesday.

Wednesday will be the first day of a special two-day sale with extended store hours, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Thursday, the store will be open from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. After that HobbyTown will be open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, until all its merchandise is sold.

In a Facebook post on Monday, the Christensens said that when they opened the store six years ago, “we were overjoyed and scared to do it but we got it done.”

“Today when putting up the [going out of business] signs, things got really really tuff [sic] and emotional for us and still is, it’s like losing a part of us after all the time and dedication we have put into the store.”

After describing how difficult it was “seeing our dream dissipate one sign at a time,” the Christensens concluded the post: “To all of you that shopped at the store, we love you and appreciate every one of you.”