HobbyTown USA in Lake in the Hills will close April 30.
The store, 200 Pyott Road, offers a multitude of family board and strategy games, knickknacks, art supplies, toys and puzzles, drones and remote control cars. The store also has an indoor race track where patrons race their remote control cars.
HobbyTown USA is owned by Betty Conley and managed by her two sons, Shawn and Tom Conley. All three reside in Huntley.
Shawn Conley said his mom “always loved hobbies.”
“Business has been really slow. It just died in the last year or two,” he said. “The younger generations just don’t seem to hobby.”
Shawn Conley said he suspects children and teens are more focused on video games and smartphones. He also believes online retailers skimmed off some business over the years.
“It’s easier to get stuff online,” he said. “But it’s cyclical. The guys who are into it get older, have kids and step away. There’s a younger generation that usually steps in. That younger generation didn’t step in.”
He suspects that as households have two parents working to make ends meet, there’s less time to teach kids about board games, complex puzzles, plastic modeling and rockets.
Shawn Conley said he’s sad about the closure, partly because he’s developed friendships with customers and fears younger generations won’t experience the joys of completing complex puzzles and building RC cars.
“I’m devastated. It’s all I’ve done for the last 15 years,” he said. “People are losing their hobbies and their gathering point. Everyone seems upset. ... I’m going to miss the people. They’re like family.”
HobbyTown USA opened in August 2004 in Crystal Lake Plaza and moved to Lake in the Hills in October 2010.
To limit their losses, the family is offering discounts on products.
Retail priced items are 60% off, HobbyTown USA sale priced items will have an additional 20% taken off and select items are 75% off.
HobbyTown is a franchise with a handful of location throughout Illinois, including HobbyTown St. Charles in Kane County.