Travis Lovestedt, the new owner of Broadway Hobbies, inside his shop on Sept. 26, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Travis Lovestedt, the new owner of Broadway Hobbies, inside his shop on Sept. 26, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

In business since the ’70s, Everett hobby shop gets new owner

Broadway Hobbies’ new owner bought the store “out of the blue” and discovered “it’s tons of fun.”

EVERETT — House or hobby shop? Hobby shop or house?

It was one or the other for Travis Lovestedt, a Marysville real estate agent.

He went with Broadway Hobbies, a longstanding Everett business, that sells model trains, planes, boats and cars.

Lovestedt was the listing agent for the business when it hit the market.

Then it hit him: “Why don’t I just buy the business?” Lovestedt said.

Why not? Why not indeed.

The books looked good. The store was profitable. Sales of remote control cars and other hobby items accelerated during the pandemic.

“The house can wait,” said Lovestedt, 31, who got the keys to the store on Sept. 9.

Customers get helped at the counter inside Broadway Hobbies on Sept. 26, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Customers get helped at the counter inside Broadway Hobbies on Sept. 26, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

You kind of figure someone of Lovestedt’s age would be into Xbox, PlayStation or video games. But growing up in Everett, he and his dad built model car kits and raced remote control cars. Out-of-the-box models typically zip along at 30 miles per hour. Souped-up versions can hit 70 to 100 mph, Lovestedt said.

“I never thought I’d buy a hobby shop, but it’s tons of fun and I love it,” Lovestedt said.

“He was the right buyer,” said Lou DeBenny, the store’s former owner and a longtime friend of Lovestedt’s father.

“I’ve known Travis since he was a little kid,” said DeBenny, who bought the business in 2003.

Model airplanes hang from the ceiling of Broadway Hobbies on Sept. 26, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Model airplanes hang from the ceiling of Broadway Hobbies on Sept. 26, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A month into his purchase, Lovestedt has only just begun to uncover the secrets of the store’s three-story inventory.

Broadway Hobbies at 2531 Broadway has been in business under one name or the other since the 1970s. The structure, a former dairy, dates to 1929.

In the basement, Lovestedt found vintage Lionel Train and slot car sets. He’s sure there’s more hiding in the network of shelves.

The ground floor brims with remote control dune buggies, monster trucks and low-riders in DayGlo greens, blues and reds. (The battery-powered remotes are a $2.5 billion global industry.)

Model railroad fans can pick up an engine or a bubble pack of tiny N-scale farmers, trees, dogs and cows (barely a half-inch tall) to people their dioramas.

Model airplane and car kits run the gamut from a Hawker MK-1 Hurricane to a 1977 Ford Pintos (add your own flames). There’s the odd item or two on the shelves, such as a motorized bridge and turnpike set from the 1960s and a snap-together “Soviet Soldiers at Rest” kit.

Rare Hot Wheels for sale at Broadway Hobbies on Sept. 26, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Rare Hot Wheels for sale at Broadway Hobbies on Sept. 26, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Lovestedt plans to launch an online store to beef up sales, maybe install a coffee bar on the second floor, which houses model railroad layouts and logging-scapes. Tiny trains wind through tiny towns. The skid road scene — a wooden track whose slats were greased with bacon drippings to keep the logs on a roll — could be the outskirts of Everett, circa 1893!

“He’s really trying to make improvements,” said Ox Jones, who has worked at the hobby store for six years and runs the radio-controlled repair station. Jones is one of two store employees.

Most customers are age 35 and up.

“You get some grandfathers and dads who bring in their kids,” Lovestedt said. But younger customers are finding their way to the store. He hopes to entice more. From his office on the first floor, he continues to work as a real estate agent and mobile notary.

Lovestedt’s 6-year-old son loves the store.

Carey Hall, of Marysville, discovered Broadway Hobbies two or three years ago.

One of two train rooms available for use at Broadway Hobbies on Sept. 26, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

One of two train rooms available for use at Broadway Hobbies on Sept. 26, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

“I got interested in remote control cars and decided to stop in. I met Ox here and he steered me in the right direction,” said Hall, who has since added boats and planes to his stable.

The hobby’s allure includes the camaraderie of fellow RC buffs and the chance to get outdoors and drive, float or fly his cars, boats and planes.

Adding to his collection — he’s got a room dedicated to his hobby at home — is a temptation.

“Today I brought in something to be repaired, and I’ll probably walk out with something I really don’t need,” Hall said with a laugh.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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