Atlanta Hobby, a local hobby shop for those interested in RC vehicles, drones and other hobbies, has been in Forsyth County for nearly 20 years, but owner Cliff Whitney is hoping a recent move to a much more noticeable location will not only bring out enthusiasm for different hobbies but will get people interested in new ones.
The new location, located at the intersection of Oak Industrial Lane and Ronald Reagan Boulevard, recently opened after the business spent many years tucked away from public view on Parkway North Drive off Bethelview Road.
Owner Cliff Whitney said the new location should be more eye-catching for drivers.
“We figured with the traffic on Ronald Reagan, there’s 25,000 cars a day go by there, hopefully we can expand and continue to teach kids not only about aviation but regular building stuff instead of playing with their iPads all the time and not making anything,” Whitney said.
The business began in 2002 and focused on online sales and serving some local hobbyists, such as the Georgia Model Aviators, who flew out of a former facility on Old Federal Road.
“People have been coming in the building going, ‘Wow, where did you come from?’ and we’re like, ‘We’ve been here 20 years,’” Whitney said. “But we were focused on the mail order side of the business … there’s more traffic that goes by here in 30 seconds than went by our old shop in a year.”
While the store has always had in-person customers, Whitney said the business was a “destination tenant” for those that were already interested in their products, primarily drones and radio-controlled aircraft.
At the new location, those offerings have not only expanded to remote-controlled boats and vehicles – including some replicating popular vehicle models that can reach speeds of 60 MPH – but other hobbies that the business did not previously sell.
“Now you can get paint-by-numbers sets [and] all types of science kits. We’ve got solar stuff, so you can take solar cells and see how to run a battery and how that works. There’s weather kits, and there’s a whole section back there just based on science and experiments to try to get kids involved with what’s going on,” Whitney said.
In addition to all sorts of remote-controlled items that fly, drive or float, Atlanta Hobby also offers all sorts of materials to build or keep them going, like batteries, wiring and wheels and offers maintenance and repairs from in-house staff.
The store will also continue its flight training classes, which have brought out some big names, including National Geographic, FEMA and cable news sites like Fox News and CNN.
Though the new location has only been open a few weeks, Whitney said the store has received a “fantastic” response from the community, especially kids, which Whitney said was better than having them spending time playing on electronics and not making anything.
“Last Saturday, we were packed with people that we had never seen before,” Whitney said. “They all came and were hanging out, we could give them drone demos, take them outside and let them fly the thing. The kids were flying the simulator; we’ve got a big flat-screen simulator back there and just teaching them about stuff. One kid went crazy about a magic kit he found, and that was cool.”More information about Atlanta Hobby is available at AtlantaHobby.com