My friends, sadly the era of Franciscan Hobbies has come to an end.
I have been given the responsibility as bearer of bad news, but I speak for Bill, John, and the entire crew.
tight profit margins and reduced sales volume caused by the pricing
policies of the distributors, suppliers, and the internet have left us
with little to no room for the needed profit margin to remain in
business in the city of San Francisco.
The blame game is useless
because the fact is no one specific thing caused this. It was the
preverbal death by a thousand paper cuts. In all honesty, our suppliers
became our own worst enemy. While they sold to us, they sold the very
same products on their own websites at below our cost. Of course the
youth of today, as a whole, has little interest in a model airplane or a
steam train, when they can play on a Ipad or a Xbox. This, coupled with
the vast amount of cheap phony merchandise available to the masses on
the internet, has spelled the demise of an “old school” establishment
such as ourselves.
I share these details with you not to blame,
but to explain how a 68 year old business can be slowly, but steadily,
squeezed out of business. Its sad to say, but is a small consolation
that five hobby shops in the bay area closed this year alone. This
indicates it wasn’t something we were specifically doing wrong - its the
hobby industry as a whole that’s doomed in the traditional sense of a
brick and mortar store.
For me, and four generations now,
Franciscan wasn’t just a store, it was a clubhouse, a ‘bar without the
boos‘, a man cave, an after school hangout, whatever you want to call
it. It was a place to share not only your hobby, but where discussions
on world events, the city, and life in general could be heard. Not only
are you customers, but many of you are our personal friends. We’ve
talked to you though personal goods and bads, marriages and divorces,
births and deaths. As the only old school hobby shop left in the bay
area we were able to hang on and outlast the rest because of our very
For me, this is deeply personal. At the age of 6
years old I first came into FHS. Seeing the airplanes on the ceiling
ignited my passion for anything that flies. When my parents first let me
take the bus by myself, where’s the first place I went on my very first
solo bus ride? Franciscan of course! Over the years I bought R/C
planes, John showed me how to wire my Lindberg PT-109, and I built
countless 1/48 plastic kits. I share this story because it’s the norm,
not the exception. Almost every one of our loyal customers have the same
fond memories and stories to tell.
The decision to close was
the hardest thing we have ever done, but we will remember all of the
people and families who kept Franciscan Hobbies alive for nearly 68
years. We hope each and every one you continue to do whichever hobby you
are into, not only for the love of your hobby, but out of sheer desire
not to let the timeless skills of patience and craftsmanship be lost by
Noah and the entire Franciscan Hobbies crew.
Franciscan Hobbies 1946 - January 31st 2014
Franciscan Hobbies offers many departments with specialised employees with knowledgeable skills to help their customers.
When you first walk in the store and get greeted by the front desk clerk, you will first see the supplies you need for any of your projects. On your left, you will see airplane parts and to your right, you will see paint and brushes. This is what we call the General Models Department.
Up the ramp and to your right, you will see more of the General Models Department; with all sorts of models stored on shelves. You will find cars, trucks, ships, sci-fi, and even movie characters like Frankenstein.
The R/C Department carries R/C cars, R/C Boats, and R/C
aircrafts. When entering the ramp, walk up through the doorway, up the
ramp and to your left, and you will see the R/C department where you
will find all your R/C needs!
We also have a train department with a train specialist behind the counter. Being capable to answer all your train needs and supplying you with all your train necessities.When entering the store, walk up the ramp and continue on walking down the aisle. You will see the train department.