Bobbye Halls in Dallas,Tx. I got in on the last 5 or 6 years of the store being open. If you can find her book "Tracks from Texas to Tokyo" it is a fast and enjoyable read. RIP Dragon Lady! ... Thanks, John.
I enjoyed Bobbye Halls. I went there often when I was doing HO with my son. Packed full of hobby supplies of all kinds, literally from floor to ceiling. She was warm and welcoming to EVERYONE. I bought one of the 50th anniversary "Bobbye Halls" HO box cars. I still have it. She did lay-a-way for customers. They paid over time and then picked up the item on final payment, usually just before christmas. She was still doing lay-a-way in the 1990's when it had fallen out of favor in most department stores. Pre-order isn't new, just a little different now.
Everyone seemed to have a smile when they were in Bobbye Hall's store.
What is left of my HO is going to my son next month, including the anniversary boxcar.
I also miss Olsen Toy Train parts and Just Trains for hard to find lionel parts. Great online suppliers of O gauge parts that are now gone. I started in O gauge by buying post war fixer uppers. Their huge assortment turned many of my purchases into complete, pristine operating items. Everything fit. functioned and was the correct part when recieved.