Hats off to Steve Nelson aka Mr Muffin!

I recently had occasion to pass through quaint little Atlanta, Indiana and stop by Mr. Muffins. With great anticipation I entered the store. I have to admit that it does not have what I consider to have the " toy train store" atmosphere, however, there was a seemingly endless inventory of Lionel, MTH, and Atlas rolling stock all packed in boxes. As expected, but still unfortunate, there were none of the grand old trains of pre&postwar eras to be seen.

We then walked down the block to the layout building. As we were reading the signage posted on the door and uncovered that the layout hours were not aligned with our visit, a voice called out from down the road. It was Steve Nelson and he had spotted us and very kindly opened the layout building for us. All I can say in summary is that we were overwhelmed by the layout.

After visiting the layout and leaving a donation, we returned to the store, purchased some consumeables and continued on our way.

Recommend that anyone stop by for the layout and the future Choo Choo Cafe.

Original Post
bmoran4 posted As expected, but still unfortunate, there were none of the grand old trains of pre&postwar eras to be seen.

 

Most dealers don't carry them because very few now a days care or buy them. Been to York lately? Only the new or like new may sell. I don't even look at them anymore, some like them but most don't. 

Dave

david1 posted:
bmoran4 posted As expected, but still unfortunate, there were none of the grand old trains of pre&postwar eras to be seen.

 

Most dealers don't carry them because very few now a days care or buy them. Been to York lately? Only the new or like new may sell. I don't even look at them anymore, some like them but most don't. 

Dave

Each has their own focus; new, old or in between. There is no one universal answer for everyone, but for me, pre&post is for me and I find certain stores as well as York has been amazing in that regard.

Thank you all very much..... unfortunately, my post regarding the Choo Choo Cafe has ruffled a lot of feathers and we talked with the powers-that-be about locking it and letting it run off into the sunset....

Liz and I are very committed to promoting the hobby as a family activity, and the reality is we need to keep our day jobs - she sells real estate and I am still teaching as a college professor.

To date, we are over half way there in our campaign to complete the diner and get it opened. Families need a place to eat when they come and see the trains! To all of you that have supported us - and there's been quite a number - you would be surprised as to some of the names - thank you all very much. 

MrMuffin'sTrains posted:

Thank you all very much..... unfortunately, my post regarding the Choo Choo Cafe has ruffled a lot of feathers and we talked with the powers-that-be about locking it and letting it run off into the sunset....

Liz and I are very committed to promoting the hobby as a family activity, and the reality is we need to keep our day jobs - she sells real estate and I am still teaching as a college professor.

To date, we are over half way there in our campaign to complete the diner and get it opened. Families need a place to eat when they come and see the trains! To all of you that have supported us - and there's been quite a number - you would be surprised as to some of the names - thank you all very much. 

Persons with ruffled feathers should get plucked.

It seems so difficult these days when one finds something they don't like to just move on.  

Steve is a great guy. I met him at a train show a few years ago. I hope to get up to Atlanta in the near future. Wish I could sell out and move up there. It would be nice to live in a town that has a hobby shop. 

One thing about trains, it doesn't matter where they are going, it's having the sense to get on.

This is just my observation on it and I'm not bashing anyone but I can see why some would be irritated with a discussion like that.  The post was pushing a Kickstarter for a restaurant (even though it would be train themed) on a model train forum.  People come here to read model train discussions, not things like that.  If anyone else had posted such a thread, it would have been shut down or deleted ASAP because it was not model train related. It happens all the time on here with non-train related discussions.  Just because feathers were ruffled, doesn't mean it was for the reasons you think it was.  Perhaps the original discussion should have been started on the Announcements forum instead of the main forum.  It probably would have been fine there since he was announcing the Kickstarter.  My $0.02 on it.

mountain482 posted:

This is just my observation on it and I'm not bashing anyone but I can see why some would be irritated with a discussion like that.  The post was pushing a Kickstarter for a restaurant (even though it would be train themed) on a model train forum.   $0.02 on it.

Well, I completely support the Muffin enterprise, and hope their restaurant gets off the ground (although maintaining it long-term in a little town is another issue altogether), but strictly speaking (and as a devil's advocate), this view is probably correct. Personally, this isn't a big deal to me at all, but at its core this is advertising seeking money to open a restaurant. The fact that it has a train name, or is located near a train dealer, is beside the point. It is a restaurant. The idea that the Muffins are nice people (as a number of folks have opined), and are good to work with (as I can attest), is also beside the point. I wholehardedly support everything they're doing (I just wish they were doing it closer to me!). But again, that has no bearing on the issue.

If someone wanted to seek money to open a gas station in town, so people driving to a train dealer that is in the middle of nowhere can buy gas, would it be OK to promote a funding drive for that on the Forum? Would calling it "ChooChoo Gas" change anything? How about seeking funding for opening a convenience store with an ATM so visiters can get money to buy the toy trains?

This may seem silly, but it points out the difference between supporting a train dealer and its products, and promoting another business that sells something completely different. How far do you stretch the meaning of "it has something to do with the hobby?" In this case, in its essence, this is a money-making venture to sell food to customers, and it's using the Forum to get funding for a private for-profit enterprise. It's not a "feeding the hungry" charity.

Possibly part of the problem here stems from confusion about whether you characterize the Muffin's business as a museum, or as a train dealer. If it were strictly a museum, perhaps there would be less objection. If it's seen as a train dealer that happens to have a nice store layout (which most dealers have to promote the sale of trains), that's something different. If this were strictly a museum with a restaurant, located away from the train store, that might be seen in a different light. 

Or what if another Forum sponsor (or ten of them, for that matter) decided to do Kickstarters on the Forum to raise money to build new toilets in their train stores to better provide for their customers' needs? That's not even selling something, and it's located inside the store. Would it be OK for the Forum to serve as a platform for funding drives for something like that? Where do you draw the line?  Just something to think about, for the contrarians who like to argue.  

From what I’ve listened to and have also read it seems like Muffins Trains are doing one hell of a job bringing back life to a dying town. Steve and his family should be praised for what they are are doing, and if that ruffles some feathers OH well. When I hear this is a dying hobby these are the same ones that are upset about this. This is a family that is doing something to support it and trying to make it more pleasurable to come to town and enjoy themselves. I wish the Nelsons the best and will be sending my donation. Thank you Nelson’s for your work in our great Hobby 

Thank you all very much.... this is all about feeding families that come in to experience the trains..... We do this today, for free, in our shop every now and then but it's hard to pull off for the size crowds we have..... We have had a number of people on the forum support us - and our thanks for that..... 

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