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Store Layout.      19 pictures, Photobucket file.

Dave was associated with a train club, Mercer Area.  Sad note: The Mercer block community had seen some revival of small business, Dave's store one of them, My wife commented there was also a quilt materials store.  Sad to see small town America, quickly disappear.   

Dave was very good, making Sedum trees.



The layout was walk around, Power was from the basement below.  An interesting old, old building that required a very long masonary bit to access the basement ceiling.   Thanks Dave, for letting me be part of a great experience.  Mike CT. 

Last edited by Mike CT
@DylTrains posted:

Always sad to see another hobby store disappear.   The last O scale serving hobby store in my home city closed before my time (with the now nearest over 3hrs away).

I've never met Mr. Wolf, nor know too much about MTH as I haven't really been in the hobby long, but seeing all the fallout, closures, livelihoods/jobs/fixtures of the community vanishing,  and uncertainty stemming from literally one mans retirement makes me wish that things went down in almost any other way.  Maybe something that didn't set off a detrimental cascade akin to a small wrecking ball to the very hobby MTH helped build up?

I know something new may come out of MTH's ashes, but its too bad it had to intentionally combust in the first place.  I cant help but feel a little critical of how events are unfolding...

I don't think the way this Covid thing is rapidly moving around has helped much either !  🤤

Even non model railroading outlets have been closing down and the retailers that are out there have severely limited their hours of operation .   Some are just using mail order sales.

At least many of us are able to get caught up in the work needed on the layouts.

Take care and be safe 😷

@Mallard4468 posted:

Despite its 120 year history, the periods of time when Lionel was killing it have been relatively short - a few years before the Depression, late 40s thru mid 50s, and then again for awhile when Richard Kughn owned it.

Not sure where you get your info. Lionel has said several times recently that they've had their most profitable years in company history.

I will greatly miss Dave's store. Dave is a very talented modeler and an all around great guy. It was always worth the trip from Cleveland. Sad that the hobby continues to fade away bit by bit.

MikeCT, thank you for the photographs and some description of the layout.  Yes, it is a superbly crafted layout.  Dave lets you put an engine you are considering buying on the tracks to see how it performs. My first time using command control and I was blown away!

I failed to mention that trying out trains on Dave's layout was what convinced me to give up my dabble in On30 and accept O 3-rail with open arms.  I had modeled in HO for decades, but the trains were getting too small as I passed through my mid 50s.  Not having space for anything but a small switching layout in O scale 2-rail, I tried On30 on my HO track.  I decided I wanted more of a mainline layout, not a backwoods logging one.  I happened to see the June/July 2012 issue of OGR in the Giant Eagle grocery store of all places.  I had never seen OGR before.  I saw the article about Dave's store layout and that he is located only 45 minute drive away.  I went up to Mercer the next Saturday, and you know the rest. 

I do feel that his decision to stop all production at MTH should have been made public

He did, in multiple locations/formats. Wonder why you would make this statement?

to avoid all the confusion in the interest of all modelers as well as dealers who have depended on MTH to provide them with enjoyment and/or business.  OGR would have The Place to have reported his intentions.

Again, he did, but I disagree with you if you think this is the most/only/best place to make this type of statement. As much as I like OGR, we need to face that we are just a small group of really passionate hobbyists'

I apologise for my bad choice of words.  Hope you'll forgive me.

Charlie

@jonnyspeed posted:

Not sure where you get your info. Lionel has said several times recently that they've had their most profitable years in company history.     Unfortunately modern company profiles often cut short parts of a company for not enough profit.   What you and I might think a good profit, (Example 10%), to some major corps. is unthinkable.  IMO.  Mike CT.   There is a reason MTH, Weaver, etc. are no longer in business.   The American business system is dotted with many graveyards.



Last edited by Mike CT
@Mark Boyce posted:

... Dave lets you put an engine you are considering buying on the tracks to see how it performs. My first time using command control and I was blown away! ...

This. He let me try out the DCS and the Legacy stuff and I knew I was walking out of the store with some kind of command control (DCS that day) as soon as I uncoupled from the remote. I had only ever ran with a transformer before that day. I returned two weeks after that to buy a Legacy system so I could run every loco I own. He also encouraged me not to sweat upgrading conventional locomotives to command control. He said instead to set aside a whole day because it can be rough the first time but it gets easier. Encouraging words are rare these days.

My friends buy tons of stuff online but I'm a simpleton and love to go to the store right now, pick up my item now, and buy it now so I can go play with it now. It's just the best! That's the main reason I'm bummed about the store closing. I also was hoping to use it as a spring board to meet people to run trains with but I can use OGR for that I suppose.

Just can't say thanks enough for the help from that shop!

Charlie: Sorry, guess I missed the train.....again.

Please consider taking out a Digital Subscription to OGR and becoming a Supporting Member to insure that we don't loose the best source of O gauge reporting on the planet.  It's the best deal I've made in Century 21.

Item: MTH is as good as gone, now comes the Mercer Junction derailment.  Gads, who's next?

Item: It's "lose." One "o."

A motorcycle ride to Mercer Junction to visit Dave and his O gauge toy box, was a great way too kill a rare day off from work. It was cool to deal with someone with an infectious combination of talent, passion and integrity. I wish the Minarik family all the best moving forward. Rock on!! Here is a quick vid of Dave graciously letting me run my shiny new 3rd Rail Train of Tomorrow on his store layout.

Attachments

Videos (1)
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@MartyE posted:

I really think we need a track plan of that layout.

While it would be nice to see a track plan, what really sets that layout apart are the details.  Sweeping curves, subtle elevation changes, bridges, etc.  There's a different scene from every angle.  Most shop layouts contain all of the usual buildings, and so does Dave's, but they blend in due to the weathering.  When I visited, I probably spent 20 minutes checking it out.  Pretty amazing for a shop display.

This will be the second time I was disapointed in the loss of a business in the Town of Mercer Pa.

The first was the DINOR. Best Meatloaf around!

Dave's store was a destination, Not just a stop along the way. His store from day one was filled with great decore and designed to draw you in even if you were not into trains. 

The front window on the square was a recall back to the time of the department store display windows.

Best wishes to Dave and his family.

@Mallard4468 posted:

While it would be nice to see a track plan, what really sets that layout apart are the details.  Sweeping curves, subtle elevation changes, bridges, etc.  There's a different scene from every angle.  Most shop layouts contain all of the usual buildings, and so does Dave's, but they blend in due to the weathering.  When I visited, I probably spent 20 minutes checking it out.  Pretty amazing for a shop display.

Just from looking at the pics and videos, it's as realistic as it gets. If you've been around the old manufacturing cities, you'd agree. Took me right back to those times right when I was getting out of high school and went there.

Sad to hear another great shop is closing.  Reading some comments sounds like the "Sky's falling the sky's falling", but as been said, life goes on.  Thank goodness  there are online stores that will take up the slack.  But to me nothing compares to actually visiting the store and handling merchandise and triggering the impulse buy and immediacy of seeing it run on your layout (as well as contributing to local economy and keeping store lights on).  Nothing compares to seeing the actual colors or fine detail that a picture shows.

So yeah I will miss MTH but at least there are other vendors to provide product as good as or better than MTH.

Thank you all for the kind wishes!  Having the shop for the last 10 years has been a great social experiment for me.  I have met so many nice people.  I wish to thank everybody who has taken the time to stop by the shop or purchase from me on line.  It has been a pretty cool ride!

Hey Dave,

If you ever find yourself in the Dallas area and feel the need to pick up the sticks On Saturday , hit me up.  Lots of cool jams in the area. Socially distanced live shows are back, thankfully....it's been hard not connecting with a real audience. The studio's one thing, but not the same energy...you know....

Anyway, congrats on the 10 year run with your store.  Best wishes for you future endeavors, and never stop rockin'!

To reverse paraphrase my dad,"At least you have music to fall back on"

- Dave C.

Keyboards and Trains

@EscapeRocks posted:

Hey Dave,

If you ever find yourself in the Dallas area and feel the need to pick up the sticks On Saturday , hit me up.  Lots of cool jams in the area. Socially distanced live shows are back, thankfully....it's been hard not connecting with a real audience. The studio's one thing, but not the same energy...you know....

Anyway, congrats on the 10 year run with your store.  Best wishes for you future endeavors, and never stop rockin'!

To reverse paraphrase my dad,"At least you have music to fall back on"

- Dave C.

Keyboards and Trains

Thanks Dave!

We haven't played in front of a live crowd in a venue since March 7th.   We have done two drive in shows, two televised shows (no crowd) and one live stream show.  Better safe than sorry.  I used to joke with customers and tell them that playing drums is how I keep the train store open!  lol  Not this year.

Dave 

Thanks Dave!

We haven't played in front of a live crowd in a venue since March 7th.   We have done two drive in shows, two televised shows (no crowd) and one live stream show.  Better safe than sorry.  I used to joke with customers and tell them that playing drums is how I keep the train store open!  lol  Not this year.

Dave

Looking forward to the return of normalcy. Did you ever have a point in your life when you stopped playing drums? My youngest son is a very talented drummer, but he just stopped playing for some unknown reason. His drums have sat unused in our attic for a few years now. He doesn't want to take them to his house, and has no interest. He listens to music constantly, and even drums with his hands occasionally, but that's it. I enjoyed jamming with him, and our playing together at our church. On one occasion, I turned around to watch him play on a cymbal, and he had the mallets in one hand above and below the cymbal playing his part, and in his other hand, he was texting on his cell phone!

My wife and I had plans to see Horseshoe Curve, and visit your store, but never had the opportunity. Now that we do,........... oh well. Glad you were able to make a go of it for as long as you did. Good luck with whatever the future brings, and hopefully you and the band can perform again in front of a crowd. 

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