Today, I made my semi-annual visit to Nicholas Smith Toy Train shop. This is without a doubt one of the best train, model, and toy stores I've ever been too. While I have certainly made many on-line purchases from various stores over the last couple of decades, and although I appreciate a well-organized website, there's nothing on-line that comes close to the experience of perusing a well-stocked train, hobby, and toy store. I actually found some newer Lionel and AF accessory items that I had never seen before. I also bought some Superstreets items. It occurred to me as I was driving to the market after leaving the train shop that as our culture becomes more and more digitized and virtual, we may be losing something special. Just today, in the downstairs toy department I chatted with a woman doing her Christmas shopping, and upstairs two grandfathers were buying stuff to set up trains for Christmas for their grandchildren.
This shop is in Broomall, PA, and the original shop was at 11th and Arch in Philly and was one of the first Lionel train dealers way back in time. I noticed there's new people running both the upstairs and downstairs, though Chris is still the owner, and is in retirement. The new staff were very helpful to me, and they all seemed to be taking an interest in both the toys and trains, and one guy upstairs talked with delight about the steam engines at Strasburg. Good stuff all around.