Fifty Years Young: Allied Hobbies Keeps Them Coming Back
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August 2003 | Vol. II - No. 8

August 2003 | Vol. II - No. 8 TDmonthly SEARCH

Retailer Spotlight

Fifty Years Young: Allied Hobbies Keeps Them Coming Back

Store Name: Allied Hobbies
Store Location: 3195 Tucker Road, Bensalem, PA 19020
Store Web Address:
Store President: Adina Ardman

Allied Hobbies has weathered everything from economic downturns to competition from VCRs and computer games. Still, every business cycle brings a new generation of customers seeking a return to hands-on fun. In business for over 50 years, Allied Hobbies has expanded to six stores throughout southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.

“About ten years ago, we definitely saw a downturn because of computers,” says Allied President Adina Ardman. “We lost a lot of teenagers. Now computers are status quo, and we’re starting to see a lot of teenagers again. Remote control cars are big again with this age group, and that is bringing them back.”

Traxxas RC Car

The typical Allied customer is male and anywhere from six years old to “about the time they discover cars and girls,” laughs Ardman. “We lose them for a while then.” They start to come back to the store, she adds, when they have children of their own. If they discover at a young age that they enjoy the products she sells, they can be customers for life.

But why should someone buy an RC car from a hobby store instead of from an electronics or department store? For one thing, the high-end brands Allied stocks are built to last and allow customers to customize and maintain their cars as if they were the real thing. When an Allied Hobbies customer crashes his RC car, he can come back for replacement parts, buy a bigger engine or just replace worn-out ball bearings.

The company’s website is now poised to become a revenue generator by providing online purchasing options—increasing the chain’s ability to serve its current customers and reach outside its geographical niche.

Marklin California Zephyr Train Set
Other than during the Holidays—when the company splurges on advertising to attract gift-buyers—Allied Hobbies relies solely on its reputation to lure customers, who find a wide assortment of model kits, kites, trains, planes and all the RC cars they could want. Of course, having Allied’s stores located in malls with their built-in high foot traffic doesn’t hurt either.

“You can’t afford to be dismissive of anyone who walks into the store,” says Ardman.

She emphasizes customer service to her employees, making sure they talk to casual shoppers as well as regulars—the first step in building a relationship that may last a lifetime.

Relationships, after all, are not restricted to real-life interactions. Just ask anyone who has ever bought a role-playing game’s 16-sided die.

Writer's Bio: Julie Duffy is a freelance writer and new mother to a future toy connoisseur.



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