WAPAKONETA — In 1975, Dad’s Toy Shop was the first hobby store of its kind in the Wapakoneta area. Forty-three years later, the business is still thriving, said co-owner J.P. Metz.
The Metz family opened its first location on 129 E. Auglaize St. in 1975 and 10 years later they moved to the current location, 123 W. Auglaize St.
Back in 1975, the company sold remote control toys, model railroads, plastic models, rockets, slot cars, magazines and DVDs, and custom signs.
“Most of everything we have now, we had back then, only bigger,” said Metz.
Right now the most popular products are the remote control cars, helicopters, drones and boats. The store has an inventory of close to 265,000 items from brands like Traxxas, ECX, ARMA, Associated, Pro Boat, E-flite and Hobby Zone.
Unlike in the past, the stores now offers digital toy trains. These new trains have sound built into the them and no longer require complicated wiring because the operator can control each individual locomotive, said Metz.
Slot cars have also changed over the years. The store offers the Real RX brand’s slot-less car that is controlled with a remote and does not run off of the layout.
“There is still the slot cars with the slot sets but the controllers have a button you push on them that helps you determine if you’re going to cross over a lane,” said Metz. “Also the fuel meter helps determines when the car runs out of fuel based on how throttle happy you are.”
One of the newest items that the store did not offer 43 years ago were drones.
“Drones are popular right now, especially the first person view versions,” said Metz. “When you put a set of goggles it feels like you’re actually sitting in an aircraft.”
Customers who purchase drones should keep in mind that they are required to register it, said Metz. He suggest that they register with the Academy of Model Aircraft and to download the B4UFLY mobile app which has an interactive map that lists restricted flying areas.
The Metz family is happy to have served the Wapakoneta community for 43 years and hopes to continue to make a positive impact on youth.
“We want to get the kids out to have fun and educate them into working on the cars, the mechanics of them, the geometrics of the cars and aircrafts,” said Metz. “It could be a learning experience for the kids.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews