I think that anyone who grew up in Redding in the 1980’s would have to remember the Hobby Hut. I didn’t go in there often, but have memories of it being full of cool radio-controlled vehicles, weird roleplaying paraphernalia, and yarn. Sometimes my mom went there to buy fabric or supplies for school events, and I’d wander around the place. It had that pleasant “craft store smell”, a mixture of eucalyptus and wood glue. Michael’s smells like that today (not that I, you know, hang out there or anything).

On one such visit, I remember finding a room toward the back that had an enormous table in the center. A guy who worked there excitedly told me that it was for their “Dungeons & Dragons nights”, and eagerly explained how the whole thing worked. Basically, dorks from miles around gathered there weekly to roll twelve-sided dice, move their pewter figurines around, and cast spells until the wee hours of the morning. Even at age twelve, it sounded extremely lame to me.

I was always bewildered by the fact that they had these huge, awesome remote-controlled planes and helicopters hanging from the ceiling in there. I remember looking up in awe, wondering who could possibly afford such insanely cool toys. It seemed unfair to have these $400 planes that every kid wanted to play with, just hanging there as if to taunt us. It didn’t dawn on me until I was older that adults play with toys, too.

I remember buying Estes rocket kits and engines there. Some generous relative had given me the deluxe launch pad kit when I was younger, and every so often my dad and I would build and launch rockets with it. The Hobby Hut was one of the only places in town where you could buy rocket stuff, so I popped there whenever I ran out of C Series engines.

I’m not sure what ended the Hobby Hut’s reign as the north state’s greatest hobby supply store, but think it faded away sometime in the early to mid 90’s. It was located 2665 Park Marina Drive, having moved there from their original location at 2435 Athens Avenue. Today, it appears that “Crafter’s Mall & The Sewing Room” is in that building.