It seems like just yesterday that Dave Wyckoff walked into a Ventura hobby store as a small boy and befriended the owner of a shop he loved.
Wyckoff and Ventura Hobbies owner Vern Morseman recalled the memory fondly recently as they prepared to close the Santa Barbara hobby store that Wyckoff has owned the past six years.
Dave’s Hobby Central at 14 W. Anapamu St. will shut its doors for good on Saturday after 67 years in the same location where Morseman originally opened the store dedicated to play planes, miniature cars, trains and any other hobby kids can think of.
“Downtown it’s getting tougher to do business,” Morseman told Noozhawk, noting parking issues and pesky nearby construction that forced the city to take over 17 spaces. “It’s hurting every business on this block. On our street, the curb in front of the store is red when it should be painted green. It’s not worth the hassle. We went from a friendly environment to not-as-friendly business environment.”
Any merchandise still on the shelves Saturday will move into Morseman’s Ventura Hobbies instead.
Wyckoff, 36, took over the store six years ago, as one of several different owners over nearly seven decades.
“His dream was to own a hobby shop,” Morseman said.
As a tall, burly man with a child of his own now, Wyckoff held his hand up to about his waist to indicate how tall he was when he met Morseman.
The younger owner, who now towers over his friend, said he plans to step away from retail, at least temporarily, to focus on taking care of his 10-month-old daughter while his wife works.
“Right now, I’m just going to take a break. My next job is full-time daddy,” Wyckoff said, smiling.
Above all else, both soon-to-be former owners of Dave’s Hobby Central said they wanted to share appreciation for their customers and friends.
“We want to say thank you to all who have supported us the past 67 years,” Morseman said.