A Lancaster business that started out as a hobby is closing down after 28 years trading.
Andrew Boon, owner of Model and Hobby World in Owen Road, said his business had become a “victim of the internet” and the digital age, but that he was going into retirement on a high.
Andrew, 54, said he would miss the “banter” with customers, some of whom had been coming in for decades.
Andrew opened the shop with his wife Karen in 1989.
He was previously a senior manager at Asda in Colne doing 70-80 hours per week, and the couple, who live in Bolton-le-Sands, decided to run a business together instead.
He said: “We couldn’t decide whether to open a newsagents, a pet shop or a model shop. But we agreed to the model shop and sold all off our belongings and decided to make a venture of it.
“It was initially a hobby as I’d been doing radio controlled modelling since I was about 16.
“When we started everything came as a kit that you had to build yourself.
“Everything had to be built from a box of bits.
“But now, no-one really has any understanding of the mechanics. The youngsters just don’t seem interested in it anymore, and the older customers that we’ve known for donkey’s years are sadly dying off.”
The shop, which extended into the adjoining building in 2010, sells drones, model planes, cars, boats, helicopters and accessories, but Andrew said the business was struggling to compete with big online retailers.
He said: “It’s definitely become a victim of the internet.
“We get people who come in, take a photo of the barcode then go and buy it online for a lower price. We all like a bargain myself included, but it’s just not sustainable for the business.
“We’ve seen three generations of family coming in, but not anymore. Things have become digital, and there’s pretty much an app for everything now, but the world wasn’t built with a phone!”
Andrew said customers travelled from as far away as Leeds and Carlisle on a regular basis.
He added: “I’m going to miss the customers.
“We’ve had a lot of rapport, we’ve had a lot of banter, both ways round, and it’s nice to rip streaks off eachother!
“I just want to say a big thank you to all our long term customers.”
He added: “I’m looking forward to not having to watch the clock and the calendar.
“I’m very fortunate to be young and to be saying thank you very much and bowing out while the going is still good.”
The couple, who have three children and two grand-children, are due to close the business in mid-April and are currently having a closing down sale.
Andrew said there had been some interest in the business, but nothing had come of it so far.