Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lil's Place and Lil's Hobby Lobby.....

The first "Lil's Place" on the left. In the middle is the Lil's Hobby Lobby sign which was finally taken down this spring, and also a current photo of the building which has since been taken over by Chimo Lumber.

On the left is some of the model cars and prices of the time. In the middle was Lil's Hobby Lobby catalog cover from 1969 and the photo on the right shows the two hobby shops that were in the 1962 "Lakehead" telephone directory(which covered both cities of Fort William and Port Arthur)....note the MAfair and DIamond ahead of the phone numbers. These letters later became the prefix 62 and 34. Do you remember??

The above show some of the model car kits available at the time...and the photos below show a couple of the counter top displays that you would see at Lil's in the 1950's.

Paul and Lil Procup started their hobby business as far back as I can remember. I lived about 6 blocks from their first hobby shop at “Lil’s Place”, which was located on the corner of Franklin and Empire Ave. in Fort William(now Thunder Bay). This little corner store was part of their home which extended out to the curb on Franklin St.(still noticeable today), and in no time became much too small to run a hobby business. In the early 1950’s I would take my hard earned lawn mowing money, leaving a little aside to go roller skating or to the stock car races and head down to Lil’s to pick up a .98cent or $1.49 AMT or Monogram model kit and pretend I was building the real thing. This early model building(which I still do today) and also hanging around Kam Motors where my dad worked was the total inspiration for a myriad of full size hot rods(at 1:1 scale) that I had built through the years. Lil’s and Green’s were the only two listings in the 1958 and 1962 local phone books for hobby shops. For me, Green’s was just a bit too far(way over in Port Arthur) to ride my bike.
Lil’s place would later become Lil’s Hobby Lobby and move over to 550 S. Syndicate Ave. where they would run a very successful hobby and craft business for many more years. In the late 1960’s they had a huge slot racing track in their warehouse at the back end of the store and anyone and everyone who was into cars those days would head out to Lil’s to race their 1:25th scale slot racers. An icon in the slot racing scene at that time was Stromberg. To this day I still have my slot race cars(a late model and a sprint car).
We lost Paul and Lil in the last few years, but the great memories of Lil’s Hobby Lobby will live on. on photos to enlarge!!


Anonymous said...

In the 60's I was a bit of a model car building nut and used to purchase my model kits at Green's since I lived in Port Arthur and also you could find deals at Kresge, Woolworth, or Eatons. My Mum bought me a sweet Strombecker race car set at Eaton's for my birthday and my friends and I spent probably hundreds of hours racing. My friend also had a set but his was made by Eldon and the cars were not compatible with the Strombecker track.

Anonymous said...

You could always ask Lil for a 'RISQUE BDay card' too LoL

Anonymous said...

As a young teen, I would hop on the bus for the trek down to Lil's. We lived in the Shuniah St. area, so it would take 3 transfers, and about 90 minutes of riding time. I didn't know the bus routes in FW, so I would get off the bus at Chapples, then walk down Syndicate to the store.
Many times these trips were made on a Friday evening, I wouldn't get home until about 10:30 PM.
Times were different then...I'm not sure I would let my kids do that now!!
Green's was great for models, but Lil's had models and all the slot car stuff.


Anonymous said...

I used to get all my plastic airplane models from Lil's Place when I was a kid. Yes, they sold other stuff than cars. It was a little slice of heaven just down the street and I'll always remember it with pleasure. God bless Lil and Paul for bringing so much happiness into people's lives.

Anonymous said...

I lived down the street from Lil's. I wasn't interested in model building but I sure liked their selection of penny candy. Neighbourhood kids would spend their day hunting for pop bottles and Lil would exchange pop bottles for candy!