Growing up in the South Bay, everyone knew the name D&J Hobby. The store was a fixture of Campbell for over 40 years, and was known for its wide array of model cars, radio-controlled airplanes, model rockets, electric trains and crafts. Surely, if you are under the age of 30, or an avid hobbyist, you remembered the impressive collection of model ships that decked the shelves of the original store off San Tomas Aquino Road.
After being reborn three years ago by the original founders’ son, the store has officially closed its doors, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Nov. 23.
Jason Pozzi poured his heart and soul into the business his parents created so many years ago, but citing rent and competition, he just couldn’t keep things going any longer — Internet and big box retailers like Amazon and Target that offer a broader range of products and from specialty stores that could offer a deeper selection of particular goods were too much to bear.
Pozzi also told the Silicon Valley Business Journal that a string of robberies against the store over the past couple months was a big issue. According to the bankruptcy filing, the losses or damages totaled $33,800, which Pozzi said was mostly high-end radio-controlled car products. While the store had insurance, the break-ins resulted in higher rates, which didn’t help matters.
“We were a new business, and I didn’t have the capital that the old store had,” Pozzi said. “These break-ins just pushed us back when things were tight. We’re a fourth-quarter business, and these things happened right before the end of the year.”
The closure might have gone unnoticed had it not been for the filing — I myself live just a stones throw away from the location at the West Valley Shopping Center — which closed its doors on Oct. 31.
“I feel really bad about this,” Pozzi said. “I really wanted to make this work.” He wanted to keep the store open as long as possible, especially with the holiday season looming. Pozzi soon realized to keep the store open meant he wouldn’t be able to afford to pay his nine-person staff. He hadn’t taken a salary in six months, and invested over $100,000 of his own money to keep the business afloat, the filings said.
“I cashed in everything I had,” he said. “In the beginning of November, we had to make the call. I got to the point where I wasn’t going to be able to pay my employees.”
D&J Hobby Inc. listed assets of $43,927 and liabilities of $538,269.59. The largest creditor is the shopping center, which is owed $155,000. The filing said that the store’s income generated $532,000 in 2015, down from $1.1 million in 2014 and $882,000 in 2013.
David Barclay is an byteclay.com staff writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DJamesIII