About Us

Our Mission: To Help Hobby Retailers Grow.

The HobbyTown story begins in Lincoln, Nebraska (where our national headquarters remains today). Merlin Hayes, Mary Hayes and Thom Walla founded HobbyTown Unlimited Inc. in 1985 and opened the first franchise store in 1986. Today, there are more than 135 stores nationwide, making us the leader in the retail hobby and specialty toy industry.

Our Franchise Owners take pride in providing unparalleled customer service, achieving higher than industry average inventory turns and retail sales per square foot. In our stores and online, we are constantly testing new products and technologies to increase sales. We grow through innovation, and our Franchise Owners are empowered to explore new product ideas and make independent buying decisions. In turn, we provide them with business intelligence and national sales data to help them optimize their inventory strategies.

Our Vision

We have become the foremost resource and destination for family fun and entertainment by embracing, supporting and maximizing the strengths and diversity of each Franchise Owner.

Our Core Values

We Bring It Every Day

We energetically share our passion for hobbies with contagious enthusiasm. Customers will always enjoy an exceptional shopping experience that exceeds expectations. Bringing it is not a spectator sport, bringing it is making (not watching) things happen.

Cultivate Growth

We believe growth is achieved by exceeding the expectations of each individual customer. We relentlessly pursue the development of ourselves and others to foster growth. We believe growth is a process that requires consistent effort.

Lead & Serve

We lead by aspiring to be our best and giving our best to others at all times. We serve by always maintaining a positive and welcoming environment for all. We aspire to be an asset to our community by making free time awesome!

Keep Calm & Hobby On

Wisdom and knowledge come with experience. In the face of adversity, we stay calm and focused on finding a solution or a better way. We always seek to first understand, act, then hobby on.

Providing Great Times for our Customers and Franchise Owners for Years.

1980 1980
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2010 2010
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2016 2016
2017 2017
2018 2018


Opening of 1st Store

Lincoln, NE


The first HobbyTown franchise is opened in Colorado Springs, CO.


The name “HobbyTown USA” is adopted and registered as our new identity – along with red, white and blue as “official” company colors.


HobbyTown USA debuts in the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 at #419.


Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas becomes the 1st HobbyTown USA franchise store to exceed $1,000,000 in sales.


Lincoln, NE

The first HobbyTown USA National Convention is held in Lincoln.


Franchise-wide sales surpass $50,000,000.


BuyersClub is established.


SMART Point of Sale (POS) is launched.


HTUWebComm launched to provide real time connection to franchise stores.



Partnership for the first Co-Branded locations in Aurora and Lakewood, CO.


Teammates Youth Mentoring program adopted as official HTU charity.


hobbytown.com relaunched with AMain.


National Branding Program Launched.


RadioShack Partnership Launched.