224 Greenfield Avenue #2, San Anselmo
What do they offer?
Dauth Hobbies is the place for hobby enthusiasts. The store carries trains, rockets, remote controls (“rc’s”), model kits for cars, boats, helicopters, airplanes, and tanks, plus hobby supplies such as paint, brushes, glue and balsa wood. Model kits come in five skill levels from, from one to five, with five being for the most experienced.
In glass display cases you will find collectable trains, such as “The Challenger” (#4 out of ten built), and “The Alleghany.” These brass keepsake items are in mint condition and have never been out of their boxes.
Dauth Hobbies is a Lionel authorized dealer. They also sell “build your own” train layouts.
In addition, Dauth Hobbies takes items on consignment and will soon have a website and eBay store.
Who are they?
As a child, owner Ian Dauth, originally from Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), would watch the Bayer-Garratt Steam locomotives, in awe of their immense size. A highlight of his young life was taking the train ride up to Victoria Falls.
Trains were the beginning of many hobbies to follow. The planes Dauth built from model kits hung from his bedroom ceiling. He always wanted to become a pilot and still remembers the vision he had of a cockpit when he was seven years old.
Hobby dreams do come true. Later in life he was flying Boeing 747's around the world for Orient Thai Airlines, and Oasis Hong Kong Airlines. After moving to Las Vegas, Dauth switched to small planes, giving Grand Canyon tours for Scenic Airlines.
In 2010, Dauth moved to Marin County. “I was tired of flying,” he said, “and I wanted to be closer to my son Simon.” He lives in San Anselmo and Simon is with him in the store several afternoons a week.
Photos on the wall show that when he moved from Zimbabwe to Los Angeles in 1982, Dauth was the bass player in a Ska and Reggae band. Another hobby he still enjoys.
Seven-year-old Simon, an avid skateboarder, takes drum lessons and already knows quite a lot about model making.
How long have they been there?
Dauth Hobbies opened on Greenfield Avenue June 17, 2011.
There has always been a hobby shop in San Anselmo. In the 1930s and 40s it was Brown and Stamp, then the Gunnings purchased it and the store moved to several different locations -- most recently where Dauth Hobbies is now. In 1987, it was purchased again but the new owner kept the name as Gunning's. Earlier this year, Gunning's was dissolved and Dauth Hobbies picked up from where it left off, changing the inventory, but keeping the love of trains and hobbies alive and well in town.
Why are they business of the week?
“Parents are introducing their kids to hobbies they grew up with,” said Dauth. “They object to the whole techno gaming world, and are telling me they want more family involvement.”
Boys come into the store by themselves and girls are also interested. “I am surprised at how many kids immediately go to the WWII plane section,” said Dauth. “They have heard stories about their grandfather or uncle who flew a B17, for example.”
“Several of the leaders of Marin’s Cub and Boy Scouts have told me that boys in their troops are very interested in Estes Rockets and Pinecar Derby.”
Dauth is the perfect place for end of school projects. “A man came in with his daughter a week ago. The assignment was to create a balloon-powered car, which could go five meters, or sixteen feet. We put our minds together and got creative,” said Dauth.
“Father and daughter came back a few days later, beaming with pride, to tell me that the science teacher is keeping her project as an example for future students. The car went ten meters, twice as far as expected,” said Dauth.
Another customer wanted to launch a plane off a catapult which he had seen on You Tube and Dauth had everything he needed.
Dauth Hobbies supports local charities, orphanages and nonprofits such as St. Vincent’s Home for Boys and Watershed Preservation Network of Northern California. They also donated a huge selection of new, high quality educational activity toys to Auntie’s Place for their day care center.
Seven-year-old Simon Dauth said he likes helicopters and trains the best. With his own portable toolboxes, he builds a lot using balsa wood and spends several hours at a time on a hobby project.
Everyone is invited to attend Dauth Hobbies' grand opening party on Saturday, June 4. Bring your business card to enter the raffle for a remote control helicopter.
“Using our imaginations and creativity is what hobbies are all about,” said Dauth. So bring those too.