Monday, November 24, 2014

N. Ridge Road Neighbors: Robert Taylor Insurance and Clearview Hobby

A few weeks ago, I did a post about the Harmon-Nielsen Company, formerly located at 2063 N. Ridge Road. Looking back now, I can see that my post was a little sloppy and light on information about the firm at that address today, as well as its neighbor to the west.

So please allow me to clarify things a little bit about the two companies that have the lunchtime pleasure of being located right across from Ilene's Dog 'n Suds.

First, the 2063 N. Ridge Road address belongs to Robert Taylor Insurance (click here to visit the company website and read about its history). As one person noted in a comment on my Harmon-Nielsen post, the insurance firm has done a terrific job of retrofitting the old sign (below) for its use. It really looks wonderful.
Meanwhile, the firm immediately to the west in its own building is Clearview Hobby / Futuretronics at 2055 N. Ridge Road. And despite what you might have thought after reading my post, it's still very much in business.
I stopped in recently on a Saturday morning to enjoy a friendly chat with Wayne Pakan, the owner.
First off, he clarified just how long his company has been at that location: 20 years. He also told me a little about his hobby store's specialty.
"Slot cars are now my core business," he informed me. Mr. Pakan is, in fact, the largest slot car dealer in Ohio, a claim that also appears in his ad that regularly runs in Cruisin' Times magazine (below).
For years, as Mr. Pakan explained, his business used to be 90% mail order and 10% walk-in. Surprisingly, he pointed out to me that those ratios have reversed in recent years – which is great, since that means that more people are visiting his store.
But despite the presence of a huge slot car track in the middle of it, the store is still an old-time hobby store. Walking around the tidy store was like going back in time. There's lots of Lionel trains, rockets, airplanes and plastic model kits. There's even an old Pac-Man machine for sale.
As you can see, Mr. Pakan's cat Chessie patrols the store, greeting slot car and hobby enthusiasts.
Click here to visit Clearview Hobby's Facebook page – and don't forget to visit the store too! It's open Monday and Thursday from 3 to 8, Saturday from 10 to 5 and Sunday from 10 to 2 (although it is suggested that you call first to make sure it's open).

You can call the store at (440) 277-8004.


Anonymous said...

Pretty comical photo of the kitty!

Dan Brady said...

He was a very vocal puss.

JIM said...

Is this the same Clearview Hobby that used to be at the Sheffield Center? I used to go there frequently in my jr.high school days. That was "the" place to go.

Dan Brady said...

Hi Jim,
I looked into this a bit since I was curious after reading your comment. The "original" Clearview Hobby was run by Richard Dobrinski. It was located at 4113 Elyria Avenue before moving into the Sheffield Shopping Center in the 1970s. Mr. Dobrinski also ran an insurance company business adjacent to the hobby store. It seems that the insurance company eventually became his main focus, with the hobby store disappearing from the directory in the mid-1980s. It wasn't until later (around 1999) that the second Clearview hobby store (Clearview Train & Hobby) was started by Ken Logar. So I couldn't find any connection between the two businesses.