When Cutler Bay resident Paul Conner retired at age 56 after a career as a CPA for Price Waterhouse, his longtime interest in model trains, toy cars and planes saved him from boredom and became something of a second career.
“I tried at first to set up an office at home but I wasn’t active and I just went crazy,” Conner said. “When I retired I had quite a collection of the various toys I had accumulated over the years so I thought I would try something with that.”
In May of 1995 Conner opened a small hobby shop in Hollywood (FL) called Hollywood Station. He was there for eight and a half years, then moved to Cutler Bay in 2003 when his late wife’s medical problems made it necessary for him to live closer to his grown children. He kept his hobby shop on Old Cutler Road near Publix for three and a half years before relocating to its present location.
A scale model of the limousine from the movie, The Godfather, complete with a miniature Marlon Brando, is one of many intriguing items.
Conner has been a member of the Train Collector’s Association since 1970, and although he has maintained a shop for 17 years, he says that it’s something he does mainly as a labor of love.
“I have to do it mostly as a hobby here,” Conner said. “You can’t really do it as a business.”
His shop, which is off the beaten path in a warehouse district near a Home Depot and other small specialty shops, carries lots of boxed model trains from Lionel, American Flyer and Ives, collectible die cast metal cars and some die cast planes. Visiting it is like a trip back in time. He’s open seven days a week and most of his customers are regulars who have been with him for years.
“Probably half of my business is stuff we order for people out of catalogs,” he said. “Over the years we built up quite a clientele.”
He also is very knowledgeable about old collectables according to his daughter, Marilyn Horne, and can appraise model trains and cars as well. Although he turns 81 in March, Conner still jogs every day to stay fit and the shop helps him keep active. He and his children all live within blocks of each other in Cutler Bay.
Hollywood Station is located at 19301 SW 106 Avenue, No. 9, and is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For information call 305-278-1669.