Introducing 7th Street Shops Blog
We all came from somewhere. That pretty much makes "history" something in common with all of us. Good reason, perhaps, to dedicated this first page to a brief summary of where 7th Street Shops came from.
For his 4th birthday my younger brother got a train set. It was an HO Gilbert about like the ad shown here. I suppose my father, in his mid 20s, was intrigued by model trains and took the opportunity of his younger son's big day to explore the idea without the stygma of an adult "playing" with trains. He mounted the track onto a sheet of plywood and when we played with it it was laid on the floor. It didn't really last long as an operating layout - just a loop of track - and thereafter it slowly decayed away in the toy box. But I was taken by it.
Thereafter was the occasional encounter with a pastor / private school principle's box of Brio wooden trains and a plastic train set from the grocery store that I pushed around in the dirt of the back yard; there was no track to lay down, (I may be among the earliest garden railroaders). But the true start came when my bother and I received an HO trainset to go with our Aurora slot cars. The idea was to dodge the train but I soon lost interest in the cars,
I've done a lot of modeling since then.
I was raised by a rugged individual, do-it-yourself father, who turned out to have zero interest (much like my brother) in the hobby. I'm a craftsman and an artist because those are the virtues I was taught and have pursued. That isn't to say those things with pride but rather love and appreciation. And thankfulness.
But the details of that background aren't really anymore important than their summary; I sorta think I know what I'm doing and the rest I know how to figure out. This is about 7th Street Shops so let's skip ahead to 2009.
In the early weeks of 2009 I was laid off from the engineering company I worked for as the head of a small drafting department. Drafters, REAL drafters, are about like buggy whips; anybody are a drafter what can punch buttons on a keyboard or swipe at a liquid diode screen. There is NO craftsmanship in that, by the way. (Craftsmanship not being so much a badge as it is a fulfilment.) This left me without an income and a good friend and fellow modeler came up with a suggestion; paint models and install DCC Sound in Brass for other people. He was an Sn3 modeler at the time and had several nice brass models that he wanted to make noisy.
So I took him up on the suggestion and did several installs for him as well as others. I put out the word and Vicki built a website and became our webmaster. Those of you who have seen the old website might agree it was pretty striking. The Shops officially opened in July 2009.
Business picked up fairly but living in the Denver metro area became progressively more expensive and neither of us had day jobs. As things got tighter it became apparent we needed to relocate. I began to get work from NorthWest Short Line. That company had recently been purchased by Dave and Lynda Rygmyr and they had moved it from the Seattle area to western Montana - barely 30 minutes from Precision Scale models. It turned out NWSL had a lot of repair work. In early 2010 we started talking about a regular exchange and it soon became apparent that working remote was inconvenient. Dave and I discussed how 7th Street Shops might move to Hamilton and a visit in late March made it clear this was our best option.
Hamilton is a small town in the far west of the State. It was at that time considerably cheaper than Denver free of the metro / urban hassle and downright friendly. So we moved 7th Street Shops to Montana in September of 2010. The company was first located in a large apartment in Hamilton. In September of 2011 we moved to the Grove Street location and operated the business out of the basement of that home.
Our relationship with NWSL was that of a contractor. We were never a part of that company nor were we employed, But I was often involved in some of the product developing and presentation. However the real work was a steady flow of model misfits and incorrigibles. This went on to the point where we finally narrowed our services to just Brass models. That became the policy of both companies.
7th Street Shops continued with its own flow of work even as we covered NWSL. The volume and reputation grew to where at one point we had a 3 year waiting list. That proved unmanageable and potential clients began turning to other serviced. I briefly look for help from local modelers but there really wasn't anyone either willing or capable of doing the work. Nor was I willing to contract remotely. So while we didn't turn away work we didn't really pursue it either. Thus, 7th Street Shops has always been a one man operation.
In late 2017 Lynda Rygmyr passes away after a relatively short and tragic bout with cancer. Her passing changed NWSL considerably and Dave decided to sell the company. This was a rather sad part of our history as Lynda was the true spirit of NWSL. Eventually Lynda's cousin, Holly Storm and her husband Ian, bought the company and moved it to Kyla MT. At that point 7th Street Shops ended its working relationship with NWSL but continues to be an associate. Today you will find our contact information on their new Website and we still accept work thru their contact..
Last fall we were informed that our location was to be sold and we would have to find a new location. By this point Hamilton had been "discovered". The housing market had exploded and homes that were only a few hundred thousand had escalated to half a million and beyond. On a track similar to Aspen, Telluride an Sedona the elite have discovered a quaint mountain town that they will take from people who have lived here their whole lived. We did find another place and while it is costing us more our new shops are better than they have ever been.
At the same time our old website came to the end because the old technology it was built upon simply became obsolete. We are in the process of building the new site so we must ask that you be patient as we slowly built a new site. We briefly had a business facebook page in 2018 -19. That was primarily Vicki's idea but I don't - and will not - have a facebook page so my participation was very limited. It is our hope a blog tied to the website will offer a place where ideas and information can be exchanged.
Welcome to the new 7th Street Shops.