During the long, dark, cold days of winter, some hobbyists hide out in their she sheds and man caves building cars, planes and drones.
Durango Hobby opened in late December on Main Avenue in Durango to supply those crafty builders and to help those who are curious about drones and remote-control vehicles get started. The new shop also offers immersive escapes through virtual reality games.
Owner Evan Buchanan was inspired to open the shop after moving back home to Durango from Fort Collins where he fell in love with the RC cars.
Durango Hobby is intended to bring together the best of different types of hobby shops and ensure RC enthusiasts and VR gamers don’t have to drive to Farmington, he said.
Growing up in Durango, Buchanan saw how the town has plenty to offer those into sports and the outdoors, but for kids who aren’t drawn to those activities, it can be lacking, he said.
“I really wanted a place where Durango kids could go have fun,” he said.
While out driving his RC cars in town, he’s also attracted plenty of attention and questions, he said.
“So many people go: ‘Oh my God, where did you get that? I want one,” he said.
For those who are curious, the shop will rent vehicles to customers and allow them to drive the cars on two tracks in-house, he said. Buchanan built a desert course for smaller vehicles and a larger mountain course, he said.
A larger RC car is available for rent for $15 for the life of the first battery, which is typically 30 to 45 minutes, he said. Additional batteries are $5, he said.
The tracks are also open to those with their own vehicles who are looking for a place to drive in the winter for free, he said.
For anyone interested in learning to fly RC planes and drones, the shop has a free flight simulator to allow them to practice, he said.
Buchanan said he also wants to help grow the popularity of drones in town, so he is offering affordable models for beginners and custom-built drones, he said.
Custom builds can be much cheaper than comparable drone models from a manufacturer, he said. For example, the parts for a custom build can be in the $180 to $190 range compared to a manufactured model that can cost $300 to $400 for the same capability, he said.
For VR gamers, the shop has dedicated a room for customers to play a selection of 30 games for children and adults. Some games are more experiential and don’t require much interaction. The adult games include horror and escape room genres. The VR games can be played for $15 for 15 minutes, $25 for 30 minutes and $45 for an hour.
The shop also has a full-motion race car simulator available for 20 minutes for $15 and should be ready soon.
The shop at 1135 Main Ave. is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Durango Hobby can be reached at (970) 403-3247. The shop’s web address will be durangohobby.com. Customers may schedule VR game time online when the website is live.