Fourth-generation hobby store helps St. Louisans stay busy while staying at home

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SUNSET HILLS, Mo. – With shelter in place orders for many, time spent indoors can be cause for cabin fever. But one St. Louis business is keeping hobby and craft enthusiasts busy.

Schaefer’s Hobby Shop in Sunset Hills is a fourth-generation, family-owned business that is trying to keep folks entertained while they’re at home.

“Yeah, always in times when the country is struggling and there’s time of panic wondering what’s going on in the world, it seems like people turn to hobbies because they’re safe spots for them,” says Art Schaefer, store owner. “Maybe in the basement, that train layout or model kit they haven’t put it together for several years. All that stuff seems to be coming out. “

But when customers can’t browse the aisles looking for what they want, this business stepped outside to deliver.

Since 1946, this St. Louis hobby shop has been about keeping people occupied. Whether it’s puzzles or planes, paints and jewelry or art, Schaefer understands the importance of projects.

“Long pieces of straight rubber used for model airplanes,” Schaefer says. “They would put them inside the airplane and wind them up and then throw them. That is what contest rubber is used for and now we’re selling it like crazy for making surgical masks.”

And being open for business is a welcome sight for many.

“We’re happy to provide for all these people, give them something to do in these tough times,” says Don Lash, who’s worked at Schaefer’s for 22 years.

And the resourcefulness of the St. Louis community and customers to this now curbside pick-up business is showing up in ways where some are trying to help others.

“We just had a hospital call us,” says Schaeffer. “They’re buying electronic speed controllers. They’re taking CPAP machines and converting them into respirators. Especially for doctors who are looking at patients. That way they have a mask on and they can control the speed of the fan so it’s not blowing too much or too little. So, I think that really shows us what kind of world we’re living in right now.”


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