Willis Hobbies has been serving the community as 
Long Island’s favorite hobby shop since 1949.

OUR HISTORY

For over 70 years, Willis Hobbies has been one of the most revered and popular hobby shops on Long Island. While the shop has moved to 5 different locations over its storied history, it never lost its appeal and the devotion of hobbyists around the world.

Willis Hobbies was first established in 1949 by German machinist, Karl Boehringer. Its first 700sqft store was located at 307 Willis Avenue and specialized in remote control trains. As Willis Hobbies gained in popularity, Karl expanded the store and introduced model airplanes, slot kits, and model kits.

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Willis Hobbies Hobby shop

Our History

1949-1951:

Willis Hobbies began as a hobby shop and machine shop by a German machinist named Karl in a 700 square foot store at 307 Willis Ave. The store specialized in Lionel and American Flyer Trains.

1951-1970:

Karl expanded the shop to include model airplanes, slot cars and model kits. The store was moved to a 1,000 square foot building on Hillside Ave in Williston Park.

1970:

Willis Hobbies was purchased by Alfred Ford who was an avid model railroader. Along with his wife Peggy, Sons Steven and Ken and daughter Linda. It was truly a family run store with the whole family behind the counter.

Willis Hobbies
Inside Willis Hobbies

1971-1988:

Willis Hobbies on the move again to Mineola Blvd. The store doubled in size added a Radio Control department and hand crafted brass trains

1988-1998:

Another move to 285 Willis Ave., a 3,000 square foot store. Al Ford retired and sons Steve and Ken took over. Radio controlled races were held in the parking lot.

1998-Present:

Moved into our current 12,000 square foot building located at 300 Willis Ave. We are now one of the largest hobby shops in the country. Run by Steve and Ken Ford with over 45 years of hobby experience. Please come to our shop to experience friendly expert service in a family oriented fun place.

After 20 years,

Toys inside Willis Hobbies

Karl retired from the business and left Willis Hobbies to one of his most ardent patrons, model train hobbyist and real estate broker, Alfred Ford. In 1984, Al left the store in the hands of his sons Steven and Ken, who were natural hobby enthusiasts. While Steve specialized in model trains and drones, Ken was more adroit in knowledge of radio-controlled cars, boats and planes. 

The Ford brothers moved on after over 35 years as operators of Willis Hobbies, leaving the shop in good hands to long time employee Jay Siegel. Jay knew every product at Willis Hobbies both inside and out and was well-respected within the hobby community. Under Jay’s direction and leadership, Willis Hobbies will continue to offer the same nostalgic feel of a brick and mortar store, while becoming one of the fastest growing e-commerce stores servicing the globe.

Come on down to Willis Hobbies for all your RC and model needs!

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Our Customers Are Saying

Great place and atmosphere. You can absolutely come here for products. They have a solid line up of RC goodies. Where they excel, however, is in their expertise and patience with customers. Come in here with any RC question/problem and they will happily walk you through the solution

Joseph Morelli

I have never seen such a great selection and helpful professional staff like the folks over at Willis Hobbies. I drove over 2 hours from upstate NY to find a truck that no other hobby shop had in stock and they weren't very friendly about letting me know when one would arrive. One phone call to Willis Hobbies and the confident professionalism on the other end was great. They had some still in stock and held it for me till i arrived. Once I got there i was shocked by the selection. From trains to RC to models they had it all. Prices were better than I seen by me and once again the staff was just great. I will definitely be back in the future!

Billy Thakid

Everyone at Willis Hobbies is awesome. So helpful and always a call away.

Stephanie Kelly


This should be the gold standard for hobbie shops, Fantastic place, great, friendly, honest and helpful staff. Place is beautifully setup and displayed perfectly. I bought a traxxas maxx and its great, they even told me i can use my 3s batteries if i didnt have enough for the 4s, anywhere else would had tried to forced you to buy 4s batteries (like Bruckner Hobbies)If you come to this shop you will never go anywhere else ever again AAAA+++

Anthony Aponte