A boy points to some of the model planes in Evetts Model Shop.

2018 had more ups and downs for Evett’s Model Shop than the remote controlled helicopters they sell at the store.

The store celebrated its 70th anniversary in the early part of the year but then announced plans to close after a rent hike left them without an affordable storefront. However, after decades of providing stocking stuffers for generations of locals, the store has given loyal customers one more Christmas present with a new plan to crowdfund a move to a new location.

The company publicized its decision in a Dec. 24 Facebook post. Just one month earlier a plan to move the store to a nearby location had fallen through and closure seemed imminent given a steep rent increase from their current landlord.

“People were borderline inconsolable about the idea [of Evett’s closing],” Evett’s employee Luke Orrin said. “We have a lot of regular customers here…second and third generation people who remember the 1950s when this place moved to this location from Pico Boulevard. People have been shopping here for basically their entire lives.”

The shop now hopes to move to a new venue with a cheaper lease “as nearby as we can keep it.” It has launched a GoFundMe page and hopes to raise $50,000 to cover moving fees, inventory and other expenses.

Orrin said he is hopeful that customers will back Evett’s campaign to stay in business.

“The community seems really into it. If they want to get behind it and show their support, then it’s worth a try,” he said.

At the new site, Orrin hopes to bring new products and activities to the community. He said he wants to balance modernizing to keep up with increasing competition from online retailers with a desire to preserve the sense of “nostalgia” Evett’s elicits from customers.

To that end, the new location will still feature the same staff and inventory similar to the Ocean Park Avenue site. But Orrin also hopes to expand to include interactive activities for students to learn to build models or host birthday parties.

“I think that would be a cool way to make this shop a little more indispensable,” Orrin said. “I’m also going to strive to find new products and new inventory items that we can stock here that will be really unique.”

Store founder Colby Evett was part of the city’s early aeronautics industry working as a plant foreman at the Donald Douglas Aircraft Company for 13 years. He eventually left the aircraft industry to work in the store full time and the work was more than a hobby for him.

Evett earned a reputation as a pioneer in the emerging field of radio control. He acquired a ham radio license and helped develop the technology that created flyable model airplanes. He died in 2013 from complications from pneumonia and his wife Yvonne took over management duties. For years the store employees Luke Orrin and Gene Duarte have kept Colby’s creative legacy alive with Orrin focused on RC vehicles and Duarte managing the model business.

For more information about the store or its plans, call (310) 452-2720, visit, https://www.facebook.com/evettsmodelshop or https://evettsmodelshop.com.

editor@smdp.com

 

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