A beloved hobby store is launching an online fundraiser to relocate after the owner of the location it has occupied for 65 years raised its rent.
Evett’s Model Shop has been a part of the Sunset Park neighborhood for more than 70 years and was founded by Colby Evett, who worked for the Donald Douglas Aircraft Company and used his engineering knowledge to help generations of locals build model and remote-control airplanes, rockets, cats and boats. Evett died in 2013, but his wife Yvonne and dedicated employees Luke Orrin and Gene Duarte have kept his legacy going.
But after Evett’s landlord raised the rent by a third, Yvonne, Orrin and Duarte thought they were left with no choice but to close up shop. They announced last November that the store would close by the end of 2019.
After an outpouring of support from the community, however, Evett’s launched a GoFundMe in late December asking for $50,000 to cover the expenses associated with relocating the business to a cheaper location in West Los Angeles. The shop has again launched an Indiegogo campaign to relocate and will be accepting donations through the end of March in exchange for models, classes and baked goods from Yvonne.
The services Evett’s provides to local families and hobbyists are irreplaceable, Orrin said.
“If you want to get kids off of their screens and doing something tactile, you can’t ask for something better than this,” he said. “It builds their skills and brings families together.”
Orrin said he and Duarte are willing to work hard to relocate the store but cannot do so without a cash cushion to cover moving and inventory expenses. If Evett’s does not receive enough money to move, the shop will close for good by early April.
“Whatever happens, we are super grateful to the community for all the years we’ve been here,” Orrin said. “We love our customer base and we’d love to continue the work we do, and if we can’t, it’s been an awesome run.”
Despite the financial challenges the store faces, Orrin is still thinking about ways to invigorate a new iteration of Evett’s. He said he hopes to bring in new, more unique products and hold interactive activities, such as model classes or birthday parties. The staff, inventory and overall feel of Evett’s would stay consistent, though.
Those ideas will only come to fruition if Evett’s has enough money to relocate, however, and Orrin said the Indiegogo campaign is off to a slow start.
“This campaign is as grassroots as it gets, so we need the community to spread the word,” he said.
For more information about the store or its plans, call (310) 452-2720 or visit https://www.facebook.com/evettsmodelshop or https://evettsmodelshop.com. The Indiegogo campaign is available at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/evett-s-model-shop#/.