Does Anybody Remember Science Hobbies on Central Avenue in Charlotte?

I will always remember purchasing my first telescope from Science Hobbies in Charlotte, during the mid-70’s.  Science Hobbies was a small hobby store that sold products mostly from Edmund Scientific.  They always had a big 8-inch Edmund f/6 with a massive equatorial mount sitting in the front window.   

 

My first telescope was an Edmund 4 1/4-inch f/10, equatorially mounted reflector, however, I really wanted the larger 6-inch Super Space Conqueror. I had to settle for the smaller scope, due to the extra cost of the 6-inch.  My budget was very limited at that time….to say the least!  

Throughout the years, I always enjoyed going to Science Hobbies.  It was fun to see and feel many of the products from Edmund.  Other than my telescope, I bought a few eyepieces, a pedestal mounted eyepiece holder and other astronomy related equipment.  

I also purchased “The Finest Deep-Sky Objects” by Mullaney and McCall, an Edmund Mag 5 Star Atlas, and all of those fabulous astronomy books written for Edmund by Sam Brown and Terence Dickinson.  

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It was a Saturday afternoon, back in the late 90’s, when my wife, Debbie and myself decided to visit Science Hobbies, as so many times before.    

But this time it was different…

We drove into the parking lot, something did not seem right, there was no telescope sitting in the window.  The rusty sign that had been hanging over the front door for many years was missing.  I got out of the car and pressed my nose on the front door.  Oh no…..the store was empty!  The store had closed!  

The last time I had been there, one of the clerks told me that business had been slow.  This concerned me a bit, and on that day, I was the only person in the store.

I really miss that place, spending time and looking at astronomy equipment “live” and not on the pages of a catalog.  Retail stores are having a difficult time these days, regardless of what they sell.  It’s really hard to compete with the internet, and mail order.  

If you have problems via mail order it can be quite difficult having to box up a defective product.  I had to return two Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes quite a few years ago.  One would not focus, and the other had a serious problem with the drive.  It would have been great if I could have checked them out in a store before taking them home.    

The good thing….all major astronomy equipment vendors online have excellent return policies, should there be a problem, or if the product does not meet your expectations.   

All of my astronomy purchases are now online, since the closing of Science Hobbies, which has now been over twenty-five years.   However, I still miss those Saturday afternoons, looking at astronomy equipment.  

Roger Ivester

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