Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Uniform Town USA - All Uniform Wear (former Hobbytown USA) - West Melbourne, FL

All Uniform Wear, as it's name suggests, specializes in uniform wear, primarily for the medical field and for private & charter schools. They're a weirdly scattershot chain- there's a swath of stores spread across Florida, and, bizarrely, one each in North Carolina (Charlotte), Nevada (Henderson), and Texas (San Antonio). This location was originally located in a generic strip center, farther up the road, before moving to this building, a former Hobbytown USA, in 2019.

Credit: @HobbytownWestMelbourne

Let's talk about that location, by the way. While I'd visited the store a few times, I never took photos, so these photos will be sourced from various other places. The store was a nice little place, and the closest chain hobby store unless you wanted to drive to Viera to visit Hobby Lobby, which had an arguably worse selection for actual model kits and supplies. However, it did have one crippling flaw.

Credit: Google Maps
Location, location, location. While the store faces US-192, it doesn't have a direct access to it. To get to the store, you have to drive into what ostensibly is the entrance to the CW Theaters behind it, and then drive in around the back of the store. It's the most baffling layout I've ever seen, and I imagine it in no small part contributed to the store's closure.

Credit: Yelp
Inside, the store was fairly generic- most of the walls were filled with merchandise, and not much decor.

Credit: Yelp
The store seemed to be focused towards RC vehicles of all kinds, but had a decent variety of items.

Switching over to my photos now, we can see the interior of the store. The front of the store is home to a large amount of medical clothing. A sign for the fitting rooms installed by All Uniform Wear can also be seen to the left.

This section shows one of the shop's more distinct sections, selling specially embroidered clothing for local charter, private, and religious schools. You can also see some generic displays of backpacks- I wonder how quiet this section gets outside the school months.

Less specifically branded but still ever-present in dress code tan khakis have taken over this department, along the back right corner.

I think this is the department I see in my nightmares.

A display of labcoats also lurks amongst the majority of hospital clothing. (You don't use labcoats in medical settings, do you? Well, unless it's a medical lab).

More clothing racks fill the majority of the floor.

Fitting Rooms on the other side of the building

A view of the embroidery counter at the back of the store; I'm not sure what this area was during HobbyTown's stint here, and I doubt All Uniform Wear carved it out themselves.

Now, while there is a very nice HobbyTown label scar on the back of the building, I was unfortunately unable to get a photo. So, I guess that's it for now.

This was Cape Kennedy Retail, signing off in 3... 2... 1...


  1. Judging by the amount of cars in front of the All Uniform Wear in the photo of it and the amount of cars in the photo of the HobbyTown USA, it seems that the uniform store might be more successful. Granted, perhaps the current pandemic might be driving up the interest in medical garments.

    I really don't know much about uniform stores other than to say that we have quite a few of them here in Houston. I know more about HobbyTown USA though so I'll focus on that. It seems that I've been able to tie many recent AFB/MFR topics to Best Products and/or McDuff Appliance and Electronics. Well, I'm not entirely sure how I can tie HobbyTown to Best Products, but HobbyTown is most certainly connected to McDuff!

    Many years ago, I'm guessing this was around 1993, we had a HobbyTown USA across the street from Willowbrook Mall here in Houston. It was in The Commons shopping center which had at the time a McDuff Electronics, Bookstop, Phar-Mor, Children's Palace (a Toys R Us competitor), and a whole lot more. Interestingly enough, there was a sporting goods big box store at The Commons at that time called Sportstown USA. I don't think HobbyTown USA and Sportstown USA were related other than that they both lacked creativity in naming themselves, lol.

    I didn't have much reason to shop at HobbyTown then or now, but my brother was into R/C cars at the time and he shopped at HobbyTown. Through that connection, I learned that HobbyTown sold a super glue called Zap-A-Gap that was some seriously strong stuff. A quick search of the current HobbyTown website shows that they still sell Zap-A-Gap.

    Well, I suppose HobbyTown wasn't selling enough glue because the location across from Willowbrook Mall closed not too long after it opened and I didn't think of the chain again until the last few years. In recent times, HobbyTown opened a store (I believe their stores are franchised) in the powercenter next to the West Oaks Mall in Houston*. West Oaks is a comatose mall not unlike what I hear about the West Oaks Mall in Orlando, but the powercenter does pretty well. A couple of years ago, I learned that some HobbyTown stores were adding RadioShack Express departments to their store and that the Houston location was getting a RadioShack Express. This was great news because all of our corporate RadioShack stores closed nationwide and we didn't have any RadioShack franchise stores here in town. The RadioShack Expresses really only sold electronic parts, but that's stuff which is useful to me.

    A local newspaper did a story about the RadioShack Express after it opened and the owners of the Hobbytown store said it was driving a lot of new traffic to the store. I suppose that wasn't enough to sustain it though as the store closed sometime in 2019 it seemed or maybe even late 2018. Houston no longer has a HobbyTown or any kind of RadioShack presence once again, but it looks like there are still HobbyTowns with RadioShack Expresses in other major Texas cities. I'm not sure if the former store in Florida had a RadioShack Express department or not.

    Now, of course, Radio Shack/Tandy owned McDuff during their days as a national retailer. I was just on the RadioShack Wikipedia page and it said that in 2009, they were considering moving their headquarters to Tampa. They decided to stay in Ft. Worth, Texas, however. While Tandy/RadioShack had a Florida connection via McDuff and VideoConcepts, who knew they were thinking of being a Florida-based retailer?

    * - An interesting aside about the Houston West Oaks Mall is that the former Sears there was located a former Saks Fifth Avenue. When Sears took over the Saks, they opened it as a softlines-only location! Eventually, Sears did expand the store and turned it into a normal full-line store. But, yeah, for a short time we had a Sears which had no Kenmore, DieHard, or Craftsman products, but it did sell McKids McDonald's themed clothing!

  2. That is a super crazy location setup! That reminds me of a Rest Area off of I-10 in the Panhandle. You have to drive a half mile off the interstate to get to it!

    Anyway I'm glad you were able to find photos of when Hobby Town was there. Hobby Town would have been a lot more fun for me than a uniform store, but oh well.