Founded in 1980 with the purchase of the original HobbyTown store that had been operating since 1946 in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, HobbyTown began franchising in 1986 and has grown to a chain with more than 100 stores across 39 states. Wilke started his career as a franchise owner, eventually rising through the ranks to become president of the company.
During the conversation, Albritton and Wilke discuss the evolution of brick-and-mortar retail and the shift to an omnichannel system. Wilke shares insight into how HobbyTown — with its expanded mix of products including RC vehicles, trains, rockets, models, toys, and games — helps to support its franchisees in their efforts to build and maintain relationships with customers through the heart of the business: the community-building activities that HobbyTown promotes.
Adventure Media and Events (AM&E) is the publisher of the Toy Book, the Toy Insider, and the Pop Insider. Composed of an editorial team with more than 75 years of combined experience in the toy and entertainment industries, AM&E publications provide consumers, press, and trade audiences with the latest news and updates on all things play and pop culture.