The end of the line is fast approaching for a shop which has served model rail and craft kit enthusiasts for almost half a century.
Business is being scaled down at the Model and Craft Centre on Dewsbury Road at Wakefield as owner Stuart Buckley prepares to retire after 45 years.
Mr Buckley, 60, expects to close for the final time next month after all remaining miniature rolling stock has been sold off.
He has been unable to sell the once thriving business as a going concern as the recession, and changing tastes, have taken their toll on the model and craft industry.
Mr Buckley, said: “We have customers who came in as children who now come in with their grandchildren.
“People have expressed shock and sadness when they hear we are closing. Customers are almost crying in their beer. I didn’t expect there to be such a strength of feeling.”
Customer of 20 years and model rail enthusiast Chris Standring, 51, of Normanton, said: “It is a tragic shame.
“It has been a vital shop to get all the supplies we need for our hobby.
“It will be a very sad day when it closes.”
Mr Buckley said: “When I started in 1968 our customers were aged from five-years-old to 85. Gradually our customers have got older and older and now I would say the vast bulk of them are retired people. Interests have moved on. At one time, fathers and sons built models together. I still get some children coming in, but they are the minority.”
His parents Richard and Audrey Buckley started the shop on Dewsbury Road as a DIY and hardware store in 1953.
As a youngster, Mr Buckley was fascinated by model railways. When he left school aged 15, his father suggested selling a small amount of model railway kit in the shop.
The business flourished and expanded to sell plastic car, boat and aeroplane craft kits; dolls houses and furniture; military figures; Scalextric sets; clock making kits and matchstick and wooden models.
Mr Buckley said: “In 45 years of trading we have gone through recessions before. I can remember thinking recession, what recession? It really didn’t affect us because people still spent money on their hobbies. But this recession has been much harder.”
He added: “I have worked here all my adult life. I will miss it, but I’m ready for moving on. When I lock the door for the last time there will no doubt be a tinge of sadness.”
Michael Parkinson, 60, started work in the shop aged 16 in 1969. He said: “I will be sad when the shop closes. It has been a big part of my life.”