Custom-made model trains have become the vehicles for success for Ron and Jamie Hunter.
In 2006, Ron Hunter, 56, started experimenting with building and designing of trains in his garage. Soon, he was getting orders from neighbors. This motivated him to leave his job as a contractor and handyman and become a full-time craftsman.
The Hunters’ company, Hunter Railway Systems Inc., was originally based in Rancho Cordova, Calif., but in the last month has moved to Las Vegas. They say they wanted to position themselves in a environment with better opportunities.
“There has been a phenomenal response from the local community. The chamber of commerce already stopped by to welcome us,” said Jamie Hunter, 53. “People keep asking us when we are going to be hiring.”
Keeping the tradition of playing and making trains alive is very important to the Hunters.
“Most people consider it an overwhelming hobby that it is too expensive, and it doesn’t have to be,” Jamie Hunter said.
The company caters to the needs of their clients and will build anything from small to large. They also offer anything from indoor enclosed systems to outdoor expansive systems. In 2011, the Hunters worked with Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., to commemorate Walt Disney’s love for trains.
The Hunters pay great attention to detail. All of their pieces are handmade upon ordering and are all marked with a unique number to track customers’ purchases. All blueprints are kept in case items need to be rebuilt or modified.
Giving children access to be able to play with model versions of the trains that helped build America is also another important aspect that the Hunters want to focus more on.
“We want to get more children interested in playing with trains instead of being in front of a screen playing video games. This helps children develop their critical thinking skills,” Jamie Hunter said. “We have also noticed that children with autism react positively to trains.”
The Hunters boasts a clientele from Disney to the average Joe. They say that the source of their revenue is split 50/50 between commercial and residential projects.
The Hunters see a bright future ahead. They have big goals and hope to spread their love for trains to locals and tourists.
“Within a year or so, we want to have a store, event center and arcade. We also will be offering classes on how to operate steam-operated models. We have very lofty goals, this is very important to us. Trains are becoming a dying hobby,” Jamie Hunter said.
The couple has been married for more than 11 years but still approach their business with childlike wonder.
“If you want something, we will build it,” Ron Hunter said.
Contact Review-Journal writer Paulina Rojas at email@example.com or 702 383-0206. Follow her on Twitter: @PerpetuallyPau