Haven for hobbyists: Planes, cars, dolls, boats and more fill Dansey's Hobbies

A 6 -foot rocket hangs from the ceiling. Skateboard decks are next to upscale coloring books. The back wall is stacked from floor to ceiling with models ranging from tanks to the Titanic. Dansey's Hobbies at 4252 E. Charleston Blvd. has everything but the kitchen sink. Actually, in a case near the front of the store, it has that, too. In fact, there's a whole selection of tiny kitchen sinks and other household items.

"They come in three scales, but we mostly carry the 1-inch (equals 1 foot) size," said Judy Lugo, who owns Dansey's Hobbies with her husband David Lugo. "That's the most popular size."

Dansey's Hobbies has been in town for 16 years and at its current location a little more than three years. The business was inspired by David Lugo's interest in remote-control cars and boats.

"The technology keeps changing," he said. "We used to deal with a lot of gas-powered cars, but electrics are a lot more popular now. The batteries have gotten really good and reliable."

He had worked in retail clothing and ran a few stores in Queens, N.Y., before he and his wife moved to Las Vegas. What started as a weekend business operated out of the since-shuttered Gemco Indoor Swap Meet soon grew into a full-time business, with a location on the corner of Bonanza Road and Nellis Boulevard. When they began looking for a new space, the Lugos found the current location.

"We chose this space for the visibility," Judy Lugo said. "Also, for the visibility."

David Lugo added that aside from the visibility, the building recently had been renovated following a fire, so everything was new, which meant better lighting and air conditioning. They also were seeking a location that was more centrally located and conducive to business.

"I don't think we'd still be in business if we hadn't moved," David Lugo said. "Even with the economy tanking, we're hanging in there still."

The 4,000-square-foot store carries supplies for a wide range of hobbies, with everything from fancy dollhouses and paint-by-number sets to scientific equipment and gas-powered motors.

"We're not just a boy's hobby store, and we're not just a girl's hobby store," Judy Lugo said. "We have a big cross section of people that come through that door. We have kids coming in to get things to work on school projects, and we have older gentlemen who build wooden ships and everything in between."

With summer under way, they're seeing a lot of parents coming in looking for something to keep their children engaged and busy.

"Just because it's summer doesn't mean they should turn their brains off," Judy Lugo said. "With the stuff they get here, they learn mechanics, how to read and follow instructions and how to use tools."

David Lugo is a strong proponent of hobbies as a tool for education and enrichment.

"It keeps them off the street and off the computers," he said. "If you left most kids alone, they'd be on the Internet or playing video games morning and night."

One of the Lugos' favorite parts of the job is the people they meet and serve. "There's a beauty school in town, and one of their projects they have is to build a little model salon," David Lugo said. "There's a guy who comes in here who's building a 7-foot model of the Titanic in his house."

"I don't know how he's going to get that out of his house," Judy Lugo said.

Dansey's Hobbies is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit danseys.com or call 453-7223.

Contact Sunrise and Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 380-4532.