Way of the Entrepreneur: Hobby World

Sep 24, 2007

The Burke family at their new shop, Hobby WorldDoyle Burke believes in doing his homework. Burke and his wife Tracy are the proprietors of Hobby World, the new Valley Plaza hobby supply center that’s been generating a major buzz throughout the Poplar Bluff area. Slot car and electric train enthusiasts, artists and crafters, model builders and scrapbookers, families and teachers, take note: You no longer need to trek to the ends of the earth—or to Cape Girardeau, for that matter—for the supplies you need to make the most of your work or play.

That’s because Doyle Burke has combined extensive business experience with a knack for research to tailor Hobby World to the needs of local consumers.

Burke returned to Poplar Bluff from Nashville in 1993, having garnered decades of management experience with two major retail chains. After working in various capacities on his return, Burke began seriously rethinking an idea that, as a slot car racing buff, he’d had for years: to set up a hobby shop right here in the Bluff.

First he noted that Tracy Burke, a teacher then working toward her education degree, was forced to travel regularly to Sikeston and Cape Girardeau for supplies. “It seemed there were no resources in Poplar Bluff.” recalled Burke. Indeed, he learned that the local teaching community in general had worn a deep trail to these distant outposts in search of classrooom materials.

From there, Burke began studying online resources. He got input from local artists, hobbyists, crafters, and children like stepsons Gannon and Connor, who had a keen interest in the “building toys”, like Lincoln Logs and Lego blocks. The boys confirmed for Burke that some items never go out of style.

Burke’s legwork ultimately led to the creation of Hobby World, which features a cheerful blend of goodies from yesteryear and today. There are Tinker Toys, kites, and balsawood gliders, still powered largely by imagination; then there are monster radio-control trucks and buggies that can do 60 mph on a paint-peeling nitro-concoction for 2-stroke engines. In between, there’s a great variety of puzzles, model kits, train sets, race cars, doll houses, and amazingly detailed accessories as well.

Quilters, candle makers, embroiderers, calligraphers, and other creative sorts will certainly wish to explore Hobby World’s many offerings. If an item is not in-store, a side-table laden with catalogues ensures that the best effort will be made to hunt down “that special something” a customer needs.

Doyle Burke is excited about the fact that Hobby World’s treasures encourage “building, modeling, being creative, doing things with your hands”. He clearly agrees with the age-old belief that “getting there” is half the fun. 

For more information on what’s to be found at Hobby World, including gift certificates, stop in at 781 N. Westwood Blvd., Valley Plaza Shopping Center, or call 686-1211.

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