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Franchise 500 2023
2023 Franchise 500 Rank
N/R Not ranked last year
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Initial investment
$323K - $588K
Units as of 2022
109 Decrease 12% over 3 years

Thomas Walla, Merlin Hayes, and Mary Hayes opened a small hobby store in 1969. Then, in 1980, they bought out HobbyTown, a competing store. They began franchising in 1986 and, since then, HobbyTown has grown into the largest brick-and-mortar hobby retailer in the industry, with over 100 franchise locations across the U.S.

HobbyTown franchises operate on four core values to deliver the best possible customer experience. Among these four values, franchisees and their employees are expected to lead and serve, cultivate growth, bring it every day, and most importantly, keep calm and hobby on.

Why You May Want toStart a HobbyTown Franchise

Executive members and leaders within the HobbyTown brand are vested shareholders in the company. That being said, they want franchisees to do well and will give you the tools to run a business. With corporate backing, a turn-key operating system, and close connections with other HobbyTown stores, you'll have ample support.

HobbyTown's training takes place both onsite at a mentoring store and through Hobby University at company headquarters. Their field team will continue your training for three weeks prior to your store's opening day. HobbyTown's service team takes over when pre-launch training ends. They will provide ongoing support with IT, accounting, sales, marketing, inventory management and purchasing, and financial analysis. 

What Might Make a HobbyTown Franchise a Good Choice?

To open a HobbyTown store, you will need to be prepared to invest financially, which will include a franchise fee. Your total investment will depend on your store's size, build-out requirements, and starting inventory. On inventory, HobbyTown makes sure that you stock the best products for your local area. Using point-of-sale and online data, corporate experience, and vendor relationships, inventory is well-mixed and constantly changing to keep your store fresh and exciting for a wide range of customers. 

HobbyTown offers a few ways to get the most out of your store, including the choice to become an official retailer of RadioShack Express merchandise. When your store is listed as a retailer on, you may experience additional sales and new customers. Sales go beyond the physical location, as well. Customers can order products from your online store. There may also be an opportunity to expand to a multi-unit franchise. 

You may be wondering why opening a HobbyTown is a good idea with such a strong presence from online retailers like Amazon. Fortunately, HobbyTown has national brand awareness as a locally-owned store. The company uses this label to its advantage, offering competitive prices and reliable customer service.

How Do You Start a HobbyTown Franchise?

When looking to start a HobbyTown franchise,, it would be a good idea to scout different locations. Learn as much as you can about the brand and check your local community to match the market need. 

Franchisees will attend a discovery day at HobbyTown's corporate headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska. Here, they will learn more about the opportunity and get ready to invest and sign documents. With continual company support, soon enough, you'll be helping customers do the things they love and maybe even finding new hobbies for yourself along the way.

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Company Overview

About HobbyTown

Industry Retail
Related Categories Miscellaneous Retail Businesses
Founded 1969
Parent Company HobbyTown Unlimited Inc.
Leadership Bob Wilke, President
Corporate Address 1133 Libra Dr.
Lincoln, NE 68512
Social Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Business Overview

Franchising Since 1986 (37 years)
# of employees at HQ 45
Where seeking

This company is offering new franchisees throughout the US.

This company is offering new franchisees in the following international regions: Australia/New Zealand, Canada

# of Units 109 (as of 2022)

Information for Franchisees

Here's what you need to know if you're interested in opening a HobbyTown franchise.

Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees

Here's what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.

Initial Franchise Fee Information Circle
Initial Investment Information Circle
$323,000 - $587,500
Net Worth Requirement Information Circle
Cash Requirement Information Circle
$100,000 - $200,000
Veteran Incentives Information Circle
$10,000 off franchise fee
Royalty Fee Information Circle
Ad Royalty Fee Information Circle
Term of Agreement Information Circle
10 years
Is franchise term renewable? Yes
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Financing Options

Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.

In-House Financing HobbyTown offers in-house financing to cover the following: franchise fee
Third Party Financing HobbyTown has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: startup costs, equipment, inventory

Training & Support Offered

Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.

On-The-Job Training 131 hours
Classroom Training 32 hours
Ongoing Support
Purchasing Co-ops
Meetings & Conventions
Grand Opening
Online Support
Security & Safety Procedures
Lease Negotiation
Field Operations
Site Selection
Proprietary Software
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
Co-op Advertising
Ad Templates
Social Media
Website Development
Email Marketing
Loyalty Program/App


Additional details about running this franchise.

Is absentee ownership allowed? Yes
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit? Information Circle
Can this franchise be run part time? Information Circle
# of employees required to run 4
Are exclusive territories available? Information Circle
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Franchise 500 Ranking History

Compare where HobbyTown landed on this year's Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.

Additional Rankings

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The information on this page is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation of any particular franchise or business opportunity by Entrepreneur Media. Our listings and rankings are solely research tools you can use to compare opportunities. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing in a franchise or business opportunity. That should include reviewing the company's legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to former and current franchisees/licensees/dealers.
Updated: December 12th, 2022