CASH MOB COMING TO GOLD COAST HOBBY ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
September 8, 2016 -- Walk into Gold Coast Hobby at 8 Railroad Avenue in Glen Head and you're suddenly transported back to a childhood that many long for but thought was long gone in this age of I-Phones, Minecraft, Playstation, and playdates. Here - model airplanes and cars, paints, glue, pinewood derby kits and parts, train sets and rockets, among countless other crafts and tools fill the small storefront that has had a home in Glen Head for three decades - opening in 1986 on Glen Head Road near the hardware store before moving to its current home four years later.
"Because of my background, I always had an interest in this sort of thing," says owner Charlie Gonder who spent 23 years as an engineer for an electronics company, much of that time travelling around the U.S. and overseas giving lectures. "I also wanted to be a history teacher and work with kids," he continues, "and this is the closest I got to it."
But family was the greatest motivating factor. "It was something my wife, Dorothy, and I could do together and I wanted to see my kids grow up," he says.
The majority of his customers, Mr. Gonder explains, are adults whose passion for hobbies and crafts continues to keep them young at heart, and who often try to spark in their own children that interest that had so enriched their own childhoods.
While some interests have come and gone, people's love of rockets and trains has never died out, Mr. Gonder says. "It's just the technology that has changed" - in particular with the impact of computers.
Part of the job that Mr. Gonder enjoys most is helping students.
"The school year is the best," because I get to help kids with their projects," he says.
And anyone locally who has had a child in Cub Scouts has probably paid a visit to Gold Coast Hobby, where Mr. Gonder is quick to help with weighting a pinewood derby car to maximize its speed and placing it on his scale to make sure its at the legal limit.
Mr. Gonder has not only given a helping hand to young people in the area, but also to American troops. A Marine Corps veteran himself, who served in Vietnam in 1967 and 68, during the Tet Offensive, and a 33 year member of American Legion Post 336 in Glen Head, he has for more than a decade supported a project known as the Baghdad Hobby Club, through which models and craft supplies are sent to American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afganistan to provide an engaging diversion to pass time during their very limited "free time."
Locally, he and Dorothy volunteer at the polls on election day, something he began doing during the 2012 power outage caused by Superstorm Sandy.
"You have to give back," he says. "Everybody should be giving back something."
Competition from the internet and big box stores, as well as the changing technology that has so changed childhood, have taken their toll on hobby shops and they have been slowly disappearing from the suburban landscape. In 1986, there were 22 hobby shops across Nassau County. Now, Mr. Gonder's is only one of four.
This Saturday, September 10, a cash mob, organized by local businesswoman and Corresponding Secretaryof the Glen Head Glenwood Business Association, Deb Gordon, will be targeting Gold Coast Hobby.
Recognizing that a thriving business district is one of the fundamental pillars on which a strong community rests, Ms Gordon, has launched similar events within the greater Glen Head, Glenwood, Sea Cliff area.
Organized in advance, with the message spread by word of mouth, social media and local news outlets, cash mobbers choose to descend on a particular business on a particular day to make purchases. The cash mob does not simply bring about a one day boost to a local store or restaurant, but can often lead to sustained growth in customer base as the practice results in many people being introduced to an outstanding business that had previously been overlooked.
Ms. Gordon has created a Facebook group page (The North Shore Cash Mobs - Glen Head - Glenwood Landing - Sea Cliff) which announces upcoming cash mobs and gives local business the opportunity to advertise. It also lays down the ground rules.
1. The mob date and meeting location must be announced at least a week in advance via Twitter, Facebook, or media.
2. The amount to spend will not be more than $20, although people can spend more if they wish.
3. The business must have products that cost less than $20, and that it is best to have items for both men and women.
4. The business must be a local business and independently operated
5. The business owner must give back to the community in some way
6. The business owner must approve the Cash Mob before the mob is announced
7. The Cash Mob will occur during a weekday evening or on a weekend
8. Pictures will be posted on Facebook after the Cash Mob.
9. New Businesses opened within the last 5 years or businesses that are having difficulties at this time will be considered first.
Ms. Gordon says that Cash Mobs not only benefit local businesses and the Community as a whole, but also provide great social opportunities.
CLICK HERE FOR THE NORTH SHORE CASH MOBS - GLEN HEAD, GLEN WOOD LANDING, SEA CLIFF FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE
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