Hobbico News

Hobbico filed for bankruptcy protection

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Hobbico sent us this sad statement indicating that it plans to sell the company and will continue operating throughout the bankruptcy process:

Hobbico, Inc. Files Petition for Chapter 11 Relief and Pursues Sale of Company; Seeks Protection from Creditors to Restructure and Attract New Capital Investment; Operations Continue Throughout Bankruptcy Process.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – January 10, 2018 – Hobbico, Inc. (“Hobbico” or “the Company”) announced today that it has filed a petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code while it seeks an orderly finalization and implementation of its comprehensive restructuring plan. The petition was filed today with the United States Bankruptcy Court – Wilmington of Delaware In conjunction, Hobbico also announced its plan to sell the company.

Since 1971, Hobbico has grown in to one of the largest United States distributors of radio-control and general hobby products. Built up over time and with the best intentions to further grow its business, Hobbico’s debt has added too much leverage for the Company, and it has been unable to successfully restructure to help meet its financial obligations. With the added impact over the last few years of an increasingly competitive industry, market headwinds and a series of one-off events with key suppliers, Hobbico’s current financial position is unsustainable.

“Despite Hobbico’s core strengths, our business has faced a number of challenges in the last few years, and we have taken steps to ensure all available options to restore the stability of the Company have been exhausted,” said Louis Brownstone, President of Hobbico, Inc. “However, while these efforts were taken to rebuild revenue and profitability, they did not sufficiently address our challenges and we decided to pursue a Chapter 11 reorganization and attempt to attract new capital investment.”

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MIP & Hobbico part ways

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MIP have announced that they have parted ways with the juggernaut Hobbico. This announcement follows rumors some of which are based, that the distributor is going through some difficult times. Founder and CEO of Moore’s Ideal Products, Eustace Moore Jr. stated:

“It is with great disappointment that I announce that MIP and the juggernaut Hobbico have parted ways. Although it is unfortunate to part with Hobbico during this period of growth in our industry, we wish them good luck. If you are a dealer who has bought your MIP products from Great Planes and have received a backorder notice, please contact our Sales department at sales@miponline.com for immediate fulfillment. Also, be sure to check out our current list of worldwide Distributors. Additionally, if you are a Tower Hobby customer waiting for MIP Products, please shop at miponline.com. MIP products are always a quick search away.”

11th Annual Futaba & O.S. Speed Nitro Challenge announcement

Experience one of the biggest thrills in all of St. Louis by entering the Midwest’s premier 1/8 scale buggy and truggy race, the Futaba/O.S. Nitro Challenge. The Nitro Challenge kicks off its second decade on July 27 at the St. Louis Dirt Burners R/C Raceway. Two days of open practice will be followed by qualifying rounds that begin Friday night, July 28. Drivers can enter in eight divisions. Every competitor gets a free gift — but the really BIG honors must be earned.

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Dromida 1/18 4WD RTR Monster Truck

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Hobbico have introduced the Dromida 1/18 4WD ready-to-run Monster Truck. The Dromida Brushless Monster Truck highlights include full-time 4WD, a 5300kV brushless motor, interference-free 2.4GHz radio control, all-weather electronics, Big Bore oil shocks, ultra-tough front/rear bumpers and high-traction tyres. This 4WD Monster Truck is scheduled to arrive at the end of April.

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2017 Chi-Town ShootOut announcement

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The Chi-Town Shootout is coming back to Leisure Hours Raceway and Hobbies in Joliet, Illinois, from 2 to 5 March 2017. This four-day event is sponsored by Futaba is an opportunity to get face to face with experts from Futaba, TrakPower, Duratrax, and more and run in the following classes:

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Hobbico challenge JQ Racing over Arma Energy tie-up

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Paddock rumours at the Dirt Nitro Challenge last weekend swirled with suggestions that the (once?) friendly rivalry between RC minnows JQ Racing and behemoths Hobbico (“the largest model hobby company in the world”) might be about to spill off the track and turn rather sour.

A ‘David and Goliath’ story in the making, as we hear that JQ Racing owner/founder Joseph Quagraine received a trademark infringement letter  recently on behalf of Hobbico relating to JQ Racing’s recent corporate sponsorship by ARMA Energy, a tie-up which includes a ‘Arma Energy JQRacing Ready-to-run nitro buggy’ which is currently available for sale.

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We understand that the Hobbico expressed their displeasure given that they have a successful RTR brand called ‘ARRMA’ – acquired along with Team Durango, dBoots back in 2012 – a brand name that whilst subtly different, close enough to prompt threats of legal action from Hobbico.

According to sources, Hobbico demanding JQ Racing cease public association with their high-profile & coincidentally-named energy drinks sponsor ‘Arma Energy’.

Whilst we won’t pass judgement on the legal aspects, it seems an unfortunate naming coincidence, ARRMA (the RC brand) not particularly prevalent in the racing side of the RC Car hobby – should feel aggrieved about Arma Energy’s brand tie-up.

However it is more likely the release of the Arma Energy branded RTR car which may have proven a little close to home for Hobbico, who obviously want to protect their brand name, image in the marketplace.

Since the arrival of Arma (Energy), JQ Racing’s image (at least trackside) has improved dramatically, the (roomy!) pit setup, team clothes etc. Easily the most professional-looking, blowing any competitors out of the water. Whilst not the first ‘non-RC’ tie-up, (think Team Associated with Kicker and Makita), Arma Energy’s investment, presence is dramatically more visible and thus promising, it would be a shame to see it fizzle out due to legal dramas.

Hobbico welcomes Travis Amezcua to the team

Amezcua

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Hobbico is pleased to announce that three of its most highly respected manufacturers — Futaba, O.S. Engine and TrakPower — have added multiple IFMAR Worlds finalist and National Champion Travis Amezcua onto their racing team rosters. “After testing their products,” Travis says, “I felt that they would give me a better chance of winning.”

Travis first joined forces with Hobbico as a driver for California-based Team Durango. In late 2014 his role expanded when he was named Team Durango’s North American Technical Representative. “After 22 years of racing R/C cars and learning from our industry leaders,” Travis explained, “it’s my turn to teach the next generation of racers.”

Now, as a team driver for Futaba, O.S. and TrakPower, Travis will have many additional opportunities to share his experience with other racers. “Because these are Hobbico brands, I’ll be running them along with my Team Durango cars,” he says. “And I’ll be able to support more of the customers using them as well.” Hobbico wishes Travis great success in his new team roles.

Hobbico bids farewell to Thunder Tiger

TT Goodbye

With the announcement of HRP taking over North American distribution of Thunder Tiger products yesterday, Hobbico bids farewell to the Thunder Tiger brand in an official press release today:

“Hobbico is terminating distribution and support of Thunder Tiger products effective December 31, 2014. This includes discontinuation of the Thunder Tiger brand as well as the Ace RC brand.

Hobbico has a limited amount of inventory that will be available as supplies last or until the end of the year. We suggest that dealers and consumers secure what they need to cover them through the transition period. All Thunder Tiger backorders will be canceled. Hobbico will continue to provide product support services through the end of December 2014. Hobbico will also support Thunder Tiger team members through the this timeframe. Parts and kits will be available for team members as long as current supplies last until December 31, 2014. Product support inquiries after December 31, 2014 should be made to HRP Distributing.”

Source: Hobbico
Photo courtesy of Parker’s UK