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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

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In Marketplace

Greenfield News and Hobby features a large selection of arts and crafts supplies. (PHOTO: Whitney Teska )

In Marketplace

Kids and the young at heart enjoy spending time in the shop. (PHOTO: Whitney Teska )

In Marketplace

Greenfield News and Hobby specializes in model trains and model train layouts. (PHOTO: Whitney Teska )

In Marketplace

Greenfield News moved to its present location in 1998. (PHOTO: Whitney Teska )

Greenfield News and Hobby focuses on family fun


Greenfield News and Hobby has its fair share of quirky items for sale, like magic tricks and kits to make a model of the human eye, so it's not surprising that the owners have interesting characteristics, too.

The business, which opened in 1965 in Cudahy as Cudahy News and Hobby, was started by a man named Gordon Gordon. Although the shop primarily stocks supplies for a variety of hobbies, the man with the same first and last name was not a hobbyist.

Today, the business is owned by his son, Jay, and his wife, Kristine, but they aren't hobbyists either, nor are their children, who will possibly become the third generation of Gordons to own the family business.

"But we love helping others get what they need for their hobbies," says Kristine.

Greenfield News and Hobby moved to its current location in 1998 and continues to sell a mix of periodicals, novelty items and hobby supplies for classic pastimes like slot cars, model train layouts, rockets, remote control cars and boats, art supplies, kites and more.

All of the magazines and novelty items are G-rated, and Kristine says that for a brief period of time, when the shop was still in Cudahy, they dabbled in selling adult magazines but quickly decided it wasn't a good fit for their business.

"We sold some shady magazines in the Cudahy shop, but we decided we wanted to stay family-oriented," says Kristine.

Kristine and Jay have ran the shop since the early '80s and are starting to think about retirement. They have three adult children and it's possible that their daughter -- who recently earned a degree in marketing -- will run the store someday.

Luckily, the struggling economy has not affected business for the Gordons. Kristine says they had an unusually prosperous year last year, which balanced out slightly lower sales this year.

"Brett Favre's retirement was great for us," she says. "Unfortunately for us, he's not going to retire again, though."

Greenfield Hobby and News offers a variety of classes, including model airbrushing, calligraphy and watercolor. They also host events for kids, like regular visits from a Thomas the Tank "engineer" and free model-making workshops.

Most of the shop's clientele is older men, but Kristine says they continue to reach out to kids, hoping to turn them onto old school hobbies that are less popular now than they were with past generations.

"Some of the classic hobbies, like model building, have suffered a little over the years because of video games," says Kristine.

The desire for quicker entertainment fixes isn't limited to just kids, either.

"In general, people want more instant gratification now. They don't want to build a rocket, they want one that's already built and ready to go. But that's OK, because our stock has changed enough to keep our customers happy."


Talkbacks

FunkyBrewster | April 14, 2009 at 5:15 p.m. (report)

A good board game and good people is still better than the best online video games.

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GreenFlag | April 14, 2009 at 2:33 p.m. (report)

What a wonderful store and very nice people....many years of continued success! Thanks to the entire staff for the referrals for Nascar product....truly appreciated!

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CoolerKing | April 14, 2009 at 12:59 p.m. (report)

Incredible variety of magazines. Tons of models. They used to race slots in the basement of the old place. Do they still do it in Greenfield as well?

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brunocarlson | April 14, 2009 at 10:18 a.m. (report)

As a child I would frequent Cudahy News with my grandfather to find little projects to work on together. Now as an adult I still go to Greenfield News to get teh hard to find hobby project or collectible. Glad to hear they are doing well.

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arks00 | April 14, 2009 at 9:34 a.m. (report)

Cudahy News & Hobby was across from my Dentist growing up, and I always went in there looking at model airplanes, cars and little army figurines. Ah, the memories. I occasionally stop in there on Layton and 60th too check out some publications or supplies. glad to hear they are doing well.

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