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Best Hobbyist's Basement 

Berkeley Ace Hardware

There are several East Bay shops that could get a "Best Hardware Store" award, including El Cerrito's Pastime Hardware and Oakland's Marcus Supply, but only Berkeley Ace Hardware has a secret weapon in its basement: a full-blown hobby shop. Many will recall the basement for its model railroading supplies (which still includes an excellent stock of track, trains, controllers, paint, plus scale people, animals, and buildings), but its selection of model kits, particularly airplanes, is even more impressive. Domestic and Japanese kits crowd the shelves and range from beginner's snap-together sets to advanced, finely detailed paint-and-glue models. Those looking to recapture their childhood will like throwback kits that include Weird-ohs and George Barris custom-car reproductions. If assembly-required is not your thing, there's a healthy stock of die-cast items, including large collections of Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning, as well as slot cars, model rockets, and a crafts section. This is an ideal place to while away a Saturday morning spending the proceeds from lawn cutting, paper delivery, car washing, or lemonade selling.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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