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Telescope stores that closed

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#26 John Higbee

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 08:27 AM

Here in MD, I used to love to visit Gary Hand at his "Hands On Optics" in Damascus. He was a great guy to chat with, very experienced amateur astronomer himself. He went to all the shows out here and brought back lots of stuff - most of which which he kept in a back room. I spent a lot of time in that room - never knew what you'd find. Bought my first gear from him when I restarted the hobby. I was quite happy with my Skywatchers (ED80 and ED120) until he brought back a Stellarvue SV80ST from NEAF. I had to have it. Anyway, Gary had to close his showroom and go all web, in 2015. I think he's still running the business online, but there's no fun in that.

+1 for "Hands on Optics"...visited his Damascus store once; and went through his display at multiple NEAFs...bought neat stuff at good prices in both places!  Was sorry to see him close up his physical store.  John


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#27 Steve_M_M

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 08:59 AM

I miss S&S Optika Denver.....bought a lot of stuff there....met a lot of people there too.

I think some of those employees now own cloudbreak optics.  I just purchased my first item from them and everything went perfect.

 

https://cloudbreakoptics.com/


Edited by Steve_M_M, 01 October 2021 - 09:00 AM.

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#28 Terra Nova

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 09:22 AM

Scope City in San Diego was the place that I bought my SPC8 in the late 80's - I remember the huge showroom and all the telescopes in it.

 

Closer to where I live now was Sean's Astronomy Shop (Battle Ground, WA)... it was in an old church! I remember it being full of Meade and Celestron stuff - he sold me a ASGT tripod to replace the SP for the C8.  He closed up shortly thereafter and started teaching in China.

As I mentioned in another thread recently, there was also a Scope City in Riverside (CA) in the 1980s and 90s. IIRC, it was in or near the Tyler Mall.

 

Edit:

 

Now that I think about it, I think it was off of Market (east side of the street) not too far from RCC? Anyone else remember that one?


Edited by Terra Nova, 01 October 2021 - 09:29 AM.

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#29 Rick-T137

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 09:25 AM

Focus Scientific here in Ottawa have moved around a few times in the past decade, but fortunately are still open. Just have to check the address every time before paying a visit.

I used to do business with Efston Science in Toronto for years and years - bought many of my scopes from them. But they closed back in around 2012. I did some business with the place across the street but unfortunately that didn't work out for me.

 

So, I started doing business with Focus Scientific and I've been very happy! Their customer service is excellent and they make doing business remotely very easy.

Clear skies!

Rick


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#30 KI5CAW

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 09:36 AM

I grew up in the East Bay near San Francisco, and there was a store in Oakland called Optica b/c. It was far from my house in Richmond but once I had a car I would make periodic journeys and drool over the expensive components. I still have a 32mm Erfle I bought there, which has the brand name on the eyepiece; it cost $200 in 1978. They sold mirrors and telescopes that they fabricated in the back room $$$. Long gone now.


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#31 CBM1970

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 09:45 AM

Does anyone remember a telescope shop in (or very near?) Monterey Park, CA?  My dad got my C90 there, and it's where I bought my C8 a few years later. I only went 2 or 3 times (it was far from where I lived) but I remember being completely entranced by the place. This all happened in the early 1980s, and I don't know how long the place was around before or after that.


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#32 lunardave

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 02:06 PM

I forgot to mention that I bought a Meade SN8 on a fork. Used it a few times.

 

The guys wife was so happy I bought it, she told me the story of a guy in a Volkswagen beetle taking home a 10" EQ mounted Meade Reflector in that little car.

 

Probably around 1987 or 8.

 

She thought it was so funny. I thought how brave and determined the guy was in that Volkswagen.

 

Very nice people.


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#33 lunardave

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 02:18 PM

HA! I remember Science Hobbies all too well! As a child I used to ride to Charlotte with my parents (usually Mom) to go shopping; this when retail was not so plentiful as it is now. Retail then was located mostly uptown along Tryon St. Charlottetown Mall was pretty much all that there was back then that wasn't uptown. It was before the big mall boom.

My first visit to Science Hobbies on Central Avenue was probably around 1966/67; I would have been around age 10. I was enthralled by and especially drawn to the telescopes. In fact, after much deliberation, my first telescope, an Edmund 4 1/4" Newtonian was purchased there. 

Sweet memories of a time gone by!

And as I recall, the owners were pretty up in years even the

Yep. But they were very helpful. In 1988 they did look to be retirement age.

 

The dude ordered me some Ortho .965 eyepieces for my Tasco 11TR. After I asked if there was anything better than what came with the 11TR.

My 4.5 inch wonder! Those Orthos transformed the little Tasco. Really a great improvement.

 

I moved to Charlotte in 1984. Went to the first Spring Fest. More like Beer Fest back then.

I remember when the Cameron Brown building was the tallest in Charlotte. Maybe 15 stories tall!

I still work in Charlotte but moved out in 1989. Getting too crowded even then.

 

I was 8 in 1966.
 


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#34 CltFlyboy

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 02:31 PM

Greetings Earthlings!

 

I used to frequent a store here in Charlotte, NC called Science Hobbies.

 

They sold more than scopes.

 

Chemistry sets for instance. I went for the scopes and related accessories.

 

One day I went to their new location, door locked, store empty.

 

Never found out what happened but I think the couple that ran it retired.

 

They were quite a bit older than me.

 

This would have been around 1990.

Science Hobbies (as a kid going with Dad) was the reason I found out about the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club, and thus the reason I'm into the hobby still, many decades later. I truly miss that shop. We used to live very close, down where Central dead ends into Albemarle Road.

 

Anecdote: About two years ago, one of my sons was working at a fast food restaurant near us when one day a guy came in and spent about 30 minutes talking to him about geology - my son love talking to people and is finishing his geology degree. He tells me about this after work and, I kid you not, asks me "Dad, have you ever heard of this place called Science Hobbies? That guy was the guy who started/owned it". He had no clue about my history with the place. Apparently the old guy still has a bit of a collection of geological samples, including the meteorites I was soooo fond of as a kid.

 

Thanks for the memories!


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#35 CltFlyboy

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 02:56 PM

Now that I think about it, Science Hobbies is where I got my copies of Telescope Making, Burnham's volumes, and many other works - many I still own. I also loved their model railroad gear. Man I really, REALLY miss that place. I need to find that chondrite I bough from them back in the late 1970s...


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#36 Bomber Bob

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 03:15 PM

Growing up in Bugtussle, we didn't have any scope stores, nature stores, outdoor stores...  Does Service Merchandise count as a Scope Store?  There was 1 (One) family-owned Camera Store / Photo Developer down by I-20 that stocked a few; and, would mail-order others for you, but they tweren't cheap.  Best Bet:  The string of Pawn Shops along HWY 21 (the west border of Ft. McClellan) -- that's where I got my Nikon binoculars.  Or, as I've mentioned before, Family Yard Sales on the Post...

 

See how deprived I was?  If it hadn't been for Sears...


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#37 Alanvogt

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 05:04 PM

Growing up as a kid in Tulsa Oklahoma, there were no telescope stores that I know of. My parents got me a Tasco 66TE (50mm F12). I have no idea where they got it. BUT I did get the Edmund catalog and drooled over everything in it. My allowance was 10 cents a week so I couldn't buy much.  Fast forward twenty years to 1986 and I was on assignment designing the V-22 Osprey in Chester PA. (just south of Philly) When I realized I was only a half hour from my childhood Mecca: The Edmund Scientific Co showroom in Barrington, NJ! I had imagined  it to be a glorious place where all your dreams come true.  When I did finally go there I thought "What a dump!" It didn't quite live up to my expectations. Don't know what it was like in their heyday, but by 1986 it was quite run down. I was still sad to see it close forever in 2001.  A bygone era.....

Alan


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#38 Pezdragon

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 06:18 PM

I grew up in the East Bay near San Francisco, and there was a store in Oakland called Optica b/c. It was far from my house in Richmond but once I had a car I would make periodic journeys and drool over the expensive components. I still have a 32mm Erfle I bought there, which has the brand name on the eyepiece; it cost $200 in 1978. They sold mirrors and telescopes that they fabricated in the back room $$$. Long gone now.

That was a quirky little place with 2 old school people running it. Great stuff but really expensive. I still have a microscope objective and a 9 foot long 10” diameter aluminum tube I bought from them back in the seventies. The tube was for a refractor that alas never got built….


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#39 oldmanastro

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 06:24 PM

There was a place here called Mathias Photo Shop that used to display Tasco telescopes and microscopes. They had several stores. I used to go there mostly for window shopping except the day I bought my first Tasco microscope. The other places to get telescopes were Sears and JC Penney's. Back in the 1950s there was a small operation selling telescopes. The owner was no other than Chester Brandon. The place where he sold telescopes from was called Librascope. By the time I got interested in astronomy the store was gone and Brandon had moved to the mainland US. I don't know how many telescopes he sold here except for the one in the following story:

 

http://www.sfaaa.com...andon-refractor

 

I know that he sold some of his very early Brandon eyepieces to a professor of physics and the Univ. of PR. The professor's son, an amateur astronomer, showed them to me. I found about Librascope in one of Dr. Henry E. Paul's book on astrophotography. It was a disappointment when I called and found out that the business was not there anymore back in 66.


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#40 jsiska

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 09:39 PM

All these stores that were. Now almost everything astronomy related which is new is purchased via the internet. Just having the stores to physically go look at the telescopes have inspired many a younger person to take up amateur astronomy. Maybe not exactly then but later in life when they finally have enough expendable money available to purchase a telescope.

 

Does anyone know of any telescope shops that exist now anywhere?


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#41 brian dewelles

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 10:12 PM

All these stores that were. Now almost everything astronomy related which is new is purchased via the internet. Just having the stores to physically go look at the telescopes have inspired many a younger person to take up amateur astronomy. Maybe not exactly then but later in life when they finally have enough expendable money available to purchase a telescope.

 

Does anyone know of any telescope shops that exist now anywhere?

Their are two great places in Tucson AZ. Starizona and Stellarvision. Its been a couple of years since i have been to Tucson mostly because of the virus but weather is getting nice here and Robin and i hope to make a trip to southern AZ. soon and i will definitely stop by those two  places.


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#42 SkyRanger

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 10:35 PM

Stellarvision in Tucson has an unbelievable inventory of used and new scopes.  Frank, the owner, takes scopes in trade as well as on consignment.  You never know what you might find there!

 

Gordon G


Edited by SkyRanger, 02 October 2021 - 02:40 PM.

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#43 Alanvogt

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Posted 01 October 2021 - 10:51 PM

All these stores that were. Now almost everything astronomy related which is new is purchased via the internet. Just having the stores to physically go look at the telescopes have inspired many a younger person to take up amateur astronomy. Maybe not exactly then but later in life when they finally have enough expendable money available to purchase a telescope.

 

Does anyone know of any telescope shops that exist now anywhere?

Seattle area had 3 stores, one closed (Captain's Nautical Supply) One moved (Anacortes Telescope & Wild Bird) and the newest has taken up the slack. (Cloud Break Optics)  Matt and Stephanie are both terrific and as well as running the store are active leaders in the Seattle astro community.  They are currently expanding to a new space to be able to show even more telescopes.

CB1.jpg

CB2.jpg


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#44 KI5CAW

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 09:27 AM

I bought my original paperback Burnhams at the Nature Company in North Berkeley in 1978; they also sold telescopes. The staff consisted of PhD.s that couldn't find work in their chosen fields of studyfrown.gif Those copies are worn out and dog eared now; I bought a hardback set at a thrift store for $10smile.gif 


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#45 apfever

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 10:05 AM

I miss S&S Optika Denver.....bought a lot of stuff there....met a lot of people there too.

 

 

Also, "The Star Tracker" on Walnet Street in Boulder. 

 

S&S Optika. I only made it there a few times, but it was outstanding when I did. There have been a few more times since it closed that I wished it were still available.  

Star Tracker in Boulder was a bit more distant and had it's heyday before my time here. I do have some items with boxes and labels from them and consider the venue nostalgic. 


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#46 RichA

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 10:05 AM

Bregberg (sp?) Optical closed in Toronto in the late 1970s.  Perceptor moved around and closed in early 2000's.  Efstonscience closed in the mid-2010's.  There was a lesser store that had some telescopes, don't remember their name, in  West Toronto that closed in the 1990's.

Recently, two other stores closed.  Plus, Kendrick of heater fame had a store in downtown Toronto, but I'm not sure if it still exists.


Edited by RichA, 02 October 2021 - 12:50 PM.

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#47 csrlice12

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 10:22 AM

Denver has Mile High Astro that opened a bit before the pandemic started.  That basically stopped in person shopping.  Recently,  I read recently that they are expanding.  The owner is a rabid astrophotographer (and a good one).  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I'm closer to the dark site then the store.  When S&S was still here, it was on my way home from work (Now retired from two careers)


Edited by csrlice12, 02 October 2021 - 10:24 AM.

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#48 yeldahtron

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 10:32 AM

Focus Scientific here in Ottawa have moved around a few times in the past decade, but fortunately are still open. Just have to check the address every time before paying a visit.

Umm, I hear there's a sign on the door of their new location that says they are bankrupt.  Sad if true. I bought all the scopes I currently own there (including two ST80s). Tristan always provided excellent advice and service. 


Edited by yeldahtron, 02 October 2021 - 01:02 PM.

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#49 yeldahtron

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 10:46 AM

The Science Shop in the Arcade in Toronto.  It's long, long gone, but that's where I got my first chemistry set, a radiometer, numerous science books, rocks and minerals, glassware -- and my first scope. A Tasco 9TE-5  60mm frac.


Edited by yeldahtron, 02 October 2021 - 10:47 AM.

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#50 KI5CAW

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 10:51 AM

Another SF Bay Area store was Telescope World in Hayward. They fabricated and sold 12"+ photographic Newtonians on  massive equatorial mounts. They also sold used equipment but the business didn't last very long and they were soon history.


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