We had the good fortune of connecting with Louis (Lou) Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Louis (Lou), what is the most important factor behind your success?
Obviously there are a multitude of factors to consider when starting a business and as importantly how and what to do to sustain it. The daily ups and downs in business can wear on you, it can get depressing, one must keep the target in sight, do your best to maintain consistency, how you/staff treat customers, keep regular hours, because you are a business owner does entitle you to take the day off because you feel like it. Keep your eye on trends but don’t blindly follow it, look at what happened to the “Beanie Babys” fad, “Pogs” to name a few.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When you go into a local hobby shop, you’ll rarely find one that can offer build up/restoration or repair of a given hobby item. We take great pride in building a kit that what was once a pleasure now has become to difficult due to age, vision, hand shaking. We assemble and airbrush most kits. We proudly feature our “3-D Workshop” with one of our 3 machines we can manufacture that lost piece from a tall ship, or create a fantasy sci-fi creature. As I near retirement age I am conflicted in deciding whether or not to retire or push on a trade I dearly enjoy and derive a great sense of satisfaction from. We’ll see what father time has in store.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Go visit the U.S.S. Iowa, drop by the 22nd. Landing Bar have a cocktail or two. Then it’s up town to my favorite Korean BBQ house “Soot Bull Jeep” Zagat rated and simply the best bbq beef short ribs in town. Maybe I’ll given them a grand tour of the hobby shop! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife, Natalie. We’ve been through the lows, depleting savings accounts, struggling through the 2007 financial crisis, riots, and more. Without Nat’s support both mentally and philosophically I do not think I would be here today celebrating our 20th. Anniversary of J.D. Hobby Center, we wear that as a proud badge of honor knowing how few companies can sustain this long. Customers that have become dear friends and supporters of J.D. Hobbys. From retired V.P. from” Northrop/Grumman,” to the co-founder of “Space X”. I’ve listed a lot of the pitfalls of running a business, now the “exhilarating” aspect, I emailed Channel 5 KTLA dozens of times to get the station to run a segment on J.D. Hobbys, one day Ms. Gayle Anderson called informing us they would be coming down to film a live segment on us, that was over 2 years ago, we are still realizing the impact that show had on us, I slept good for many nights!