A MAIN HOBBIESGARAGE BASED
BUSINESS TURNED INTERNATIONAL ICON
SUMMER BUCKET LIST 58 MUST-DO ACTIVITIES
BEFORE SUMMERCOMES TO AN END
+A MAIN HOBBIESGARAGE BASED
BUSINESS TURNED INTERNATIONAL ICON
NORTHERN VALLEY LIFESTYLEAUGUST 2013UPGRADEDLIVING.COM
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foodMooney Recipe: Sun-dried tomato and lamb burgers are juicy and delicious.
cRush Recipe:Beef carpaccio is the perfect fresh, light summer hors doeuvres.
Home & GardenDiy WoRM faRM:Learn to make your own worm castings bin. ReaL esTaTe Tour a number of Butte Countys most sought after properties currently for sale.
features a Main hobbies:A local business booms and ROARs. Complete with hobbies, obsessions and international races. Jackie GReene: Amazing musician and mega-talented wanderer makes Paradise a stop on his national tour.
suMMeR buckeT LisT: 58 must-dos before the summer blows by.
hiDDen paTios: Cute, quaint outdoor dining spots.
Profile Dina Rabo:Ideal Protein is just what the doctor ordered. oRLanD aRT GaLLeRy: A month full of northern California art on display at the 4th Annual Group Show
Community concouRs De La chapeLLe: A party like Gatsbys right here in Paradise.
book in RevieW: Lyon Books adds to our collection of summer reads.
arts chivaa aRT MapThe ArtAbout heads Downtown
aRTisT pRofiLesQ&A with two inspirational local artists.
August cover photo by:Beiron Andersson
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When it comes to industry in Butte County, we have our fair share of hidden giants. Strange-ly, it is often these companies, employing large groups of our countys residents, that remain largely unheard, unseen, or at the very most misconceived in what they accomplish. A Main Hobbies is one such company. With over eighty employees, the once garage-based online hobby retailer has rocketed to the forefront of the RC world, proving that big business can most definitely come from small packages.
A MAIN HOBBIESFrom garage based business to international rC icon.
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Kendall Bennett received his first RC (radio controlled) plane on his tenth birthday. Like many boys his age, the hobby
turned into a bit of an obsession. Between satisfying his need for speed and the ability to control miniaturized versions of the planes he adored, there were few other activities available that provided the same thrill and rush as his RC plane. In 1985, Kendall turned fifteen and decided it was time to bring the fun back down to earth, purchasing his first RC car.
As with most childhood hobbies, racing his RC vehicles eventually took a backseat to adult milestones. He went off to college, left the hobby behind, and lost track of the RC world entirely. He began a soft-ware company with a friend and when the company began to take off, he decided it was time to leave Australia and move to the United States.
His business partner at the time, a grad-uate of Chico State, had decided to remain in Chico. An ambassador for the standard of living provided here, he convinced Ken-dall to join him, and the two moved their small office from San Jose up to Chico per-
manently. When Kendall arrived in Chico in December of 1995, he came in search of a hobby to occupy his free time away from the software company; reminiscing of days long since passed, he stopped into Hobby-town USA and picked up an RC plane and nitro RC car.
The software company, called Scitech, focused on creating software that allowed computer games to remain compatible with the constant release of new comput-er hardware. What began as a consumer product, ended up becoming a mainstay for the computer gaming industry, and the company soon licensed the software to be bundled with computer games directly from their manufacturers. The product was so successful, in fact, that nearly every computer game released between 1995 to 2000 had their software in tow.
During a conversation with a friend and coworker at Scitech, Kendall revealed his guilty pleasure in RC racing. His friend happened to have the same interest and clued him into a track in Paradise where RC cars were often raced. Again, the old hobby turned into obsession and Kendall found himself spending every weekend at the track racing his RC cars against local competitors. By 2004, he had advanced his
skill behind the controller and had gathered a significant following, earning sponsor-ships from a number of RC racing groups.
Though things were only getting better on the hobby side, times were changing in the technology field. The new versions of Microsofts Windows platform all came preloaded with software that threatened to make Scitechs previously must-have software obsolete. The licensing deals previously struck with gaming companies and IBM were beginning to die off and the company knew it was time to search out other pastures.
As the Internet was in its fifth year of open adoption by the masses, large corporate retailers were beginning to pop up across the web. Realizing the growing interest in online shopping, and projecting what this could potentially mean for his companys future, Kendall turned Scitechs focus to creating e-commerce software with the initial intention to build a new software platform to license or sell to upcoming retailers. Kendall registered AMainHobbies.com on April 13, 2004 and built a website on top of the new e-commerce software with the hopes that the domain would help the company test their software and weed out any bugs. The business was run entirely
Kendall Bennett - Owner & Founder of A Main HobbiesKendall (10 years old) with his first RC PlaneMelbourne, Australia
This year, A Main Hobbies will host two major championship races in Chico the ROAR (re-motely operated auto racers) Nationals in Au-gust, and the most prestigious RC racing event on earth, the IFMAR (International Federation of Model Auto Racers) World Finals, in September.
The ROAR Nationals will take place from August 8th through August 11th and will host the top racers throughout North America. Admission is free and Sunday is the recommended day to visit if you can only make it out for one of the four event days.
The IFMAR World Finals will be a week long event, taking place from September 22nd through September 29th, with the recommend-ed day being Saturday the 28th. One hundred fifty racers from Asia, Australia, Europe and more will visit Chico to compete in the event, which only takes place once every two years. The World Finals were last held in Finland in 2011 and the event only touches North American soil once every eight years.
Beginning in the late afternoon on Saturday the 28th, the racing will be staggered with a num-ber of exciting events including a live concert, Fork In The Road gathering by our local food trucks, and a $25,000 fireworks display that is set to put the 4th of July show to shame. With a couple thousand people expected at the fairgrounds for the event, theres no doubt that the event is sure to impress.
products they sell through web portals like YouTube, and their graphics department guarantees that every race their company is involved in sees the same level of attention to visual detail. Perhaps most important, their entire customer service team is also employed right here in Chico. Without the need to outsource any portion of their service, and with their customers trust as their number one priority, its no surprise that the company has quickly grown to the second largest online retailer of RC vehicles and accessories. With over 56,000 items in the warehouse that are ready for shipping at a moments notice, nothing is currently sold online that isnt in the supply chain and ready to be shipped from the Chico warehouse that day.
Throughout it all, the companys core values have remained the same, and even though the business has grown exponentially, they have managed to keep mindful of the changes, continuing to instill an everyone-knows-everyone atmosphere. With 81 employees, and more on the way, the business is set to continue its exponential growth.
Recently, the company completed construction on a nearly one million dollar outdoor racetrack that measures nearly twelve hundred feet per lap at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds next to Costco. The track is a monumental addition to the indoor clay track cur-rently at the warehouse and provides the ability for up to one thou-sand spectators to view the races at any given time. The completion of the track, alongside its pit area and other amenities, have made Chico a destination for a number of championship races that will
World ChAmpionship rC rACes
Lewis Brockus photographs a RTR RC car in A Main Hobbies photo lab. All 56,000 parts housed at A Main Hobbies have been photographed so RC enthusiasts know exactly what theyre purchasing.
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provide both fun and a significant boost to our local economy.The new racetrack is located just down the street from A Main Hob-
bies new retail store that opened on Black Friday of last year. The new 4,800 square foot location provides a place for racers of all skill levels and budgets to stop in, seek advice, buy RC vehicles and accessories, and have repairs completed at the shop.
With so many facets to the company, and the ability to host world-class events, we cant imagine anything but continued upward momentum for A Main Hobbies. As one of our areas larger employers and