KUSA – The iconic model train store has been around in one form or another since 1938, and on Saturday morning, the former Caboose Hobbies reopened as Caboose in Lakewood.
The 6.880 square foot building at the corner of Alameda and Oak is smaller than the location on South Broadway in Denver, but it’s stocked full of the same inventory train enthusiasts love.
“No longer the world’s largest train store, but we think we’ll still be the world’s best,” said Kevin Ruble, the new owner of Caboose.
While the building is different and the name slightly changed, inside there’s still the familiar feeling and look of wonder on faces young and old.
“I didn’t know Walthers had these different ones!” Said Bob Keck with a big smile on his face as he grabbed a model kit of general store.
Keck was looking for some ideas for the model train layout he has in his home. He also passed along some advice for fellow train enthusiasts.
“If you like it, get it now because you won’t find it again,” Keck said.
It seems Kevin Ruble had the same idea several months ago when he decided to buy Caboose Hobbies.
“It’s just a lifelong passion of railroading is how I get here,” Ruble said.
Ruble actually owned a railroad in Michigan which he sold off in 2012 before moving to Colorado. Of course, Ruble also has a passion for model trains.
“I built a 3,800 square foot barn at my home in Evergreen and the whole upstairs of that barn is my railroad,” he said.
Last year, Ruble learned the owners of Caboose Hobbies were losing their lease on the building on South Broadway. Shortly after Duane and Joanna Miller decided to close up the shop in Denver, Ruble came along with an offer they couldn’t turn down.
“Duane and Joanna Miller have been extremely, extremely helpful in this whole transition,” Ruble said.
It took Ruble five months to move the old store to its new location in Lakewood. On Saturday morning, Ruble said the line was out the door.
“It’s a little surprising that we had people wrapped around the corner down the street,” Ruble said.
Reopening day brought out the crowds and familiar faces who put the history of the iconic store into perspective. Duane and Joanna Miller stopped by early Saturday afternoon to see the new store.
“It’s immaculate,” said Duane Miller. “I’m tickled. I’m happy for Kevin.”
Miller owned Caboose Hobbies on South Broadway from 1969 until late 2016. His parents owned the store at its previous location on 15th Street in Denver. On Saturday, he was confident he’d left the shop in good hands.
“Oh, I think [Kevin’s] got it figured out,” Miller said. “Better than I did maybe,” he added with a smile.