Business Spotlight: Feather River Train Shop

Right off Redwood Highway, this cozy shop sells some of the finest model train sets and services in the the world of hobbies. Take a trip down the tracks to find out more about this unique business.

Feather River Train Shop
35 Mitchell Blvd
San Rafael, Ca

What do they offer?

Feather River Train Shop offers N scale model trains and supplies. The shop carries all major manufacturers but also supports other small businesses by carrying lines from mom and pop style companies. Customers are also able to call the shop and receive technical support from the owner on anything from getting the track to line up to getting the lights to go on at right time.

Who are they?

Long-time Bay Area resident and current San Rafael resident Chuck Ciaccio spent years in the software industry, seeing the upsizing and the downsizing which defined the dot-com industry before deciding he’d had enough. He was a serious train hobbyist as a child. After dusting off the trains and setting up a couple of layouts, he got excited, put a business plan together and built a business out of his home. The idea took off and was fairly successful from the start. It moved to a retail location in 2003.

How long have they been there?

The shop has been open for 9 and a half years, all in the same complex along Redwood Highway.

Why are they in our business spotlight?

The shop carries everything from the cars themselves to the tracks, the bridges, the lights, the trees and the tunnels. These trains are for true hobbyists. The kits do not come fully assembled, but wait upon supplies such as glue, paint and patience. Every train is a 1/160th in scale, perfectly detailed.

Feather River Train Shop works with clientele from all over the world. The online store creates a vast amount of business and in one day trains and their cars might ship to Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom, not to mention, just about anywhere in the United States.

Ciaccio is the only guy you’ll find during operating hours. He’s built a relationship with other train hobbyists, belongs to several online model train forums and although his prices might be a higher price than some other companies, he backs up the cost with an invaluable service, years of expertise and know-how. It’s a business and a hobby for this owner, as he is a member of the Golden Gate Railroad Museum, and owns several hundred different cars. There’s not a lot about N Scale model trains he doesn’t know.

Did you know?

Holiday gift alert! Feather River Train Shop has train kits available for purchase. Introduce your child to the world of model trains with a beginner set. Feather River Train Shop is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the first two Saturdays of the every month. During the holidays, the shop is open every Saturday of the month.   

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Jack November 14, 2012 at 03:03 AM
San Rafael, California: Home of Frank Lloyd Wright's final and most spectacular achievement, awesome Industrial Light & Magic, and the equally impressive Feather River Train Shop. On a slow day, I'll stop by just to see Chuck. Jack says check it out.
Eric Groody November 14, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I live in Connecticut, yet I consider Feather River Trains to be my "local" hobby shop. The customer service is outstanding, while product selection and support are top notch. I highly recommend checking out Feather River Trains in person, or as I do, online.


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