Hobbico, Inc. Files Petition for Chapter 11 Relief and Pursues Sale of Company Seeks Protection from Creditors to Restructure and Attract New Capital Investment; Operations Continue Throughout Bankruptcy Process
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – January 10, 2018 – Hobbico, Inc. ("Hobbico" or "the Company") announced today that it has filed a petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code while it seeks an orderly finalization and implementation of its comprehensive restructuring plan. The petition was filed today with the United States Bankruptcy Court – Wilmington of Delaware In conjunction, Hobbico also announced its plan to sell the company.
Since 1971, Hobbico has grown in to one of the largest United States distributors of radio-control and general hobby products. Built up over time and with the best intentions to further grow its business, Hobbico’s debt has added too much leverage for the Company, and it has been unable to successfully restructure to help meet its financial obligations. With the added impact over the last few years of an increasingly competitive industry, market headwinds and a series of one-off events with key suppliers, Hobbico’s current financial position is unsustainable.
"Despite Hobbico’s core strengths, our business has faced a number of challenges in the last few years, and we have taken steps to ensure all available options to restore the stability of the Company have been exhausted," said Louis Brownstone, President of Hobbico, Inc. "However, while these efforts were taken to rebuild revenue and profitability, they did not sufficiently address our challenges and we decided to pursue a Chapter 11 reorganization and attempt to attract new capital investment."
By filing for Chapter 11, Hobbico is seeking protection from its creditors in order to allow for an orderly finalization and implementation of its restructuring plan. This approach allows the Company to continue to operate the business throughout the bankruptcy process. Hobbico intends to use the bankruptcy filing and possible sale of the business to reduce debt, restructure liabilities, attract new capital investment and position the company for future growth. The filing and potential sale also aim to preserve Hobbico’s industry-leading business, including allowing the Company to invest in new products and continue supporting all of its customers and extended business network.
"Taking the necessary step to file for bankruptcy is difficult, but it will help preserve the value of our business and it’s the right thing to do for our company and our employees," added Brownstone. "Under the process afforded to us under Chapter 11, we hope to reach an agreement with our creditors that will allow us to implement a restructuring plan that fully addresses our financial challenges while simultaneously identifying a prospective buyer that shares our vision of providing the best possible outcome for our employees and the future of Hobbico."
About Hobbico, Inc. Founded in 1985, Hobbico, Inc. is the largest U.S. distributor of radio-control and general hobby products. Hobbico is engaged in the design, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of thousands of hobby products including radio-control and general hobby products. The Company’s merchandise includes a wide variety of radio-control models from cars and boats to airplanes and drones. In the general hobby category, Hobbico offers plastic model kits, rockets, road race sets, die-cast models, model trains, jigsaw puzzles, science and educational kits, games, kites, craft kits and much more. Hobbico employs over 550 in facilities that include its West Coast distribution center in Reno, Nev., facilities in Penrose, Colo., and Elk Grove Village, Ill., Axial facilities in the United Kingdom and Germany, and its Corporate Headquarters in Champaign, Ill. The Company sells over 50,000 items through three sales divisions targeting Retail, Wholesale and Mass Market sales channels. For more information, visit www.hobbico.com.
Futaba 4PX Transmitter Named 2017 RC Car Action Readers' Choice April, 2017
Champaign, IL - The voting is over, the ballots have been counted, and the winners in the R/C Car Action 2017 Readers' Choice Awards have been named. In the transmitter category, readers of the magazine elected a new Number One: the innovative 4-channel, 2.4GHz 4PX surface radio from Futaba.
The Readers' Choice annual poll — now in its 22nd year — gives hobbyists an opportunity to choose the brands they believe make the best RC products. Product customers are the "real experts" according to the editors. Their opinions matter most to manufacturers and other modelers. Eighteen categories appear on the ballot, including favorite radio transmitter.
R/C Car Action editor Carl Hyndman agrees with his readers. "The Futaba 4PX is one of the best. I'm a racer at heart, so I appreciate the long list of unique, advanced features. The large, full-color screen is impressive and makes the intuitive navigation even easier. I like that I can cater the ergonomics to my personal taste, and it makes the link to my vehicles direct, with a dependable and lightning-fast response."
Futaba thanks everyone who participated in the Readers' Choice Awards and is proud that the 4PX earned their votes. See more on the 4PX and all Futaba products at futabarc.com.
RC Fans Have Spoken! April, 2017
Champaign, IL - Hobbico is proud to announce that the ARRMA BIG ROCK has brought home a March Bash-ness award. For the second time in just three years, ARRMA is the winner. Chosen by fans from the whole spectrum of RC bashers, set against fifteen competitors, subjected to four rounds of open voting with over 12,000 votes cast, BIG ROCK took it home.
So why did the ARRMA BIG ROCK come out as the clear favorite? Simply stated, "it's a great truck, and truly a bashing beast" said the Big Squid Team. It's super tough, built on a composite chassis cage to absorb all the damage bashing can dish out. It's ridiculously fast, armed with a 2000kV brushless motor and a waterproof ESC to match. Plus, the diff brain makes blasting through any terrain as easy as turning a knob.
All the ARRMA fans out there deserve a big shout-out for, once again, putting the best vehicle on the podium. We're glad you love your hobby! To get your hands on the best basher of 2017, gun it over to arrma-rc.com.
ABOUT BIG SQUID RC: Big Squid RC is the number one source for RC news, reviews and videos in the world. Our site was created for Bashers by Bashers! At a time where the only reported RC news was RC racing, Big Squid RC started off with a different purpose. We were the guys in our backyards, school parking lots, streets, and parks who wanted to push RC vehicles to their limits and beyond. Visit bigsquidrc.com to learn more.
RISE Vusion Named "2017 Drone of the Year" by Model Airplane News March, 2017
Champaign, IL - Hobbico is proud to announce the RISE Vusion RTF Extreme FPV Race Pack has been named "Drone of the Year" by the editors at Model Airplane News.
The RISE Vusion launched in late 2016. It became an instant hit with pilots of all ages and skill levels. In addition to the drone's innovative modular design, the Vusion is a complete, ready-to-fly FPV package with the camera, goggles and monitor inside the box. This game-changing solution makes it easy for modelers to get started in the FPV hobby instantly, with no assembly or separate purchases required. The equipment is cutting-edge, using today's latest 5.8GHz technology for the ultimate in user-friendly, glitch-free operation.
"The Vusion is truly one-of-a-kind. It's the only injection-molded racing drone in its class to come with all of the gear pilots need to get into FPV. It's an honor to receive the prestigious Drone of the Year award from Model Airplane News," said Russ Williamson, Product Development, Hobbico.
One of the RC aircraft industry's most-respected, longest-running magazines, Model Airplane News has been published by Air Age Media since 1929. According to their website, "Air Age Media reaches more than one million pilots, drivers and collectors."
Now's the perfect time to check out this revolutionary, award-winning FPV racing package. For more details on the RISE Vusion, visit explore-rise.com.
Dromida Vista Named "2016 RC Vehicle of the Year" February, 2017
Champaign, IL - Toy & Hobby Retailer has named the Dromida Vista UAV RTF as its "2016 RC Vehicle of the Year"!
Based in Australia, Toy & Hobby Retailer is internationally recognized for its coverage of industry news and detailed reviews of the industry's most exciting toys and hobby products. Throughout Australia, the Vista is distributed by Southern Model Supplies (SMS).
The 251 mm Vista UAV features an advanced 3+3 gyro stabilization system that makes it easy for anyone to fly. The included MR100 SLT™ 2.4GHz radio comes with four flight modes that lets fliers match performance to their skills, while an Auto-Flip button makes "on-demand," pro-style flips a reality.
The Vista FPV adds a 720p HD camera that shoots videos and photos that you can download to your mobile device or share on social media.
The full story can be found on toyhobbyretailer.com.au.
ARRMA NERO Wins Big Squid RC "2016 Bash Vehicle of the Year" January 10, 2017
Champaign, IL - Big Squid RC has named the groundbreaking ARRMA NERO 6S as their "2016 Bash Vehicle of the Year!" The experts at Big Squid RC were impressed by the truck's "intense power system" and loved how the NERO can "take a serious bashing." Big Squid was also blown away by the revolutionary Diff Brain, which locks and unlocks diffs on the fly from the transmitter. This lets bashers switch between four driving styles—blast, wheelie, drift or climb—matching performance to any condition. Two versions of the NERO are available: one with the Diff Brain already installed, and a standard version that comes ready for an easy upgrade. Both models are armed with a powerful BLX brushless system that delivers blistering 60+ mph speeds. This is not the first Big Squid award for ARRMA. The brand previously won two back-to-back "Bash Vehicle of the Year" awards for its GRANITE monster truck in 2013 and 2014. Check out the full story on BigSquidRC.com and order the ARRMA NERO at arrma-rc.com.
June 13, 2016
Baden-Baden, Germany - Exciting news from across the pond: international readers have chosen the AquaCraft Cajun Commander as 2015's "Speedboat of the Year!" The best-selling R/C airboat was honored by the modeling magazine Modellwerft on May 20, at the 2016 Model Awards in Baden-Baden, Germany. The event, which was held at Baden Airport’s Hanger 210, was also a celebration of the 70th anniversary of Modellwerft's publisher, VTH Publishing. As for the Cajun Commander, its unbeatable combination of superior scale details, a high-performance ABS hull, incredible stability and lightning-fast brushless power have made it a hit from day one. It’s no wonder Modellwerft readers selected it as the 2015 "Speedboat of the Year." For further information on the Cajun Commander visit the AquaCraft website.
Hobbico's AquaCraft Boats in Action on Fox & Friends June 13, 2016
The folks over at Fox & Friends recently featured some of our most popular AquaCraft boats, the Atlantic II Tug and the Rescue 17 Fireboat. View the summer fun segment that aired on the national broadcast here.
Viva Italia! Hobbico's own Tim Lampe qualifies for the F5D World Championship in Lugo, Italy. September 22, 2015
Pylon racing in the F5D class requires dedication, skill and top-notch teamwork. These competitions are intense, with speeds in the 180+ mph range and up to three pylon planes competing simultaneously in every heat. With only four contestants at CCRCC for the Team Trials, there was plenty of time for single flights around the three pylon race course.
Despite the wet, windy weather, all four contestants were able to keep their flight times shrieking in at just past the one-minute mark for the lion's share of their flights. Tim won the contest with the group's best score at 593.27 seconds over a total of nine scored flights and the fastest overall time at 61.34 seconds. The other participants all scored within ninety seconds of Tim's score. They will fill out the three man team and spotter/caller spots when they head for the 2016 Lugo, Italy F5D World Championships.
Congratulations to all participants on your outstanding feats of speed! We look forward to hearing good things from you next year at Lugo!
Hobbico takes top honors from modelers and industry insiders September 14, 2015
Hobbico and its products were among this year's big winners in the annual awards sponsored by Air Age Media, publisher of R/C Car Action and Model Airplane News magazines.
For the second year in a row, hobbyists ranked a Duratrax ONYX brand charger at #1 in the R/C Car Action Readers' Choice awards. The ONYX 235 earned their votes for its versatility and ability to rapidly recharge high-capacity packs. Duratrax has now won the Favorite Charger title eight times!
"Chargers play a vital role in R/C," says Duratrax electronics product manager Shane Curry. "It's important to have one that can charge batteries quickly and efficiently. Thank you to our customers and readers of R/C Car Action for choosing the ONYX 235."
Modelers also named O.S. team member and World Champion racer Ty Tessmann as their Driver of the Year. Ty has been an outstanding representative for O.S. - he explained recently that "many things can go wrong in a major race, but I never worry about my engines." The admiration is mutual. R/C Car Action noted that Ty earned his Readers' Choice votes "with results on the track and respect in the pits."
Model Airplane News editors rely on their own expertise to choose a product worthy to be called Innovation of the Year. Their pick for 2015: the O.S. GGT-15 gasoline engine for .61-.90 aircraft. It met the criteria of making "significant advancements in the R/C world" by starting easily with a glow plug, instead of requiring a heavy electronic ignition system and spark plug. "This little machine packs a lot of horsepower into a small, lightweight package," they said.
Hobbico featured on local newscast’s "Made in Illinois" series. Hobbico gives viewers a sneak peek at day-to-day operations August 5, 2015 CHAMPAIGN, IL —
Hobbico has once again made a splash on TV screens, appearing on a local newscast's "Made in Illinois" series.
In this exciting two-part profile, viewers get a behind-the-scenes history of Hobbico, one of the state's most successful and unique businesses.
The segments include interviews with Air Team Manager Frank Noll, Surface Team Manager Brad Brucker, Data and Purchasing Manager Rodney Clinton and R&D's David McCallister.
Popular products are also featured, like the nano-sized Proto-X quadcopter, Team Durango kits and the AquaCraft Fletcher Class Destroyer. The news crew went above and beyond to show how Hobbico has something to offer modelers of all ages and interests.
Factory Tracks Racing team signs with Futaba! Bridging the gap between local favorites and nationally-known pros. July 8, 2015
Meet the famed Factory Tracks Racing team, the latest addition to the Futaba roster!
Based in Michigan, Factory Tracks Racing was founded by Al Horne in 2010. Al originally created the team to "help bridge the gap between the local R/C racer and the big-time R/C pros." In just five short years, his team has become a force to be reckoned with on tracks all over the U.S.
Factory Tracks Racing is based upon "finding and developing young, talented racers that have obtained results up against some of the best in the business, both on and off the track," said Al. By joining forces with Futaba, he hopes the team will "achieve an even higher level of success in the future."
Be sure to look for Factory Tracks Racing at events all over the country. For information on upcoming events, visit factorytracks.com, and please join Futaba on welcoming the Factory Tracks Racing team!
Quique Somenzini joins Futaba! Futaba welcomes National and World Champion pilot. May 22, 2015
Quique Somenzini, winner of multiple National and World Championships, is the latest pilot to join the Futaba family!
Quique is one of R/C's most impressive, most popular fliers. He won his first F3A National Championships in Argentina when he was only ten, and he's been going strong ever since.
In 1979, at the age of twelve, Quique became the youngest pilot to participate in the F3A World Championship - a record which remains unbroken today.
Quique has won multiple flying competitions in his career, including four U.S. F3A National Championships, a Free Style World Championship, an F3A World Championship, an XFC Championship and 19 F3A Argentina National Championships.
In addition to winning multiple international flight competitions, he's worked as a design consultant for O.S.® Engine and Futaba. Quique has also written several columns on R/C flight for countless industry magazines.
Quique recently co-founded Flex Innovations™, where he has helped develop some of today's most cutting-edge R/C hobby products.
Please join us in welcoming Quique Somenzini to Futaba!
Proto-X Makes Its Mark on Morning TV February 20, 2015
When the Proto-X recently appeared on the Today Show, it proved you don’t have to be big in size to be big on fun!
The nano-sized Proto-X was part of a segment on gadgets that are sure cures for winter boredom. It’s so easy to fly, even the show’s hosts took it for a spin during the commercial break.
There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the Proto-X since its release, and this latest TV appearance — along with its low $29.99 price point — demonstrates why this quadcopter continues to fly off store shelves.
Hobbico Joins Campaign to Promote Responsible Drone Flying February 18, 2015
Hobbico recently announced its support for Know Before You Fly, an educational campaign developed to give anyone planning to fly unmanned aircraft — including R/C model drones — the information required to do so safely and responsibly.
Know Before You Fly was founded by three influential organizations that are all dedicated to promoting safe flying: the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA); and the Small UAV Coalition. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has become a partner as well.
The campaign was launched late last year in response to the rapidly growing interest and enthusiasm surrounding drones. While the technology to fly unmanned aircraft has become easy to use and widely available, organizers noted that prospective pilots first must understand some basic facts — who is allowed to fly them, where they can be flown, and for what purposes. Know Before You Fly makes those answers easy to find.
Some of the most popular R/C drones for hobbyists come from Hobbico brands, including Proto-X, Dromida and Helimax. With more in development to meet the enormous demand, Hobbico is eager to help its customers continue enjoying their models with as much freedom as possible. Therefore, Hobbico strongly supports the initiative to educate the public about safe, responsible drone use.
Hobbico is already using its web pages, ads, catalogs, videos, product packages and other marketing materials to build awareness of Know Before You Fly. Hobbico President and CEO Wayne Hemming adds that the company will watch closely for any other opportunities to carry the campaign’s message forward.
Details about Know Before You Fly can be found at knowbeforeyoufly.org, which includes a list of all the organization’s supporters.
Proto-X FPV Featured on National TV! February 9, 2015
R/C quadcopters have captured the national news spotlight several times recently. The Proto-X FPV had its turn on February 4, during a special segment of a major-network morning show. It quickly proved that a little quad can deliver BIG fun.
The two hosts each attempted to pilot their own Proto-X FPV through a small hoop on the set. That neither had practiced beforehand soon became obvious. But it was equally clear that they, the audience and crew were all having a blast!
The compact Proto-X FPV was an ideal choice for the program. It’s among the most durable and stable quad models of its size, gyro stabilized and equipped with a First Person View 2.4GHz transmitter for viewing the onboard camera’s HD video. New hobbyists will also be pleased to discover that it comes complete with a LiPo battery, USB charge cord, and virtually everything else needed to fly, film, and have fun. Only four “AA” batteries are required.
Nic Case Breaks World Speed Record with the 4PK! Famed driver hits 202.02 mph with his "R/C Bullet!" February 5, 2015 Saint George, Utah
Here’s another one for the record books!
In October 2014, fan favorite Nic Case set a 202.02 mph speed record at R/C Car Action’s 2014 “World’s Fastest R/C Car Challenge” event. Nic’s aerodynamic, custom-built R/C Bullet and Futaba 4PK helped make it possible.
In fact, Nic himself credits the 4PK’s impressive range and reliable performance for his record-breaking run.
“The range and quality that Futaba has produced was a key element in the R/C Bullet going over 200 mph,” said Nic.
The latest version of this popular system the 4PX is even faster, with virtually instantaneous response.
Futaba would like to congratulate Nic Case on his exciting achievement!
Hobbico Advertising Team Wins "Creative Ad of the Year" Award
At the 2015 Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) Expo this January, Model Aviation magazine presented Hobbico with its coveted "Creative Ad of the Year" trophy — an award that honors creativity, visual impact, and success at conveying the desired message.
Dual Rates: helping new drivers learn faster. January 26, 2015
All newcomers to R/C have to learn how to drive. However, owners of Dromida RTRs have an advantage: the dual rates feature available on all Dromida radios.
Dual rates typically affect both steering and throttle — and as the name implies, new drivers have a choice of two rates. Low rates are popular with beginners because they make the vehicle easier to handle. Low rates reduce the vehicle’s performance to a fraction of its full capabilities. With low rates on Dromida 1/18 scale ready-to-runs, drivers can make steering response slower and more gentle and speed can be reduced to as little as 40% of full throttle. Reducing both gives the new driver more time to think and react behind the wheel, increasing the chances of success.
Of course, once the driver is comfortable behind the wheel, the radio can be reset to high rates so he/she can enjoy all of the speed and agility the vehicle has to offer.
Dual rates are available on the radios included with all Dromida 1/18 scale ready-to-runs:
- SC4.18 Short Course Truck (DIDC0041)
- MT4.18 Monster Truck (DIDC0042)
- BX4.18 Buggy (DIDC0043)
- DB4.18 Desert Buggy (DIDC0045)
- DT4.18 Desert Truck (DIDC0046)
Team Durango leadership team adds two new members January 8, 2015
Team Durango is proud to introduce two new members to the Team Durango leadership team: Brad Brucker and Travis Amezcua.
Brad Brucker is the new Field Communications Manager - Surface for Team Durango. Based in Champaign, Illinois, Brad will work closely with Travis and team drivers, providing on-site race-day support and feedback for the company's design engineers.
For the past nine years, Brad has worked at Hobbico as the Lead Model Tech for the Hobby Services team, which he supervised in addition to repairing vehicles. Now, he's bringing his R/C expertise to Team Durango.
"It's an honor to join the Team Durango crew. I look forward to working with all the talented members of this team in the coming months," said Brad.
Pro racer Travis Amezcua will serve as Team Durango's new North American Technical Representative, based in southern California.
"After 22 years of racing R/C cars and learning from our industry leaders, now it's my turn to teach the next generation of racers," said Travis.
This is just the beginning of what promises to be an exciting year for Team Durango. Be on the lookout for more exciting updates throughout 2015!