Kids experimenting with entrepreneurship is far from uncommon—the lemonade stand has become an American rite of passage after all. What is more uncommon is when a childhood passion carries into adulthood and makes way for a highly successful business. As is the case of identical twins Bradley and Richard Arkell: lifelong entrepreneurs, longtime remote-control enthusiasts and owners of Dollar Hobbyz, brand new to Woodbury.
Dollar Hobbyz, which has operated solely online prior to the new Woodbury store opening this spring, specializes in cars, trucks, drones and their parts. The Arkell brothers hope the 1,900-square-foot Woodbury store, located on Rivertown Drive, will serve the existing local remote-control community as well as ignite the passion for a brand new generation.
The online site offers 15,000 products, many of these being smaller parts of models, which is how the Arkell twins got their start in the industry. Richard found there was nowhere online to buy specific parts of models, and that online markets like eBay offered a chance for him to become a seller. “As young kids, we would go door-to-door selling drawings for a dime,” Bradley says. “This sense of creating and selling has been something we have always naturally done.”
The business model was highly successful, so when the Stillwater natives ventured to Liberty University in Virginia, they took it with them, originally under the name TwinHobbyz. Studying business finance in college nicely complemented their business ownership, and they even taught the model to their friends.
In 2006 after graduating from college, the twins both turned to full-time investment careers in Virginia, and Dollar Hobbyz was put on the shelf. By the time they returned to Minnesota—now with wives and families—they were ready to pick it back up. In 2010, Richard launched the first ecommerce site for Dollar Hobbyz, offering 500 products. Working together, the twins have multiplied this product offering by more than 30 in the past six years.
“Being business partners has always felt natural for us,” Richard says. “In high school we ran track relays together, in college we were in the same classes and dorm, we got married four weeks apart. It just makes sense that we partner in this business. I only wish we were triplets.”
Their new Woodbury retail store will boast the most popular models in their remote-control inventory and a 4,000-square-foot track for remote-control vehicle- and drone-racing. It will be the only hobby store with a remote-control track in the Twin Cities, and only one of two stores in the state.
The track will host competitive races and tournaments on the weekends, but is also open to walk-ins who would like to give remote-control racing a try. The track part of the store will include a mezzanine overlooking the track, with space to bring in food and drinks.
“We’re excited to connect the existing remote-control enthusiasts and clubs that haven’t had an established place to go,” Bradley says. “We also can’t wait to welcome birthday parties, bachelor parties—any group that wants to come in and have fun.”