From a single room in a hotel,
Hobbies and Books has grown to a multi-storey complex that includes the
Islands’ first public parking garage, all of which is known as Piccadilly
Centre in downtown George Town.
In fact, Billy and Mary Adam have
always operated their business downtown, starting in April, 1971 with a room at
the Bay View Hotel (where the Anchorage Centre is now). Billy joked recently
that the store was in the bedroom and he took all of the usual fixtures out of
the bathroom so it could be used as an office.
The store featured model planes and
children’s books from the UK. Expansion was inevitable and the couple moved
down a block and around the corner to larger quarters on Shedden Road. Along
with books and magazines, the store was filled with hobby craft and science
kits, sporting goods, tropical fish, aquariums, birds and cages, and sporting
goods including soccer team jerseys. Shoppers of all ages visited the store,
where the family-oriented atmosphere was emphasised when the Adam children were
old enough to come in and help look after the animals.
Hobbies and Books helped serve the
rest of the Island through its distribution and wholesale of reading materials.
The Adams also brought in Christmas trees.
By 1994, the business
was ready to expand again, this time going around the corner and over a block
on Elgin Avenue. The car park provided welcome space for over 200 vehicles,
while the enlarged store area provided not only more room for an
ever-increasing range of toys and hobby items, but also more book shelves and a
place to host book-signing sessions with local and visiting authors.