Chinook & Hobby West owners Rob and Valerie Gale say toys are their passion. “I always say, ‘I get to play. Um, I mean product test,’” says Rob with a laugh. And toys are such a passion that Rob “unofficially” proposed to Valerie in the aisle of a Toys “R” Us store. The couple met while they were working at Chinook & Hobby West prior to taking over the business in 1995.
They’ve passed their love of toys, particularly model trains, to their 12-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter. It’s not uncommon to see the Gale children assisting in the store on weekends. “It’s nice to see them get a hobby that doesn’t involve batteries,” says Valerie. But that doesn’t mean video games are forbidden in the Gale household. “Video games have their place, but after a while we say, ‘Shut off the television. It’s imagination time, now,’” Valerie explains.