Wildwood Train Depot is International Destination
|Holly Beach Train Depot owner Larry Lillo in front of his Pacific Avenue store.
WILDWOOD - Holly Beach Train Depot, located at 4712 Pacific Avenue in Wildwood, has become a must-visit destination for model train lovers from Canada to the Carolinas.
Entering its 15th year of operation in the same downtown location, the Holly Beach Train Depot is owned and operated by train fanatic Larry Lillo. Lillo, a retired captain with the Wildwood Fire Department, became interested in model trains as a child. Attending a 1993 model train show inspired him to begin collecting and eventually to open a retail location.
"That train show really got me enthused about model trains," said Lillo. "I started buying trains and finally ran out of room at home and decided to open this store. At that time, there had been no train shop in Wildwood for over 30 years."
Holly Beach Train Depot is named after the original train station which was located one block west of the store. Holly Beach City, the original name for the center of 5 Mile Beach island, was consolidated with the Borough of Wildwood in 1912. The store has a huge inventory of model trains of different types and gauges. Lillo also manufactures custom train accessories, including signs, buildings and trucks.
An expanded website has brought customers from across the globe, with Lillo shipping to England, Japan, Canada and throughout the US. With the largest selection anywhere in South Jersey, plus custom accessories, Holly Beach Train Depot has become a classic "destination retailer", the store's unique offerings attracting customers from a wide area.
Lillo has been living and working on Pacific Avenue for 60 years, beginning his business career with a shoe shine stand during the 1950's. He opened his first retail store, a crib rental shop, in 1971. He has seen the ebb and flow of Pacific Avenue over the years but has seen progress recently.
"Some people think that you can't make money on Pacific Avenue," said Lillo. "It's simply not true. If you offer customers a unique product, have a large selection, fair prices and good service, people will shop here."
For more information about the Holly Beach Train Depot, including their hours of operation and the brands, gauges and accessories they carry, visit their website at hollybeachtraindepot.com or call 609-522-2379.
Holly Beach Train Depot owner Larry Lillo holding a custom made train accessory building modeled after the Firehouse Tavern in Wildwood.