Right now, Zionsville Train Depot contains one track with one model train running. A few shelves contain Playmobil, Chuggington and Thomas the Tank Engine toy inventory from Watts Trains and Toy Shop. A sky tram system hangs above the bare track but not for long. Owner of the train depot, Rick Whitt, has big plans for his little store.
Whitt got the idea to start his shop after the Watts decided to focus on Christmas items. He bought their inventory of trains and toys and went from there. Before starting at Watts, Whitt published books and worked closely with the Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Club and the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
"I worked for Watts for approximately over 10 years," Whitt said. "I originally had a pre-press business over here on 106th Street. That's how I met the Watts, because I did their negatives for their advertising. Then the technology took over and computers came in, so my business was no longer viable because you didn't need a camera."
According to Whitt, he had always had an interest in trains, and this inspired him to purchase Watts' inventory. He said his shop contains inventory that fits every interest and every occasion.
"So basically we have all ages covered, from the children that like Thomas the Tank to the older people that like the big trains to run around the Christmas tree," Whitt said.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.