When he turned 9-years-old, Keith Martin Kaucher picked out his first model car kit, a 1940 Ford Coupe, at Evett's Model Shop on Ocean Park Boulevard.
The bigger birthday present was a Sting Ray bicycle, "but I was more excited about getting the $1 model," Kaucher recalled.
More than three decades later and Kaucher is still buying parts from the model shop, said to be the last one operating on the Westside. It reached a new milestone on Saturday: its 65th anniversary.
"There's no other model shop," said Playa del Rey resident Michael Kellogg, former owner of now-defunct Lincoln Hobby Center. "You don't see businesses like this anymore—ever. Today, everyone shops on eBay."
It's customers like Kaucher, men who started shopping there when they were boys, who help sustain the smal mom-and-pop shop owned by 93-year-old Colby Evett and his wife, Yvonne. There's also the customers like Kellogg, who want to support local businesses.
"You take a look at a picture online, you get a package in the mail and it's not what you wanted," Kellogg said. "Here, you know what you're getting. They try to make you as happy as possible."
Model war planes, some built by Evett himself, hang from the ceilings. Balsa wood of varying shapes and sizes, along with paints, glues, brushes, and other crafts, tools and toys are nestled on the shelves.
"It's a relic," said Luke Orrin, a model enthusiast who started working at the shop about 8 months ago after begging the Evetts for a job, he said. "It's killer to work for somebody like Colby."
Colby Evett was one of the early pioneers of remote-controlled model airplanes. Every week, he taught children how to fly their models at local airfields. He said his was the only shop in Los Angeles that could do repairs.
He's frail now, but still ever-present at the shop.
"What I miss much more than anything else, [is] teaching young fliers how to fly radio controlled models," he said, quietly, Saturday during a 65th anniversary party.
At the celebration, Kaucher said he remembered walking with classmates from Grant Elementary School to Evett's to gawk at monster car kits displayed in storefront window.
And when he was about 12-years-old and didn't have the money to buy a $3 1955 Chevy model kit upfront, he said Evett let him make 50 cent payments from his weekly allowance.
But Evett was "actually kind of grumpy" back then, said Kaucher, who now owns his own custom car and model design company based in Santa Monica.
"I get it," he said. "He was doing the business to pay for what he loved doing, which was to build planes in the back room."