Moscow drug and hobby store keeps indestructible vintage toys alive


LUKE HOLLISTER | The Daily Evergreen

Erin Jepsen, a part-time employee, talks about all the different quirks and artifacts inside Hodgins Drug and Hobby on Sunday in downtown Moscow.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

Hodgins Drug and Hobby is a family-owned shop that gives small towns like Moscow and Pullman their essence.

Pam Hays is a part of the second generation of the second family to own the Moscow shop, and is currently a manager of the store. Her family has owned it since 1962, at which point it had already been open for more than 70 years.

The upstairs portion houses the pharmacy and educational toys for younger kids, while the downstairs features all hobby needs, including board games, card games and collectable items.

“We’ve always had toys and other fun things in the store as well as the pharmacy,” Hays said. “In the ’60s and ’70s when insurance companies started to squash our profit margins, we needed to find a way to stay alive. The toys and other fun things were that way.”

Many community members of Moscow deem Hodgins a staple in their lives. One stay-at-home mom, Erin Jepsen, took her kids there so often and enjoyed the store so much, she asked for a job. Jepsen spends her Sunday afternoons working at Hodgins, a place she thinks is simply happy and fun.

“We shopped here because the stuff is quality, and I really like supporting local businesses,” Jepsen said.

Hodgins is the unique home to many different forms of entertainment on the Palouse. The upstairs portion is the only place in the area that sells a combination of educational and vintage toys.

“It’s paying homage back to when toys were almost indestructible and when kids played outside,” Jepsen said, “when there weren’t many screens and families played board games together.”

Joel Orozco has been working at Hodgins since 2012, and he specializes in the downstairs portion — the hobby shop. Orozco originally wanted to work in the basement of Hodgins because he enjoys the kind of games they sell and the culture that surrounds those games.

“We have a little bit of everything down here that’s not electronic,” he said. “Sometimes people just want to play board games, and it’s important for people to have a place to buy that kind of stuff in person rather than online.”

Hodgins is an important part of the community because of all the unique things they sell, as well as how involved they are in the community, Pam said. They sell handmade hats, doll clothes and gift cards, all made by local artists.

“It’s really important for any community to have a family-run store like this that’s involved in the community,” Hays said. “Smaller stores like this are the heart and soul of towns like Moscow. They’re the places that are involved in what gives the town its flavor.”