Special to Emmaus Patch By Chrissy Cilento, Emmaus High School Senior
Business: Club Heli
12 S. 4th Street
Founded: 2008; moved to Emmaus January 2012
Owner: Rick Hauler
What does Club Heli sell?
RC Helicopters and a bunch of other stuff! Parts, tools -- we do a lot of service, a lot of repairs, custom builds, that kind of stuff. Really anything that has to do with remote control helicopters. We’re dabbling in cars too, but mostly helicopters.
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Why did you choose to locate your business in Emmaus?
Well, we always wanted it in Emmaus. We live about six minutes from here and everything started in our basement. When we were ready to move into a store, there wasn’t one available (in Emmaus) that was large enough, so we were on the east side of Allentown for the last few years, and then this place opened up and allowed us to go where we originally wanted it to go.
What makes your business different from the competition?
Everything! We specialize in remote control helicopters. With most of the hobby shops, that’s kind of a very minor part of their product line. Most of them concentrate on cars. So that’s the biggest advantage -- what we sell. There are no specialty shops like us, especially on the service aspect of things. We carry a lot of things that they don’t, so people can come here, and we have a workbench, so they can do their thing. They buy their parts and fix it; we check it and make sure everything’s working okay. We get a lot of people who drop their stuff off and we service it, and those other places don’t do that, so we’re more like a boutique shop in that sense -- we’re very specialized.
What inspired you to start your business?
Well, I guess the main thing was that I’d bought a helicopter and couldn’t find parts for it in the United States. So we bought a couple hundred dollars in parts and sold them, then bought more and sold them. It really wasn’t like I was looking for a business opportunity or scoured the Internet or anything -- it just kind of happened.
What is the most rewarding part of your business?
The best part is that it’s mine, obviously, but I get to do what I love! I mean it’s my hobby, and not many people have that opportunity. I get to wake up every day and know that I get to play with toys!
Where do you hope to see your business in the future?
This is on a little grander scale…I would like to diversify a little bit more. I’d like to cater to more than just helicopters -- get into cars, boats, maybe even planes. Ultimately, we do want to become a club, hence the name. We want to have a flight club and a field.
Do you have a role model or mentor for what you do?
My dad. He owns a business so he certainly has cut his teeth. It’s a scary thing getting into something where you’re financially obligated, deciding to risk just about everything. He completely switched careers. He’d be the one.
Chrissy Cilento, a senior at , plans to study journalism in college. She is a periodic contributor to Patch.