Horizon Hobby

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The Horizon Hobby logo.

Horizon Hobby, LLC. is an international hobby product distributor, headquartered in Champaign, Illinois.[1] It currently manufactures various hobby grade radio control (R/C) models, as well as Athearn model trains and die-cast models, which it sells direct to consumers as well as to hobby retailers.[2]


Horizon Hobby was founded in 1985 by Rick Stephens, along with some of his family and industry professionals. It was originally opened as a wholesale RC distributor, with no direct marketing to customers.

Horizon employs about 950 people and sells products in about 50 countries. Corporate headquarters, along with the main distribution facilities and product service center, are located in Champaign, Illinois. Additional distribution centers are located in Ontario, California; Long Beach, California; Lieusaint, France; Harlow, England (site of Horizon Hobby UK Ltd.); Shanghai, China; Zhuhai, China; Barsbüttel, Germany; Hamburg, Germany; Berlin, Germany; and Elmshorn, Germany (site of Horizon Hobby Deutschland GmbH). California is also home to the Losi RC car division (Ontario, CA) and the Athearn train line (Long Beach, CA).[3]

It is also the parent company for Athearn trains, Blade Helis, Dynamite RC (Battery Chargers, Speed Controllers, Nitro Engines), E-flite, ECX, Evolution, Force RC, Hangar 9, HobbyZone, ParkZone, Pro Boat, Losi, Team Losi Racing, Staufenbiel, Spektrum Radio equipment, and Vaterra. It is also the exclusive distributor of JR Radios in North America.


In October 1985, Horizon Hobby was founded by Rick Stephens, an American entrepreneur.

In 1992, Horizon Hobby purchased Hobby Dynamics.

In 1998, Horizon Hobby acquired Indy RC and began to market directly to consumers.

In 2004, Horizon Hobby acquired the European company Helger Racing, which was then renamed to Horizon Hobby UK Ltd.

In 2008, Horizon Hobby acquired German distributor JSB which becomes Horizon Hobby Deutschland GmbH. Horizon Hobby also opens an office in Paris, France.

In 2006, Horizon Hobby becomes Employee-owned with the introduction of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

On December 9, 2013, Horizon announced that the company was being bought by a group of investors led by Horizon's CEO, Joe Ambrose. The group includes Minneapolis-based Mill City Capital L.P. and Champaign-based Armory Capital LLC founded by Jacob Ambrose.[4]

Before being purchased by Horizon Hobby, the Losi remote-controlled car division had been a separate company founded by Gil Losi with the release of the JRX2 in 1988.[5]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  3. ^ "Where We Are - Horizon Hobby LLC". Horizonhobbycorp.com. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  4. ^ "Horizon Hobby being sold to investors". News-Gazette.com. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  5. ^ "Vintage Losi". Retrieved 20 January 2016. 

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