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GREENVILLE - SOUTH CAROLINA
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HOME PAGE
Images below are from the BETA Test version of the MWOT that operated from
2013 until 2015 and was created with the talents of our team of creative volunteers from around the world.
The test displays were designed by Founder and President of the Now Cloased Non Profit Mini World Frank Ruby.

Click on images to enlarge
 
 
 
 
 


ABOUT US


The Miniature World of Trains concept started with a spark during the holiday season with a few Greenville, SC area model railroaders.

In early 2010 a meeting with 10 of these model railroaders and the decision was made to create a non profit for the project. At the time Roland Stadelmann was elected president since he stated he could get funding right off for the project from his client base. $1.5M was needed for Phase I.

Other board of director members where Frank Ruby, Marcus Weller and Ed Eichelberger.

The main team voted and it was determined that the non profit name would be Mini World despite the disagreement with the name as it was similar to a European model train display the was currently operating.

The paperwork was filed for the 501c3 in June 2010 and a website was created by Frank Ruby under the Miniature World of Trains name at www.miniatureworldoftrains.com.

With the paperwork filed for the non profit work bean to find a secure funding commitments, venue location and creation of a small demonstration layout.

There was a board meeting in June before Frank Ruby's travel to NMRA Convention in Milwaukee to secure commitments from the major model railroad manufacturers.

In this meeting it was determined that Roland Stadelmann and Marcus Weller had not done any of the duties they where assigned and agreed to do to move the project forward. The next day they resigned from the board.

After the resignations, Frank Ruby stepped up to be President of the non profit, Ed Eichelberger remained as board member and Mike Jensen and Ed Kreach come on as board members and advisors. They where willing to do the needed work.

Frank Ruby went to Milwaukee and secured sponsorship for the project from Walthers, Digitrax, Soundtraxx, Woodland Scenics, Bachmann, Lionel, MTH-Railking, Williams by Bachmann, TCS, Athearn and others in smaller capacities. Also Lowes Home Improvement was the main construction materials supplier as well as Hubbell Lighting for all of the track lighting needed.

Then 501c3 was approved in September 2010!

At this point Ed Eichelberger contact Siemens Corporation for sponsorship since there corporate office in Germany has a large employee club model railroad in the basement under the main cafeteria.

Since Siemens had 7 division that all could tie into the project they agree to sponsor the project at $200K be division which would be $1.4M.

With the sponsorship almost wrapped up in mid December our contact at Siemens went back to Germany for the holidays before finalizing the donation for sponsorship. When he returned in 2011 Siemens went through a corporate reorganization and puff --- the $1.4M was gone!

At this point some progress was made in securing cash funding but cash was hard to come by.

In October 2011 the Children's Museum of the Upstate asked MWOT to create a small Christmas Display for the holiday season. It was created with two weeks and was at the museum for the 2011 holiday season. This display help get the word out about the project.

At this point GADC, Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City Of Greenville helped get the word out but the project was stalled without a major influx of cash.

Roland Stadelmann rejoined the team promising again to the funding for the project. After 2 months he again left the team after no producing!

At this point Frank Ruby began negotiating with the owners of the old Sam's Club on Laurens Rd. While the building was over 100,000sf it was feasible for many many variations inside and out. Lease would have be just $20k per month with $165K deposit needed.  Unfortunately the project could not garner the funds needed and the building was sold and then torn down.

Next up, a new Christmas Display for the City of Fountain Inn.

This display was for the holiday season of 2011 and was a huge success! So much so that Food Lion wanted us to take over one of their closed grocery stores. After 4 months of negotiations terms could not be reached. Then literally that same day a 5,000sf space became available in downtown Greenville, SC. The owner was open to what the project was about and the current Board Of Directors agreed to do a very scaled down version of what the project wanted to do. It would be called the BETA Test.

A 3 year lease was negotiated for the test. Just in case it failed.

Due to delays with approvals from the city until October not much could be done delaying the BETA Test construction start by 3 months!

Once approvals where received from the city interior rehab started with what little money was available at the time. But at this point bigger donations started to come in.

MWOT Phase I was started in mid November and the Christmas Model Train Display opened the day after Thanksgiving and was open until January 2013 while the MWOT was being created. The venue was closed from
3 1/2 months without and customers visiting the venue.

20 volunteers working 7 days a week created the project BETA TEST in just 120 days!

A city construction project started in October 2012 that severally restricted parking in the area which affected attendance!

The BETA Test was a success despite the parking issues. Some 80,000 visitors  came to the venue without any advertising!

By the end  of the lease though people where coming, the city approved a new building right that would block the view of the venue from Falls Park and Main Street. Also, the city would be closing the street where the main entrance was, the city was allowing a 8 story construction crane in front of the main entrance. So we had to close with nowhere to go.

The non profit was dissolved in July 2015

Fast forward to 2019.

Kelly Orr and Frank Ruby began to re-imagine the project as a for profit with investors.

Some initial funding was received and other investors where fund. Two locations where found but yet again the  buildings where sold by the owners leaving the project out in the cold again!

Now it was Covid's turn for delaying the project. All of the investors pulled out but Kelly Orr and Frank  Ruby still are wanting to do the project but put it on hiatus.

Fast forward again to late 2021 and the for profit began the search for a new location. Several where found and negotiations again started. Some funding has been committed to for PHASE I  but more is needed from investors and donors but with the war in Ukraine  delayed the project again.

A major fund raising campaign was started at the end of April 2022 via Model Railroader and Classic Toy Trains Magazines, the NMRA Magazines and Model Railroad Hobbyist online magazine. Also a new Crowd Funding Campaign was started on Patreon as well.

But at this point in May 2022 we should be able to commit to a location sometime between now and the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2022.
 

05/04/22
 


 

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