MEDINA, Ohio — John Ormandy was lucky. He met his first love at just 4-years-old.
“Even then I liked the trains,” he said. “Why is any child enchanted with a train? Why? Everybody wants to see the trains, when they come in they want to see the trains running, there’s something about that.”
After settling in northeast Ohio from Hungary, the wheels in his brain started turning to turn that hobby into a business.
“I always wanted a train store,” he said.
He opened Ormandy’s Train & Toys 31 years ago on 10 Public Square in Medina’s Historic District. For decades, the store stayed right on track as Ormandy continued to collect thousands of diverse items that garnered attention from diverse places.
“They do call from all over the country. I have train collectors come from all over,” he said. “A lot of people come here to repair their trains. I’m probably the only one that does a repair.”
He said his joy comes from seeing an interest in trains grow in kids and passed down through generations.
“I see kids come here that we’re babies when I started here and now they have babies,” he said. “There’s a lot of kids that cry when they leave because they want to stay here forever.”
But in February, Ormandy’s dream got derailed.
“The children of the owner, they want me out,” he said.
He was served an eviction notice because he was struggling to make rent. He said the rent spiked from $1,200 a month to about $2,700.
“This store is not a moneymaker, I mean you can’t get rich, but they raised my rent to such an extent that I couldn’t live with,” said Ormandy.
Kimberly Marshall, the economic development director for the city of Medina, said they will be sad if he goes.
“It’s a unique and it’s a niche item that probably most communities don’t have,” she said.
Marshall said her goal is to make Medina a destination for tourists and shops like Ormandy’s is a part of that. She said the city has been working with Ormandy’s legal team to find a new spot for him to stay in the city, but there’s limited space on the square with 100% occupancy.
“That definitely is a prime space and there probably will be people fighting over it to get in there,” said Marshall.
At 84 years old, Ormandy said he doesn’t want to close up shop and move. He said he will continue to fight for his first love.
“I don’t want to move. I’m 84-years-old but I’m in good health, so I still have a lot of time left.”
Ormandy is in a pending legal battle with the owner of the property. News 5 reached out to the owner’s attorney but has not heard back. Last week, a Medina County magistrate ruled that the eviction still stands. Ormandy’s legal team has 14 days to appeal.