About Us
Clown Alley Circus Tents & Trains is a part of J & J  Sales & Service of
605 Lincoln Street in Lerna, Illinois.  We have been involved in the
model railroad hobby for 20 years as a retail and custom building
service.  The company originated in the Dallas, Texas area in the early
1980's and moved to Illinois in 1993.  During the first years in Illinois,
we were mainly constructing indoor and outdoor model railroads, with
retail as a side-line.  Our biggest project, Rockome Gardens 'Old Hickory
Garden Railroad' was designed and constructed over a three year period
from 1993 thru 1995.  During that time span we built several indoor
model railroads in G thru N scale. From 1996 until 2003 we mainly did
custom model building an painting.  In 2004 we returned to the retail
side of the business and spent the next several years retailing at model
train shows.  In 2008 we launched a line of custom model railroad decal
that were marketed on Ebay and through retail stores.  At one time we
were the largest seller of custom decals on Ebay with over 250 different
design offerings.  The decal line was dropped in early 2010 due to
problems with printing materials.  Those problems have since been
resolved and we will again offer our decal line sometime later this
Our present retail and service operation was really expanded in August
of 2012 when we purchased a larger building for the retail shop.  In
November of 2012 we opened a temporary store in the Cross County Mall,
Mattoon, IL.  We included in that store a 24' x 24' G Scale Circus
railorad.  This was to show case our line of custom circus tents and
accessories.  The store was open from Thanksgiving weekend through
the 3rd of Feburary 2013.  we have now moved to our new and much
larger retail store located at 3965 North County Road 150 East just
outside of Mattoon, Il.  Our location in Lerna now houses the custom
painting and building shop, the layout fabrication shop and the parts
The people involved in Clown Alley are:

James Ruef, founder and partner.  Jim does the custom building, repair
and painting as well as layout design and construction.  With over 50
years in model railroading experience.
Peggy Ruef, co-founder and partner, Peggy helps in the retail side of
the operation.
Margret Waggoner,  partner and tent designing and fabricating
wizzard.  Margret and her late husband Al were involved with the
company several years ago and helped with the building of the garden
railroad at Rockome.  Margret is the driving force behind the custom
tent part of the business as well as helping to operate the retail
James Ruef Jr. assists in the contstruction of indoor and garden
railroads.  He has been involved in business on and off for over 20 years.
Some vies of the new retail location