Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Army-Navy Surplus dates back to before the Greeks and Romans: Some of their surplus might even be hiding here

I guess asking the question, “When did Army Navy surplus stores first appear,” is like asking when did man first think to invent weapons or decide he needed a tent over his head? There was probably a shop just off the Appian Way carrying barely-used surplus Roman officers' tunics and shields. This store, the Army Navy Surplus Market of Tampa, carries pretty much everything you would imagine they could fit inside the building. Some things, like the aircraft wing tank and radar device will have to stand out front in the sun and rain. Every square inch inside is jammed with goods. New. Used. Very used and collectible. Ratty. New and smelling of rain repellent chemicals or gun oils and grease. And camouflaged. Did I say camouflaged? Three-quarters of the items inside the store is in some state of camo. They carry military surplus but a good selection of camping and hunting equipment plus a wide assortment of heavy-duty work clothing, boots, shoes and hats. It's a wide and unusual assortment that comes in handy when you need a costume for a Halloween party or themed social event. And if you don't see it, you must ask because there is a good chance it's in there. Hidden. Really hidden under gun belts, pilot's jackets, cowboy hats or knife sheaths. It's there somewhere and they love to hunt with you for whatever it is you need. It's a part of every town's retail heritage. I'm sure they have their ups and downs through good times and recessions, but I think their business will be with us for a very long time. (Now how am I going to fit that aircraft wing tank in my trunk.)


  1. I like Army-Navy surplus stores, although I've found that many of them sell mostly new stuff and some of it isn't all that well-made.

    I did an article a few years back on a Russian military surplus sale -- all kinds of heavy weaponry on the bloc!

    Nice post, Frank. And how come you know so damn much?

    You're impressing the hell out of me!


  2. These stores never cease to amaze me.