TAMPA - If you ever needed a camouflaged hat or an old army canteen, the Army-Navy Surplus store on Tampa street downtown was the place to go. They're closing up after 75 years in business.
The parking lot was packed Thursday with customers taking one last turn ringing the big brass bell out front.
A gong outside, a throng inside with longtime customers like John Coffey sifting through the clearance racks of his life.
“It breaks my heart to see it go. I bought all my sons camping equipment and bought this pocket knife here 25 years ago,” said Coffey brandishing a shiny folding Buck Knife.
The line snaked through the cluttered store with people snapping up camping gear, Navy bell bottoms, Army boots and oddities rarely found at more gentrified retailers.
Owner Nick Potamitis says he's retiring while he's got enough healthy years left to spend fishing. And though he's touched by the turnout today, it explains in part why it may be time to ship out.
Waiting in line to check out, Gayle Sikes admitted she had not set foot in the Army-Navy Surplus store in 30 years.
“I came because I heard it was going out of business.”
The clearance sale lasts until the store is sold out.
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