Army Navy Surplus Market, 1312 N. Tampa St.
November 2009

This Tampa landmark has been in business since around 1948.  Since 1978, it was under the command Philip Rivers who took over ownership and ran the market with 6 employees for 20 years through December, 1998.

 

Stepping into the place is like going down into the trenches of military history.  The aroma of boot leather wafts through the dark, narrow aisles. Camouflaged gear flanks the maze-like aisles, and stacks of boxes are perched precariously overhead.

Socks, boots, T-shirts, belts, denim and leather jackets and luggage are big sellers. Among the more peculiar items are small packs and airplane wing covers from the World War II era and camouflage gear in black and white, red and white and blue and white.

 

Typical customers range from hunters looking for camouflage and anti-mosquito gear to law enforcement officers who buy sturdy black boots.

According to former owner Philip Rivers in 1998, European tourists also frequent the store, "They don't have stores like that over there."  Among his more famous customers were Morley Safer of "60 Minutes" and Brenda Schwarzkopf, wife of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. 

Rivers said that through the years, he bought his stock at auctions on military bases and from factories that supply the military.  The U.S. military buys merchandise that lasts.

In 1998, Rivers was in negotiations with 2 prospective buyers.  He planned a "going out of business sale" in December of that year, in preparation for the new ownership.  According to Rivers, he had "made enough money" in the business and looked forward to fresh troops taking over with similar inventory.

In December of 1998, the business was sold to Nick Potamitis, who took over as owner and registered agent of the corporation, and Army Navy Surplus Market, Inc. continues on as a Tampa landmark.

 

 

Feb 20, 2013 - Army Navy store in downtown Tampa to close after 75 years

Feb 21, 2013 - Owner calling it "quits".  Tampa landmark will vanish - See "Tour Of Duty Ends".

 

 

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