I. Goldberg, Philadelphia’s celebrated Army and Navy and military surplus retailer, sold its last pair of work boots on Friday. And shortly afterward, it closed for good. The celebrated shopping destination had served Center City at several different locations — most recently Seventh and Chestnut Streets — for 100 years.

There was no bugle present to sound “Taps,” no clinking of champagne glasses.

Third generation retailer Nana Goldberg (on ladder) and her son, Alexander DeLia, 23, pose inside the Goldberg Army & Navy store at 718 Chestnut Street December 20, 2018. The ladder is a design element, there instead of just covering the shelf stock with a wall or a curtain. The Philly retail icon was forced out of their previous location at 13th and Chestnut. Sales are down because of the move. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Third generation retailer Nana Goldberg (on ladder) and her son, Alexander DeLia, 23, pose inside the Goldberg Army & Navy store at 718 Chestnut Street December 20, 2018. The ladder is a design element, there instead of just covering the shelf stock with a wall or a curtain. The Philly retail icon was forced out of their previous location at 13th and Chestnut. Sales are down because of the move. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

On Friday afternoon, the shelves had been stripped bare. A handful of green Deutsche Bundeswehr T-shirts hung on a chrome rack. Several pairs of high-tech goggles remained at the glass cashier counter as a long line of customers trailed to the back of the store, clutching deeply-discounted finds: new crimson polo shirts emblazoned with the logo of the Royal Mail, heavy grey Swedish Army jackets, and used green woolen trousers.

“I think some people are here for the first time,” said Nana Goldberg, 63, the third-generation owner of the store. “It’s been a big sale, and some want to say they shopped here and bought something before it closed. I only wish they had come three months ago.”

Store managers announced I. Goldberg would close forever in a Facebook post on Tuesday and immediately slashed prices.

“We were very busy Wednesday and Thursday,” Goldberg said. “By today it was mostly picked over.”

The I Goldberg Army & Navy store at 718 Chestnut Street December 20, 2018. The Philly retail icon was forced out of their previous location at 13th and Chestnut. Sales are down because of the move. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
TOM GRALISH
The I Goldberg Army & Navy store at 718 Chestnut Street December 20, 2018. The Philly retail icon was forced out of their previous location at 13th and Chestnut. Sales are down because of the move. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

The store had struggled to find its customers after a move from 13th and Chestnut to its new digs at 718 Chestnut.

“It takes a long time for people to find you again after a move, even with the internet and social media,” Goldberg said. “People live in their own little bubbles and don’t venture very far from their routines.”

Some employees had worked for decades at I. Goldberg, and had begun their retailing careers at the store’s venerable location at 902 Chestnut.

Asked what her next move would be, Nana Goldberg was rueful. “Right now we’re going to take care of housekeeping and help the staff find new work," she said. “We’ll help them send letters and draw up resumés. And then, maybe, we’ll find me a job.”