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.
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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 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.