When one drives along Spring Grove Avenue, it’s easy to speed right past Northside Surplus. Housed in a non-descript two-story building with white siding, this store is located catty corner
from the White Castle on the west and Building Value on the east.
But, its colorful patriotic-styled sign above the entrance topped by an American flag dancing in the wind should capture Northsiders’ attention. They are a reflection of the treasure trove of military and non-military merchandise packing the aisles inside. Items for sale include clothing and footwear, jackets and coats, camping and outdoor gear, helmets, goggles, knives, flags, military insignia, patches, and flags, and first aid kits.
Co-owned by Todd Hague and Parker Watts, Northside Surplus has been in business for about five and a half years.
“We saw the opportunity to sell things that aren’t being sold elsewhere,” said Hague. “We were interested in this stuff and no one else was doing it.”
He said they have something for everyone.
“If you’re out in the weather, it’s good to be warm and dry,” said Hague as he led a tour of the cold-weather gear that includes heavy coats, hats, gloves and wool liners, socks, scarves, and fleece clothing.
“Or there’s the do-it-yourselfers that come in and buy merchandise for arts and crafts projects or to repurpose items for re-sell. They might add patches or screen prints,” said Hague. He added that bicyclers like to purchase backpacks and bags with long handles that are made of materials that stand up to the weather.
“We also get dance, church, school groups, and those doing photo shoots that are looking for unique items.”
Although most of the merchandise is new, there are used items such as blankets and poncho liners. Hague said the poncho liners are also called ranger blankets and they repel dog hair.
The store is also a good spot to see objects not normally found in typical retail. The display case up front has gas masks and canisters for sale. At the end of the counter are artillery shells which are not for sell. On the front counter, are waterproof notebooks.
Although there is a great deal of American military merchandise, Hague said that many other countries are represented: Czechoslovakia, Sweden, France, Germany, Greece, Canada, Switzerland, Serbia, Great Britain, Israel, and Bulgaria, just to name a few.
He also pointed out the ample supply of non-military camping and outdoor gear: compasses, first aid kits, insect repellent, sporting goods, and a good selection of sturdy boots and shoes.
“We all know what we’re talking about in this store,” said Jonathan Hoffer, sales clerk, whose friendly face greets customers on the weekends. He said the owners and the employees have a vast knowledge of the merchandise and some have first-hand experience using it because they served in various branches of the military.
The store also offers merchandise via mail order. Items may be ordered in the store or through the store’s website.
For Northside Surplus customers, free parking is available for thirty minutes in the Northside Business Association’s parking lot next to the store.
The holiday season is nearly here and a good place to start looking for unique and useful gifts is at Northside Surplus. And, don’t forget their offerings of warm weather clothing and gear – winter is knocking on the door.
For More Info:
Stop In: 4019 Spring Grove Avenue
Call: (513) 541-1405
By Karen Andrew