Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Pepper Spray King

Just a brief shout out to our friends at Army Navy Outdoors and my good friend, Sam Zackowitz. Sam and his staff at his four Florida stores have been working hard building one helluva personal defense spray business. He also has a great selection on his website Army Navy Outdoors.

Anyway, Sam and his staff filmed a great video showing his full selection. Even better, Sam somehow got one of his team members to agree to be sprayed and show the effects of some of Sam's products. It takes one heck of a salesman to do that!!

Check out Sam's video below. You can go to for our full selection of self defense sprays, too.

Have a great weekend.

John Ottaviano

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Road Trip!!

At Rothco, we were fortunate to have last Friday off for Good Friday. Traditionally, I like to attend a local "Stations of the Cross" service in observance of the holiday. This year, my oldest daughter, Nina, was involved in a college showcase soccer tournament at Ft. Dix, NJ. So we drove down from Long Island. Actually, she did, so it was a true adventure having a 16 year old drive accross bridges and turnpikes for a 2 1/2 hour ride.

Friday, the first day of the tournament was great, lots of college coaches and scouts around. Saturday, the second day was a total washout, with heavy rain all morning. My daughter participated in a muddy and messy goalkeeper showcase, but there was nobody around to see it. With the day ending early and wet, we headed home.

So the day wouldn't be a total loss, I decided we should stop at the wonderful looking farmer's market we passed on the way down. The market was huge, with tons of fresh produce, fish and meats, and lots of real Amish folks working the stalls. My daughter and I had a wonderful meal of barbequed pulled pork and spare ribs and afterwards I decided to take a little look around the rest of the market, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Hector's Outdoor Haven , one of Rothco's best customers in the area.

Though the weather was wet and dreary outside, Hector's store was hopping, with folks coming from hours away for the great selection of military goods and the "expert air smithing" of the impresario himself, Hector Medina. About half of the store was devoted to paintball and airsoft guns and equipment and customers all stood around the back, watching Hector at work fixing paintball guns like young boys in the 1800's watching the village blacksmith.

The staff was friendly and busy, so I took some pictures, said "hello" to everyone and let them get back to their work. It really is a great little store, with a vibrant atmosphere and customers coming from many miles away.

Look for Rothco to be coming to your store this spring and summer and we'll feature you in one of our upcoming blogs.

John Ottaviano

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Tribute to a Legend, Charlie Goldberg

Rothco and the whole army navy surplus industry lost a good friend yesterday when one of the stalwarts of our business, Charlie Goldberg, passed away at 87 years old. I had the pleasure of talking to Charlie many times over the telephone and seeing him many times over my 20 years attending the various trade shows, most often at the ASD trade show in Las Vegas. He was always dapper, a gentleman, and extemely knowledgeable. He had a great knack for the surplus business and he turned his legendary army navy store, I Goldberg, into a true icon of the Philadelphia retail scene.

There was a wonderful write up in today's Philadelphia Inquirer and you can view it here.

Here are some thoughts from our own Jeff Py, a native Philadelphian, who had the privilege of working with Charlie for a number of years:

"Charlie was one of the original Army Navy marketing masters. He had the knack to create items from nothing. If an item didn't sell he would raise the price (not lower it) dye it, cut things off or add things on, call it something else creating a whole new garment. He had the uncanny abiility to find the most bizarre items from all over the world creating the mystique of the Army Navy store. The I Goldberg store in Philadelphia directed by Charlie was one of the most unique shopping experiences one will ever encounter. "

One of the greatest compliments Rothco has ever received is a letter that Charlie wrote to us back in late 2006, complimenting the Rothco catalogue, saying "If all of these men (our army navy ancestors) were lucky enough to be able to read your catalogue, they would say, as I say, your catalogue is the best ever. We are happy to be here and to be fortunate enough to do business with your esteemed company."

Charlie was a prince of a man and we will miss him dearly. Our founder, Milton Somberg, who we are lucky enough to have with us still, regales us often with stories about Charlie's prowess as a surplus buyer and and as a businessman. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Goldberg family and all those in the industry who knew and loved Charlie as we did. He was one of a kind.

To see leave a note for the Goldberg family or see the tributes of others, click here.

A blessed Easter and Passover holiday to all.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Spring is in the air, Is it in Your Window?

Well it seems we're not alone in the blogosphere. Our friends at Uncle Sam's Army Navy in New York have started a blog of their own . If you recall, we featured their store window on 8th Street in New York right around Christmas . They had gotten the attention of with their Barack Obama-themed window displays.

One of their latest blogposts is about their Spring window display in a post entitled "Spring has Sprung with Uncle Sam's". The windows, as you can see them here, are a fantastic mix of fashion clothing, genuine surplus, watering cans & hoses, painted flowers, camouflage nets, and lots of Rothco products, of course. Just at a glance, I can see our Khaki Ranger Vest, Khaki Vintage Paratrooper Fatigues, Kids Camouflage Fatigues, Womens Subdued Pink Camo Fatigue Cap, and our Rothco Deluxe Hammock.

I know it's hard to find the time to update those windows, but we really need to do that at least once a season and there's no better time to remind your customers of the change in weather than right now. So look around the store, grab a mix of product and put something together. Take a cue from our friends at Uncle Sam's and go to the dollar store or home improvment store and pick up some Springtime accessories to brighten everything up.

For even more ideas, check out Rothco's merchandising seminar on YouTube .

Have a great weekend.

John Ottaviano

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