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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