I am somewhat perplexed with the understanding that the hobby of military collecting is strong and growing with younger collectors. These collectors seem to be very intrigued with the hobby for reasons ranging from an interest beginning from online video games to re-enacting or air soft, but the fact is that in the thirty seven months since we took over operation of Kenosha Military Surplus, seven surplus stores have gone out of business in Wisconsin; two just this year. It seems that every week I find a new story of a store closing somewhere in the US. If the interest is there, why are so many businesses closing?
Looking at these closings, I ask why are we growing in what looks like a dying industry? From my perspective it comes down to three reasons. Number one – stores started mixing real with reproduction or copies made in China. Number two – over time, more non-military products have crept onto the shelves for hunting and camping than military items. Number three – and the one I dislike the most, stores think they are mini-museums where all the really cool stuff is display only.
Historic Military Impressions’ Kenosha Military Surplus is striving to be an old fashion military surplus store. The number one comment we get is, “you’re small but wow you have a lot of stuff.” As the store enters its 26thyear serving the military collecting industry, we strive to find only real authentic military surplus and artifacts from around the world. As I like to say, “If it says made in China, it means the Chinese army used it.” Besides the artifacts though, and where the history buff comes in, we also want to foster the knowledge base of collectors. As a historian, we have added more history to the store in the form of winter classes, War Gaming Saturday, and social events like trips to local area military history locations and a Military Historians group.
With these new additions through, we have had limited success with the Military Historian group and would like to see it expand. It is a strong but small core of individuals and that group needs to grow. So, to add new energy into this group it is time to try a format change. Starting Saturday, January 26th, 9:30 am, I invite you to stop by the store for a donut and coffee and attend the Military Historians meeting. If you want to bring something military or historic to share great, if not I will bring in some items to share and discuss.
The new format will be a nice morning of unformatted, old school social networking that is face to face. The goal of the group is to get to know people who have a similar interest in history or military collecting. Participants are welcome to bring in items from their own collections that they would like to share with the group or know more about.The Military Historian meeting will now meet on the fourth Saturday of the month at 9:30 am at the store located at 6527 39thAvenue in Kenosha. There is no cost, stay as long as you like, stopping in, saying hi, and having a donut to start your Saturday. Have any questions; call me at the store (262) 654-5335.