Champaign Surplus, a family-owned brick-and-mortar retailer in the Champaign-Urbana community for 70 years, plans to close its doors at its downtown location later this spring. The store will hold a liquidation sale starting Thursday, February 1.
The store will be closed from Jan. 28 until the sale begins. Champaign Surplus will sell its entire stock of outerwear, clothing, footwear, camping gear, travel accessories, and more.
That’s the bad news.
The good news: Champaign Surplus, now in its third generation of family ownership, pledges to reopen in a new area location — with a new concept that will incorporate technology and still have that same customer-centric focus people have come to know.
Details of this move are still being finalized, so stay tuned for an announcement about the store’s reopening.
“While there are many negative headlines swirling around retail of late, our specific market for outdoor and travel gear, fashion apparel, outerwear and footwear is very strong,” said co-owner Dan Epstein, in a news release. “We are making this move to further highlight our business and connect with more people in our community.”
The liquidation sale will start on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 9 a.m. in the current location at 303 S. Neil Street, Champaign. The sale will continue until the entire inventory is sold. Once the sale is over, that store will close.
Champaign Surplus management said current gift cards will be honored during the liquidation and in the new location.
“Our current building has been my home away from home since I was 10 years old. But, I also know that our current plan is going to be a great new era for our business and Champaign-Urbana; and for providing our special brand of the personalized, quality shopping experience,” said Shira Epstein in a news release. “Our customers and local lovers of the outdoors can look forward to a cool new space, similar product mix, and some innovative uses of technology to enhance our specialty outdoor products and customer service.”
Champaign Surplus does have a significant online shopping footprint that operates under the name RuggedOutdoors.com, which has become a successful independent outdoor e-commerce destination. Rugged Outdoors was named as such because it’s been the Champaign Surplus tagline since 1947.
Shira Epstein is the granddaughter of founders Leo and Anne Weisel, who started Champaign Surplus just after World War II as an Army-Navy Surplus Store. The second owners, Ira and Lynn Wachtel, entered the business in the 70s and turned the store into the premier outdoor outfitter in Central Illinois. Under the Epsteins, the store sharpened its focus on outerwear, footwear, clothing, travel accessories, and outdoor gear.
Champaign Surplus locations:
– Opened at 115 S. Neil St. in downtown Champaign in 1947.
– Moved around the corner to 40 E. University Ave. in 1966.
– Opened at 303 S. Neil St. in downtown Champaign in 1983.
– New location coming in 2018, TBA.