GI Joe's

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I'm really showing my age here by relating my memories about this place. I'm referring to the old GI Joe's that was in an enormous GI tent near the old Union Ave and N. Vancouver Ave. in North Portland. I remember going there with my dad and seeing what seemed to be acres of army surplus stuff. It was everywhere! I was particularly fond of the barrels of British "Jungle Carbines" at $10.00 each or the barrels of M98 German Mausers for $15.00 each. There were piles of bayonets from Great Britain, Germany, the US and other places. There were even a few barrels of Japanese type 38 & 99 Arisaka wannabes for $8.00 each. I had never seen boots as big as the ones that were available! There were overcoats, packs, US helmets, web belts, GI cans, machetes. You name it and it was there and it was really cheap! So much fun for a little boy to touch and look at.
My dad was an NRA member and got the monthly American Rifleman magazine. On the back page there would be advertisements for guns. My dad bought two 1911A1's inNRA "good" condition for $10.00 each. When they arrived via US mail they were brand new! He also got two .30 Cal Carbines for $20.00 each that were also new. Yup, everything was done by mail and the postman joked when he said he couldn't put them in our mailbox. What great memories those are to me. I still remember the one advertisement for a 20MM anti tank gun which had the caveat "no ammunition available."
 

kmk1012

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The good ole days!!! At 40years old I can remember shopping there as a kid and bought several scopes in my twenties for rifles purchased there. Too bad they are gone, Sportsman’s leaves a lot to be desired as their replacement. I usually end up going to coastal farm for gun stuff that my local gun shop(s) don’t have. Good story and thank you for sharing.
 
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oldcorpgunny
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We as young kids would bicycle to the regional surplus store located in Downey CA. Our Stingray type bikes all had big front baskets mounted over the front wheels. Much fun filling them up with surplus for just a few bucks, which was a lot of money back then. This was around 1960 or so. Long ago, far away.
You had a bicycle? We had to walk ten miles through snow to even look at those old mess kits! Ha!
 
My Grand Dad bought a surplus Jeep in 50, and kept it all the years he was alive, he rightly claimed that the value of those old Jeeps was beyond measure and he lovingly preserved it and then passed it on before he himself passed! Still have it in the family, like a visit with Grand Dad him self every time we take it out for a spin and remember learning to drive in that old thing! Grand Dad was happiest when ever he would swing through Portland and score the latest surplus parts and accessories he could find for that Jeep, and later, they could get NOS parts for it right there in the stores, most times it was in stock on the shelves! There is a stack of receipts 3 inchs thick covering all the stuff He got at G.I. Joe's! What a place! Did ya know, The owners always gave hiring preference to Vets, and provided much support to them, even after they left the company ( under good terms) and they also supported all the local Boy and Girl Scout Troupes, often donating gear and supplies, and even transportation to the councils in areas they had stores! They also had hiring preferences for Eagle Scouts and even offered a small scholarship to ANY eagle scout in their employ! THAT's Community support few businesses ever tried to equal, most didn't even come close! Sad days when they changed the name, and worse when they went out of business!
 
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oldcorpgunny
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My Grand Dad bought a surplus Jeep in 50, and kept it all the years he was alive, he rightly claimed that the value of those old Jeeps was beyond measure and he lovingly preserved it and then passed it on before he himself passed! Still have it in the family, like a visit with Grand Dad him self every time we take it out for a spin and remember learning to drive in that old thing! Grand Dad was happiest when ever he would swing through Portland and score the latest surplus parts and accessories he could find for that Jeep, and later, they could get NOS parts for it right there in the stores, most times it was in stock on the shelves! There is a stack of receipts 3 inchs thick covering all the stuff He got at G.I. Joe's! What a place! Did ya know, The owners always gave hiring preference to Vets, and provided much support to them, even after they left the company ( under good terms) and they also supported all the local Boy and Girl Scout Troupes, often donating gear and supplies, and even transportation to the councils in areas they had stores! They also had hiring preferences for Eagle Scouts and even offered a small scholarship to ANY eagle scout in their employ! THAT's Community support few businesses ever tried to equal, most didn't even come close! Sad days when they changed the name, and worse when they went out of business!
What a great story! Thanks!
 
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When my family immigrated from Japan in the late 80's, I was SO EXCITED to visit the G.I. Joe's store after seeing their ad, probably in the Oregonian. I was SO DISAPPOINTED after not being able to find a single G.I. Joe figure in the damn store.

Luck turned few minutes later after we made it to the Sporting goods. They don't have private ownership of firearms where I had come from. I grew up a huge fan of guns, and the displays were amazing(Eastport Plaza location). :eek:
 
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I'm really showing my age here by relating my memories about this place. I'm referring to the old GI Joe's that was in an enormous GI tent near the old Union Ave and N. Vancouver Ave. in North Portland. I remember going there with my dad and seeing what seemed to be acres of army surplus stuff. It was everywhere! I was particularly fond of the barrels of British "Jungle Carbines" at $10.00 each or the barrels of M98 German Mausers for $15.00 each. There were piles of bayonets from Great Britain, Germany, the US and other places. There were even a few barrels of Japanese type 38 & 99 Arisaka wannabes for $8.00 each. I had never seen boots as big as the ones that were available! There were overcoats, packs, US helmets, web belts, GI cans, machetes. You name it and it was there and it was really cheap! So much fun for a little boy to touch and look at.
My dad was an NRA member and got the monthly American Rifleman magazine. On the back page there would be advertisements for guns. My dad bought two 1911A1's inNRA "good" condition for $10.00 each. When they arrived via US mail they were brand new! He also got two .30 Cal Carbines for $20.00 each that were also new. Yup, everything was done by mail and the postman joked when he said he couldn't put them in our mailbox. What great memories those are to me. I still remember the one advertisement for a 20MM anti tank gun which had the caveat "no ammunition available."
What a time to be alive to get things through the mail like that. How far we have fallen...
 
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oldcorpgunny
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@oldcorpgunny said: "I still remember the one advertisement for a 20MM anti tank gun which had the caveat "no ammunition available.""

Scroll way down the page - you may see it:

Lots more here:
Thanks! I enjoyed that!
 

Mikej

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I loved GI Joes. But I only knew the store that was up where Dick's falters now. All the fishing gear and car needs, plus clothing, and a bunch of stuff I can't even think of now. :(

We had our own version of the surplus store in the Salt Lake Valley. The smell of old canvas and oil. It was called "Allied Development"
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I don't remember them having bins of surplus of guns though? They must have had guns. Guns weren't a thing for me growing up. I was pondering that with some sadness that my dad never "brought" me to guns. We had guns in the house. I never saw him do anything with them though Dad was into guns to the point he collected some real old beaters, and sporterized a M17 and took one deer with it after he got out of the Navy in '47.
 

Aero Denezol

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I really enjoyed reading this thread. I missed out on the Golden Age of GI Joe's.. but I'll never get tired of hearing about $10 Jungle Carbines.

When I was in high school (early 1990's) we had Action Surplus, which was tiny compared to GI Joe's. That's where we bought all of our Woodland BDU's for paintball battles in the woods. The WWII/Korea stuff was long gone and I think most of what they had was Vietnam and later. There may have still been some canteens and web belts from the 1950's.
 

Andy54Hawken

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Sounds like it was neat place for sure.

I wonder what it means when the stuff that you were issued and used while in the military....
Is now for sale in surplus stores or shown in a museum....? :eek: :D
Andy
 

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