Bye, Bye Bubbies

Going, going, gone! Iconic Galveston store finally closes: Will The Strand ever be the same?

Going, going, gone! Iconic Galveston store on Strand finally closes

Col. Bubbie's Galveston exterior with horse-drawn carriage
Long-time Galveston institution Col. Bubbie's military surplus store officially closed its doors on Dec. 24. WordPresscom
Col. Bubbie's in Galveston closing May 2014
The iconic army surplus store, first reported to be closing back in May, served the island for 42 years. Photo by Kaleb Fulgham/Flickr
Col. Bubbie's in Galveston store interior
Col. Bubbie's was known for selling everything from vintage grenades and parachutes to military hats and helmets. Blogspot.com
Col. Bubbie's Galveston exterior with horse-drawn carriage
Col. Bubbie's in Galveston closing May 2014
Col. Bubbie's in Galveston store interior

Although first reported to be closing back in May, Galveston's iconic military surplus store, Col. Bubbie's, finally shut down for good on Christmas Eve, after serving its final customers.

The slightly musty store, always packed with unique goods, served island residents and tourists for many decades from its location at 2022 Strand in downtown Galveston. "Today I've just been crying a lot, saying goodbye to 42 years here," owner Suzie Reiswerg told the Galveston Daily News on Wednesday. "It's the end of an era."

Reiswerg and her husband Meyer — the original Col. Bubbie himself — opened the store in 1972. He died five years ago, leaving her in charge. Although she says it has been a great run, "after 42 years, I'm ready to enter retirement," she told CultureMap last spring.

"We're definitely doing this on a high note. No bankruptcy, nothing bad has happened, it's simply just the right time."

The no-frills warehouse emporium, which billed itself as "the free world's only AUTHENTIC military surplus store," was stacked high with merchandise ranging from military uniforms from more countries than there are in the United Nations to medals, ribbons, awards and insignia as well as a large inventory of military back packs, sleeping bags, tents, blankets, ponchos, cold weather gear, hot weather gear, boots, medical urinals and other items.

She told the Galveston Daily News that generally the store's best-sellers were vintage grenades, although in recent months, items with the Col. Bubbie's name grew substantially more popular.

According to Reiswerg, most of the leftover stock has been sold to a liquidation company. She plans to stay in Galveston and will sell the building after the inventory has been cleared out.