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May 02, 1986 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-05-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

,V 0 00 0.:

surplus stores in Detroit.
The 69-year-old Army veteran,
who suffered shrapnel wounds before
leaving the service in 1945, says he's
getting too old to run a business that
takes in nickles, dimes and dollars
when he and his son, general man-
ager Gary Wine, can pull in much
greater profits with their adjacent
Barry's Air Tool business.
"God's been very good to me, ex-
tremely good to me," IrVing Wine
said, slipping away from his active
role in the surplus store to reminisce a
little.
"The business has been very good
to me. I've prospered here . . ."
Wine left the Army after nearly a
year in the hospital recovering from
his wounds. He says he received
$2,000 in separation pay, came home
on crutches, and went to work for
George Spector at Spector Auto Parts
in Detroit.
Anybody could buy surplus goods
from the government then, he ex-
plained, but, everything else being
equal, veterans had first crack. So
Spector hired Wine, who soon found
himself at massive government auc-
tions bidding $3 for items which the
government originally paid $300.
"Seeing what they were doing in
a short period of time I decided to go
into business for myself," Wine said.
He bought the lot on which Bar-
, Ty's now sits and put up tents to sell
his surplus, using stacked storage
crates as shelves. Attention quickly
focused on the new operation' after
Wine put some old Army tanks across
the street. He said he bought six
tanks fr $25 each and wound up
donating them to veterans organiza-
tions.
"Each tank had $200 worth of
gasoline in it," said Wine, explaining
why the deal was a good one. The ve-
hicles were driven down Grand River
from a nearby installation. "Today, Fd
probably get 15 tickets," he said with
a smile.
"Over a period of time I built the
building put four kids through
college" because of that retail store.
From the surplus business I went into
manufacturing;z11air, tools, _which
piisti one thew
they{ makerin

first importers of Japanese tools."
Indeed, in some ways it's hard to
tell where the surplus store leaves off
and the tool company begins. In the
tool company's warehouse are shelves
and shelves of surplus stock, some of
which just never was hauled out and
taken over to the 'surplus store for
sale.
Gary Wine, 33, said his father
"ran a One-man operation. If he didn't
get it, nobody else went to get it.
"We keep uncovering things in
this warehouse that we should have
taken over to the store a long time
ago," he said.
Some things are sold by the tool
business through its catalogue. Wine
said he just spent $100,000 on a new
one.
Among the items offered is a
heavy-duty drill bought by Barry's for
$300 from the government and sold
by Barry's for $1,300. They are from a
manufacturer which sells virtually
the same item for $3,000.
Another very profitable.item is a
pipe-beading tool kit which Gary
Wine said Barry's sells for $89.95 but
which cost Irving. Wine 25 cents each
35 years ago. Barry's, Gary Wine said,
hasn't bought any government
surplus in ten years.
"But all the cream is gone now,"
he added.
Whatever hasn't been sold by the
end of the Going Out of Business Sale,
Gary Wine said, will be sold through
special ads to dealers. Irving said
other items will be taken "to the jun-
kyard or I'm going to try to give it
away."
Among the things he plans to do-
nate are fi4,p hundred 55-gallon
drums of paint. Any Detroit or subur-
ban business that wants a drum can
have one to spruce up their place of
business, Wine said.
Also,' 100 pairs of Levi jeans will
be given to five charities, along with
200 Navy middies.
"My dad's been here a long time
and he's helped a lot of people in the
area," Gary Wine said. "We're a
landmark. He wants to than'k
everyone for doing business with him,
over the years. ThatIs thv.eaion. , her
!wants to give these ihings , awsy.

Barry's is named after Irving
Wine's first son, who became an at-
torney and now owns the posh Quilted
Giraffe restaurant in New York. An-
other son, Hadley, is an attorney in
Southfield, and a daughter, Sheree,
lives in California. Irving's wife .Lil-
lian works at the family business.
The Wines own much of the prop-
erty around their stores. They also
own six retail buildings nearby,.rent-
ing five of them, and two other build-
ings.
"We were able to buy (property)
cheaper and cheaper and cheaper,"
.Gary Wine explained, "and since we
were here we were able to rent it out
and easily watch over it."
As for the surplus store, "We just
got tired of the retail business. I'm
selling a pair of Levis for $20 that cost
me $13 plus freight. Now I'm selling
them for $10, $3 less than my cost.
Now Dunham's has opened up. Hud-
• son's runs sales $2 above their cost
just to get ppople in. I can't compete
anymore. People don't want to come to
this neighborhood when you can go to
Oakland Mall or Northland.
"It used to be I was the only guy
who had a pea coat, the only guy who
had a sleeping bag, the only guy who
had a canteen. There were three orig-
. inal surplus 'dealers in Detroit: Sil-
verstein's, Epps and Barry's. Silver-
stein's went out of busiess. Epps went
out of business. And we're the last
one.
"Now they don't have to come to
me to buy a pea coat anymore. They
can go to Brody's in West Bloomfield.
They can go to any Hudson's .. .
There are no: more genuine pea coats.
They're all imitations. You can go buy
a sleeping bag at any. Arbor Drugs.
You can buy a canteen at any
drugstore. We're just trying to take
our loss and get out."
But there are still things at Bar-
ry's that you won't find in a drugstore,
like metal ammunition boxes. A stack
of them waist , high divided two sec-
tions of the store.
"Who's going to buy ammo boxes?
Irving Wine was asked.
Just then a mane walked, by, sift-.
ing through coimtera of vviceuagootls, ,

.4

vp,

rr

Continued fin next page

JP

Bob McKeo wn

33

Gary and Irving Wine . are going to
concentrate on their air tool business.

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