Surplus City to close after 61 years

       In 1989, owner Dave Lippincott celebrated Surplus City's move to 2732 W. Colorado Ave. by staging a publicity stunt in which the store's former Korean War tank was ceremoniously rolled up the avenue through Old Colorado City.
       Now, Lippin-cott is looking for a museum to take the tank off his hands. It's one of many items he's ready to do without, now that he's decided to close down the 61- year-old store.
       Items will start being discounted as early as next week, he said in an interview March 22. “When we get to the point where we have, for example, only size 5 and 14 shoes, we'll bring in an auctioneer to get rid of the rest of the stuff,” Lippincott said
       In addition to the business, which he bought from the Chambon family in 1985, he owns the building and the nearly one-acre property it sits on. The 26,000-square- foot, warehouse-style building has historical notoriety for its west wall made of locally quarried stone, which dates back to 1860 and as such may be the oldest remaining construction in the region.
       Lippincott listed several reasons for closing the store, but a several-year revenue downturn was key. It's become increasingly difficult to compete with the big stores, he explained, and this winter sales have barely been enough to cover the payroll for his nine employees.
       In addition, he's ready to retire, being “a couple of years into Social Security,” as he put it. “I think it's time. It's getting to the point where it isn't fun.”
       Surplus City was started in 1945 by Clarion Chambon, who specialized for many years in selling used Army items. Lippincott has branched out into other clothing and sporting goods items.
       The store location until '89 was the 2400 block of Cucharras Street. The M-18 tank - which technically became a personnel carrier after its gun turret was taken off, according to Lippincott - used to be parked in the lot across the street at 24th and Cucharras.
       Another historical relic in front of the current store is an 1890s-era jail cell, which, like the tank, came to Lippincott when he bought the store. According to his research, the cell was originally part of the El Paso County Jail, so he hopes the county might want to buy it back.

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