What is an Army Navy Store? Think you know?
Think again. The traditional image of an Army Navy Store has changed dramatically in some
parts of the country, thanks to innovation and an evolution that has changed the concept. Case
in point: Bills Army Navy Store in Short Hills, NJ.
Owner Lee Lucas has transformed the well-known New Jersey landmark into a full service
outfitter. Sure, they still carry the more traditional items – camping gear, outdoor, clothing and
the like – but Lee has always believed that his store needed to become a “one stop” center or
A prime example is the hotly in demand product designed specifically for natural running:
Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS running shoes. They offer a near-barefoot experience and a
custom, snug fit thanks to a quick-lace system. This is the type of innovative product that Lee
Lucas believes meets and exceeds custom expectations when they visit his unique store.
Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS
Bills Army Navy Store started as a local landmark, almost a legend of sorts. Lee Lucas relates
that, after the local newspaper ran an article regarding the store changing hands on its 30th
anniversary, something had to done about the name. In reality, "Bill" had retired, but people still
wanted to talk to "Bill". Lee decided that he would just let everyone know that there never was a
"Bill” especially since Bill’s name was actually Howard. It just turned out that, for 25 years,
customers had always referred to the original owner Howard as Bill.
The Short Hills NJ store was his second location, with first in Irvington NJ. He actually bought
the Irvington business, named Bills Army Navy, from a guy really named Bill, who was moving
out of the area. Not wanting to confuse up a well-known Bills Army Navy of Millburn was
established in 1971.
The CLARKS Desert Boot
As intriguing as Vibram Footwear is, Lee Lucas further believed that his customers would also
be very interested in an additional footwear product that is distinctive and unique. As a result, he
introduced customers to The CLARKS Desert Boot, which has established a reputation as an
international cult classic. The CLARKS Desert Boot was actually inspired by the crepe-soled
boots worn by British officers in World War II. Soft, supple suede full grain leather uppers and a
genuine plantation crepe outsole deliver the comfort. “Timeless styling has remained unchanged
for fifty years,” Lee says.
The CLARKS Desert Boot
What else is on the horizon? Stay tuned. As an innovative retailer, Lee Lucas never sits still. To
see more, visit their site at http://www.billsarmynavy.com/