Pineview Military Surplus and Museum opens in new location in Grayling business district
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A business staple for Crawford County residents and visitors has moved to a new location to provide military gear, memorabilia, and to recognize the service of those who have been part of the U.S. military.
Pineview Military Surplus and Museum officially opened at its new location at 604 Norway St. in Grayling on Dec. 14. The business operated in the Frederic area-for nearly five decades.
Robert Klatt, who assumed ownership of Pineview Military Surplus and Museum from his parents, Chris and Dan Klatt, said his mother’s family purchased property on Douglas Lake located off of Old State Road in the 1930s. They built a cabin, which they let family and friends use for vacations.
Dan, a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Navy, and Robert visited military surplus stores in Traverse City, St. Ignace and in Frederic when the family came north for the summer.
“As part of our normal vacation routine, we would always travel around, and we would always hit the military surplus stores,” Robert said.
Pineview Military Surplus was founded by Bud Sheggrud in Frederic.
During each summer visit, Dan tried to buy a mock Soviet rocket-propelled-grenade launcher which was used as an anti-tank arsenal, to teach U.S. forces about enemy weaponry.
For many years, the offers made to Sheggrud came to no avail.
“Bud wouldn’t sell it. Every year, my dad would come up and browbeat him and try to buy it, and he wouldn’t sell it,” Robert recalled. “Finally, after about five years of that, Bud said it you want to buy that, you have buy the business.”
The Klatts took Sheggrud up on his offer. Dan retired from his position at the Detroit Medical Center, and Chris retired after serving as the executive secretary for the president for Lutheran Social Service of Michigan.
The couple moved to Frederic Township in 1997, and built up the business and customer base over the last 21 years.
After making a bittersweet decision in 2011, Robert moved to the area after living in Detroit for 39 years to help run the family business.
“It kind of made me sad, because I am a real Detroit City history buff, and I’ve given lectures and tours about the city,” he said. “I love Detroit history. I’ve been collecting historical items for over 25 years and it was really hard for me to let go of the city.”
Robert does feel some reconciliation from his move up north following Detroit’s economic turnaround and renaissance in recent years.
“I go down there now and it’s like a miracle hit the place,” he said.
Over the last year, Robert helped with the business and with the transition to try to sell it. The business included a hotel on the property.
“We had people interested in the land, but not so much the surplus business, and we really didn’t want to liquidate,” he said. “My parents put a lot of time, energy and heartache into the place.”
Around the same time, the building that used to serve as Knights of Columbus Hall and then a dollar store in Grayling was put on the market. The family purchased the building from Tod Tompkins, and decided to relocate the military surplus store to the building, which has three times the floor space compared to the former location.
“It has been a hallmark in Frederic for so long, we had a third generation of people coming in,” Robert said. “Customers were bringing in their kids and their grandkids and we had a really dedicated customer base that we’re always very proud of.”
The parents are still involved with the business
“My dad is kind of going into retirement kicking and screaming,” Robert said.
The store carries uniforms, battle dress uniforms, advanced combat uniforms, multi cam pattern uniforms and gear, Mickey Mouse boots and combat boots.
The store carries military rank and insignia patches. Period correct military medals can be ordered to make items such as a shadowbox to honor the military service of loved ones. The record of medals earned can be obtained from discharge papers.
“That makes me the happiest of all to do that for someone,” Robert said.
The market for survival gear and emergency kits has grown for Pineview Military Surplus.
Supplies include meals-ready-to-eat, water filtration devices, gas masks, small multi-tools, water proof matches, signal mirrors and first aid kits.
“We can service that whole market from somebody that just wants to be prepared and have a Band-aid if they need it, to somebody that is looking to survive the apocalypse,” Robert said.
For the tourists, the store carries flags, T-shirts, stickers, sleeping bags and backpacks.
And for hunters, the store has full ghillie suits and cold and wet weather gear.
The store does not sell firearms or ammunition due to the increase in costs for liability insurance and the fact ii can’t compete with other businesses which carry those products in the area.
“It’s lot of headaches, it’s a lot of regulations and a lot of insurance,” Robert said. “It just never made any sense to us.”
Post 9/11 terrorist attack security measures prohibit military surplus store owners from going on military bases to buy products. They are now distributed through private companies, which contract with the federal government.
“We strive to and we do our best to,” Robert said about getting authentic military surplus items. “That’s what our customers have come have come expect over the years.”
Instead of having vintage military items displayed on the sidewalls and in displays above the inventory, there will be dedicated museum space in the store to display the items the family has obtained over the years.
“We’re really looking forward to being able to tell that story of the United States military,” Robert said.
The Pineview Military Surplus and Museum is working with Sgt. 1st Class Jeremie Mead, the community relations specialist for Camp Grayling, to have a specific part of museum dedicated to the military base’s 104-year history in the community.
“There is whole lot of history there with United States military,” Robert said.
Robert said he appreciated seeing soldiers out and about during their annual training when he came to Grayling as youngster.
“It was really cool to see they were supporting the businesses,” he said.
Robyn Kroswek will help manage the store and museum. Pineview Military Surplus will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Items not in stock can be secured for customers.
“It we don’t have it, chances are we know who does. Special orders are a big thing for us,” Robert said. “We very much like doing that.”