Another nail in the coffin of commerce on Van Nuys Blvd: the 63-year-old Van Nuys Army & Navy Store, Inc. at 6179 will close down in a few weeks.
Standing on the SW corner of Delano Street, the distinctive store with its red, white and blue lettering was one of the last remaining outposts of the old Van Nuys, a loner amidst pot shops and bail bondsmen.
The Army and Navy store, opened in 1950, held its ground against blank faced government buildings, retail white flight, and another human invasion from sub-Americana that dare not speak its name.
Inside the store were stacks of Levi 501s, military dress pants for $5.00, dark wool pea coats, special forces and 82nd Airborne caps on shelves, munitions and camouflage vests, rubber boots, Anti-American Confederate and Pro-Communist Che Guevara Flags for those of exotic political tastes; Vietnam era bumper stickers still silently yelling hostility and anger 45 years later, ammunition cans and olive drab parachutes, scratchy wool blankets in plastic, cotton Marine t-shirts, and survival kits for backyard campers or overseas fighters.
This was a store where friendly faces sold goods once used to fight enemies. It was a democratic place where the solemn savagery of war was put on sale for anybody to buy at rock-bottom prices.
It was a piece of Van Nuys when this boulevard bustled. Now it’s another dying locale on a street were even the litter is moving on.