Local Banbury business - Troopers - military surplus store set to close after nearly 40 years
It's the end of an era for a local business serving Banbury and the wider area for nearly four decades.
After nearly 40 years Mike Dean has decided to retire and close his local business called Troopers, a military surplus store in the town centre of Banbury.
Mike spent a few minutes talking and reflecting with the Banbury Guardian on Thursday August 19 about the nearly four decades of serving the Banbury area and beyond.
Mike opened the business in George Street in late 1983, and over the years he has collected quite a wide variety of items for the store mostly through auctions.
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Mike said: "It's all authentic gear made for the military."
He stocks military gear from countries all over the world from Russia to China to America among others.
He added: "A lot of people modify it for their own purposes. People who do gardening or farming or fishing or even sport shooting."
The military surplus store offers everything from old uniforms, boots, helmets, to bags, to military jackets and coats. He also has a large amount old military collectables such as badges and patches. The store also sells items often used for camping or spending time outdoors such as torches and ponchos.
Mike added: "I've got German ponchos and I've Israeli ponchos.
"It all has to go."
Troopers is generally open from 8am to 4.30pm Tuesday through Saturday. He plans to close the store by the end of October.
One of the things Mike has enjoyed most over the years has been meeting all sorts of different people.
He said: "I met Victor Maddern, who has been in lots of old films and was in the surplus business. He was a character.
"I also did one order, and they bought about £4,000 of scrim netting. Turns out they were part of the royal family in Oman.
"I've had some good customers and loyal ones too. They come from everywhere."
He recalled how they arrived at the shop with high-end all black vehicles to collect the netting, which he learned was to use for shade in Oman. The gave him some large flags from Oman.
One loyal customer, Joe Harper, who is also an Army cadet based at MOD Kineton stopped in the store on Thursday August 19.
He said: "All the local cadets come here. I've been coming here for eight years. It's like a little nugget of gold. It's always had everything I am looking for so it's a real shame they are closing."
Another customer said: "It's sad you're closing. We need to have a big party for you."
Mike has decided to retire due to some ongoing health problems.
He said: "Before I even opened the shop I had cancer. After getting over it I couldn't do my previous job."
The business originally started as a partnership, which involved a second military surplus store in Rugby. But the partnership split several years ago with Mike continuing to run the Banbury store.
Mike also spent 20 years of operating the business travelling to military trade shows across the country with his son.
He added: "I've really enjoyed it. I managed to pay our way. It's been a challenge.
"I'd like to thank the people of Banbury for supporting me over the years."