Your Surplus Headquarters Since 1959


In March of 1959, Robert Plahn purchased a Quonset hut in downtown Janesville, WI.  Later, that same month, he opened the doors to Janesville’s new Army Navy Store.  That same year, he purchased the building across the street and opened Plahn Canvas Products, a custom canvas shop specializing in boat covers and tarps.  Plahn Canvas still operates today and has expanded into custom bags and products for individual and commercial use.  Follow the link to learn more about our canvas department. In 1965, Robert and his wife Harriet purchased an empty gas station on the corner and built an addition to house the Army Navy and Canvas shop.  At this time, they added new product lines to compliment the surplus store.   Soon, camping equipment, downhill and cross country skis, cold weather jackets, work clothing and campers filled the store.   In October of 1971, the Plahn’s hired Bonnie Francis, a local student looking to earn money to return to college.  The following year, Mr. Plahn was in Texas on a buying trip when he fell ill.  After returning one month later, he was extremely pleased with how the business operated in his absence, and he immediately made Bonnie manager and asked if she would like to own the business someday.  At that point, she began buying into the business.  In December of 1977, Robert Plahn died unexpectedly.  At age 25 Bonnie took over the business. For over 40 years, Bonnie still owns and operates the stores with the same business ethics Robert Plahn instilled in her.  Bonnie says that she is blessed to have the best staff that anyone could ask for. At Plahn’s, you, our customer will always come first.  We look forward to doing business with you!

Our History

 your surplus headquarters SINCE 1959