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about a year ago

Jim’s Army & Navy: The Greatest Store Ever

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For those of you who have ventured onto the west side of Beaver Avenue, there is a good chance you have passed by Jim’s Army & Navy. If you are one of those people, your first thought when passing by Jim’s was most likely, “What the hell is going on in this store?” When a store’s window display boasts handcuffs (they even come in pink), switchblades, throwing stars, brass knuckles, swords, and ammunition, you really have no choice but to be utterly confounded.

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Now, the rational person might conclude that this business is a death trap, and so to enter would be an unwise decision. I can only imagine that many State College parents navigate their children as far away as possible from Jim’s. Lacking such guidance, and being people who “live for the thrill,” fellow Onward Stater Steve Boyle and I decided to “answer the call.”

Being men of fortitude and muscles (this is a joke), Steve and I crossed the threshold, and instead of being freckled by shrapnel, we were discovered what may be the greatest store in State College.

Upon entry, you are surrounded on all sides by stuff piled on top of more stuff. At first glance, it appears that the items available are limited to military clothing, which it is for the most part, and understandably so. However, after digging into the nooks and crannies of Jim’s, the treasures began to flow. Here is what we found:

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Who doesn’t love a good pair of long johns? Before yoga pants, long john bottoms were considered the sexiest piece of clothing out there.

Sick of overpriced flannels from Urban that really aren’t even flannel? Jim’s has your back.

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Now that spring has decided it is actually going to happen this year, there would be nothing better than taking an afternoon nap in a hammock (they also have hammocks labeled “Hobo Hammock II”).

Don’t let this bracelet fool you — it is far more than exceptionally fashionable. It can be unraveled to about six to nine feet of paracord, and one strand can hold up to 550 pounds.

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Gas masks and flasks. You know what to do.

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Oddly enough, these are my two favorite items from the store. I really appreciate a good pair of socks, and these foot hats felt really, really, ridiculously good.

Bum gloves are one of the most convenient accessories, and some of the pairs at Jim’s even wield the bum thumb.

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Old school motorcycle goggles. I had never seen these in a store before. I would buy a motorcycle so I have a reason to buy these.

Ghillie suit. Again, no purpose for it, but how can I not buy it?

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Jim’s has a huge stack of ammunition cases in the back. Steve was immediately enraptured by these, even buying one for himself. He intends to use it to hold valuable things. Now he just has to go buy said valuable items.

I’m not sure how convenient a collapsable shovel would be, but anything that folds into a smaller form is great by my standards.

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I will never understand why fanny packs are not a regular commodity in today’s society. Here, Steve is showing the “new age” look. We were also told that they sell a fanny pack with a gun holster.

Waterproof matches. You can literally put these matches under water, and they will still produce fire. Mind. Blown.

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You can and will find a use for a raft here in State College (imagine taking this pup out to the Arboretum fountain). And its name is a pun. Double win.

Jim’s has several different types of nightsticks, and even has those expandable batons.

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They aren’t real, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want one.

Now you and your bros can go tase each other because you all just “need to know what it feels like.”

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Camelbaks and snow shoes. These two items honestly should be given to all incoming freshman, but at least Jim’s has you covered.

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When I asked the employee in the store what their most unique item was, he pointed out this jacket. This jacket was made in 1943 during World War II and it still contains some of its original manilla (price) tags. If you are a huge WWII buff, you might want to snag this while you can, although you are going to have to dish out a little dough.

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I was also shown this little beauty. This is an old-school Singer sewing machine. Popping up during the latter half of the 19th century, thanks to the mind of Isaac Singer, it was models like this one that helped revolutionize the textile industry.

I could go on and on about all the other gems to be found in Jim’s, but I will leave that for you to find out. As Steve and I were told, the items you will find in the store are very similar to Appalachian Outdoors, but with a lighter price tag. Currently, Jim’s is offering 20% off all items in the store, and an extra 10% for military members in active duty.

Downtown - Located in Centre County, Pennsylvania, State College is a college town heavily influenced by the campus life of Penn State University and have gained the nickname "Happy Valley" for its resilience during the Great Depression. They say there's something magical about the Nittany Valley, where time just seems to stand still. Read more