Ira and Lynn Wachtel
(son-in-law and daughter) own and operate the store, maintaining the friendly, family-style service and value oriented atmosphere that began in 1947.
"We changed our focus during the late 1970s and early 1980s and became more of a rugged outdoors and backpacking store," said Ira Wachtel, co-owner with his wife Lynn of the business at 303 South Neil in Champaign, Illinois.
stores have gone into camping, but few have done so as broadly and into the high-end side of it as we have," Wachtel
Champaign Surplus was founded by Lynn Wachtel's parents, Leo and Anne Weisel, who sold standard army/navy surplus with a smattering of work clothing.
It really became a wonderful business," Wachtel
An extra advantage that the store enjoyed, and still does, is its proximity to the 40,000-student Champaign-Urbana campus of the University of Illinois
It was on campus that Ira and Lynn
met in 1969 when both were students.
After graduation and some years of graduate school, Ira and Lynn
returned to Champaign in 1975, and Ira began working for his in-laws full-time.