Tampa Surplus Store May Be in Legal Trouble for Going Out of Business

Tampa Army Navy Surplus Market

After a whopping 75 years of doing business, the Tampa Army Navy Surplus Market that has occupied 1312 N. Tampa St. in downtown Tampa, Florida announced some time ago that it was finally shutting its doors and closing up shop for good. The current owner, Nick Potamitis has said that it was finally time for him to close up the place and retire while he still had some healthy years ahead of him to enjoy his days catching fish.

Upon the announcement of the impending closure of the 75 year old Tampa surplus store, management let it be known that a “going out of business” sale would commence immediately. The problem is that, six months later, that “going out business sale” is still going on, and the Tampa surplus store is still not out of business. And, it turns out, that’s against the law.

Florida regulations actually require business owners to obtain a permit in order to even hold a “going out of business sale” — although, that is, it seems, something that business owners rarely apply for, and the regulation is rarely enforced. Along with the need to obtain a permit, there is also a Florida law which limits the maximum duration of any such going out of business sale to running for a span of no greater than a maximum of sixty days. The Tampa Army Navy Surplus Market, however, was still going strong almost six months after their first going out of business sale signs went up.

The store’s owner has said that he can not close the store until he sells off his remaining inventory, and almost six months in, that just hasn’t happened yet. Florida regulations also prohibit a store from acquiring new stock once a going out of business sale has been announced. However, since the beginning of the sale, the shelves at the Tampa surplus store do not appear to be becoming any more sparsely stocked. Mr. Potamitis, the store’s owner, has said that he has not taken any new shipments or acquired any new merchandise since the beginning of the sale — he’s simply re-stocking from excess stock which has been stored on-site in the back room.

It’s clear that the Tampa Army Navy Surplus Market is in violation of at least the Florida regulation that limits the maximum amount of time that a business may run a going out business sale, but it’s unclear as to whether or not the owner will face any actual punitive legal action. Officials have said that such actions tend to not generate very many complaints from the public and, as such, they are not strictly enforced, as it’s believed that resources can be better applied to other problems that people do seem to care about.

Nevertheless, this story highlights the importance of business owners being diligent in making sure their business practices fully comply with any and all legal regulations they may be subject to. It’s safe to assume that most business owners would likely be quite unaware that the regulations which the Tampa based surplus store has found itself up against even exist. If those regulations had have been regulations that are strictly enforced, or if officials had decided to enforce them in this case, the owners of the 75 year old Tampa Army Navy Surplus Market could have found themselves in some hot water.

You can view an ABC Action News report from a local ABC affiliate WFTS-TV regarding the issues surrounding the Tampa Army Navy Surplus Market’s extended going out of business sale in the video below:

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