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Farewell to a favorite: Whitey’s Army Navy store closing its doors

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MEDINA, Ohio -- For 65 years, Whitey’s Army Navy store has been a fixture in Medina’s historic Town Square, but Friday, owner Jim Thwaite announced that he’s closing the store.

At 66 years of age, Jim says that he and his wife Joan have decided to retire.

They had hoped the store would remain open and tried to sell Whitey’s for two years without success.

“Just haven’t been able to find anybody,” said Jim.

The store was opened in 1949 by his father, Howard Thwaite, a WWII Naval pilot, who wanted to start his own business after the war.

The Medina location was the second Whitey’s Army Navy; the first was opened in Berea in 1948.

Jim says the signature name was actually his father’s nickname growing up.

“My dad back in the day was very blonde,” said Jim.

The store caters to the military and veterans with uniforms, knives, compasses, sleeping bags, patches, rank insignia and many other items, but also has a multitude of supplies for safety forces, Boy Scouts, outdoorsmen, workmen and women.

Jim says the idea behind every Army Navy store is to offer quality merchandise at a discounted price.

All of those items will be marked down and placed on super sale starting Thursday, June 26. Jim says the projected closing date will happen in about 4-5 weeks.

He and his manager, Debbie Wentz, say it’s been a pleasure serving the people of Medina and they hope people will stop by one last time to say goodbye.

The Berea Whitey’s Army Navy is also for sale. Jim hopes to find a buyer so that his father’s legacy will live on with that store.