It has been a very busy few months for me and a very full summer. I traveled to Europe TWICE since the last blog post, just finished a great trip to Holland with my kids and my mom. The picture on the right is from Giethoorn in the Netherlands. Today is my first day back in the office and I am catching up on a few things, including a long overdue blog post.
First things first, lets talk shipping. Our website is connected to Canada Post's real time pricing and we all know those prices are beyond outrageous. I created a pop-up today addressing this as well. Our platform at this time doesn't allow us to link to other shipping options, so what we are left with is to stay with Canada Post as those prices are the highest possible shipping rates we will use. Unless otherwise stated in your order we will do our best to get you a lower shipping rate through either UPS, FedEx or ICS Courier and refund you the difference. At this point we have been able to consistently refund our customers anywhere from $5 to $20 when we use an alternate shipping method. Please note that PO Boxes must be serviced by Canada Post, if you would like us to attempt to ship to your house with one of our alternate shippers please make a note of this and give us your physical address as well and we will see what we can do. This is just another way we do our best to offer great customer service.
CARLA IS BACK! You may not know this, but I have been working here alone for a whole year. That was a long time. My sister Carla had joined our team in 2020 and it was such a great fit for her as we have very flexible hours, and it made my workday so much better to have a buddy working here with me. Then she gifted us with a new niece last summer so she went on maternity leave. And now the tiny human is a whole year old and we have Carla working here again, bringing organization and body doubling back to the warehouse. I am so much more productive when she is here and vice versa. And we both get the flexibility that we need as working moms. Win! Win! Win!
Robert has been busy buying as many triwalls as he can get his hands on. We have brought a bunch of it to the warehouse and we are sorting through it as quickly as we can. We have most of it in duffel bags which makes it all nice manageable bundles for us to sort rather than huge mountains that seem insurmountable. We will be adding things to the warehouse very regularly for the foreseeable future. Check the Restocked section and the New Items section to see what we have added to the site
Next up is the fact that we have decided to abandon the storefront experiment. We set up our storefront in the fall of 2020 (crazy times) and opened our doors in November of that year (we all thought COVID couldn't last very much longer!) We had ups and downs throughout our 1.5 years of being open with changing hours and temporarily closing our doors, and then being open very few hours. In the end we have looked at the numbers and have come to the conclusion that the best decision is to close the doors permanently. We would like to thank everyone who ever came to the store to support us, we really appreciate you! For now we are in the warehouse sending out orders, answering emails and putting things online M/W/F. We are here for pick up by appointment on those days. Right now it appears that our phone is not working so the best way to reach us is email to email@example.com
And last but not at all least, at least for me and Carla, we will be moving our desks from the back to the front and we will finally have natural light!!!! Glory be! I know this doesn't affect any of you, but it is a really big deal for us. I have been working here for well over 5 years and this is the first time that I will have natural light in my face at work! Such a huge deal, especially in the winter months.
I think that is all I have to report for now. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comments please let me know!
Seriously, long time no blog. The winter is almost gone (don't want to jinx things!) and we are looking forward to some warmer weather here in Alberta. Not much has changed for us here at Camogroup.
Over the winter we decided to be closed to the public. As a very small business staffing can be difficult and with the upswing of COVID cases in Alberta over the winter we had very little traffic so we closed the doors. As things start to look up we have decided that opening Fridays from 10-4 is a good decision for us. It allows me the flexibility I need with my kids and gives our customers a few hours to browse the store.
We are getting ready for summer here and have fully stocked our selection of Happy Yak meals for purchase in store or online. We are also expecting a nice big restock of DD Hammocks in the next couple of weeks, this stuff flies off the shelves in the summer, so if you are waiting on something get it while you can. We won't be restocking until the winter!
I have a lot of stuff in the back here to sort through and get onto the site and into the store - as usual. I put out some great ECW Mittens with Liner as well as the ECW Mitten Shell that we haven't had in stock in a couple of years. I have added several US items to our new items as well which have been selling well.
Hello readers. Do I even have any readers? Who knows, I will write anyways. I could have sworn I did a blog a couple of weeks ago, but it turns out that was a couple of months ago. Well, here is your update!
We have pared down our warehouse size and crammed everything into the middle and front of the building. We used to take up the full length of half of the building and now we are less than 2/3 of that space. Quite the adjustment. We have a lot more stuff in the front now. Almost all of our DD products are in the front, lots of vehicle parts, and lots of camping gear. We have forayed into camping more this year now that we have the store front. Lacombe doesn't have much for outdoor pursuits retailers so that has been good for us.
We have said hello to Parker as a new team member here. He is great so far! He is responsible for all the vehicle parts getting listed lately. I have been on Robert's case about these vehicle parts for years, so it is a relief to finally see someone take them on. Now we need people to start buying them. Anyone working on a Land Rover out there? Know anyone who is??? Send them our way! We also just said goodbye to Carla. She was a huge asset for this past year lifting morale and getting shit done, but she is now on maternity leave, baby is due in 17days! She tells us it is going to be a girl and we can't wait to meet her.
What else can I tell you...
We have updated our hours again. We seem to do this regularly as we figure out how to work the store and how to maintain some of the flexibility that has kept me here these past 4.5 years. Saturday traffic really dropped off as the weather warmed up and the desire to be here on those Saturdays has also waned, especially without Carla as that left me as the only Saturday worker (Parker is casual and his other job has him working 4 Saturdays in a row, so he isn't too keen on working his other Saturdays). We also noticed that Fridays are consistently our busier days. In light of these observations we extended our Friday hours to 11am-5pm and have reduced our Saturdays to the FIRST Saturday of the month from 12-4pm. As always we are available online 24/7/365. Wednesdays and Thursdays remain 11am-4pm.
In the wings we have a few tri-walls of boots waiting to be sorted. No room in our tighter quarters to get them going here, but we'll find space. We still haven't gotten our hands on any tri-walls of textiles,so our Canadian surplus content is getting quite picked over.
I think that is all I have for you for now. Lots of new items in store and on the website so be sure to keep coming back to find your next favourite treasure!
I originally started this post on the 8th of April and now it is the 29th.
We have been working at expanding our storefront! There was this hallway that we were using to store our DD stuff in and we thought, 'we have a whole warehouse for storage, this can be used for retail space.' So I put my paint clothes back on and spruced it up a bit and Voila! - Our new boot room! We have made the room that the boots used to be in our new camping room. We have all our DD in there, sleeping bags, skillets, our full line of Happy Yak meals, camp cots and more! You'll have to come see it!
We pride ourselves on being the least pretentious store in Central Alberta.
This month has flown by. We have had to reduce our hours in the store front again, we are still here Weds-Sat but we open at 11 on the weekdays now instead of 10. We are still open at 10am on Saturdays. We have decided to reduce our warehouse space as well and we (read Robert) are busy trying to fit everything into the middle section of our building, it is definitely a logistics game, but this is what Robert did in the Army, so we have faith in him. At least that is what we tell ourselves as the shelving gets closer and closer to our desks.
We also had to go through all of our shipping rates this month and give them a bit of an increase. We went off of Canada Post's rate page, which is where we got our original rates. We haven't increased our shipping rates in 4 years and we often had to cover the difference on shipping ourselves so we decided it was time. We do ship with more than just Canada Post now, so if we can ship an order cheaper and faster we do and if there is more than a negligible difference between the rate we get and what was paid we will refund that to the customer's method of payment. Our shipping is quoted based on Canada Post Expedited Shipping, but it might arrive via CanPar or UPS. We always send an email with your tracking information, that tracking number can be found near the bottom right hand corner of the email that lets you know that your item has shipped. A lot of people miss this, but indeed we have sent your tracking info!
We also got in some MREs! That is quite exciting. MREs are very hard to come by and we lucked out with a few cases of Lasagna and Breakfast Skillets. They come complete with a beverage and snacks. They are US issue and they have best before dates of May 2021, but we all know that best before is just a guideline. We have every faith that these meals will be delicious for ages beyond May 2021, plus we priced them to sell! $7 each or a case of 12 for $60. They do not however qualify for our free shipping offer.
What will May bring us ? I am guessing a restock of DD Hammocks, an order from World Famous (camping gear), hopefully more surplus, maybe a few new items, SuNsHiNe and Summer! And if I can get my poop in a group, more than one blog post.
Hello friends! It's been a few weeks again and a lot has gone on in the store and in the warehouse. We have finally finished putting everything we brought in from our last big World Famous order, so you will see our MOLLE/ Web gear is all restocked. We brought in a few new items from them as well. like a cold weather sleeping bag system and a bunch of larger sizes of cast iron skillets. You can find all of the new items on our NEW ITEMS page. My personal favorite new items are the softshell jackets and the ARMY hoodies.
Also new to us are some great camo patterns from Germany, Australia and Croatia. Also listed in the new items section.
We have also restocked a lot of things that we were out of -
Dutch Military Haversack
US Molle Grenade Pouch
US Fanny Pack
US Sustainment Pouch
US Canteen Pouch
First Aid Pouch
British Gas Mask Pouch
US Military Waterproof Clothing Bag
M1945 Sleeping Bag Case
Small Sharpening Stones
North 49 Swiss Flint Survival Tool
20L Collapsible Water Carrier
And so much more that we forgot to keep track of it all!
Today I also put a bunch of stuff into CLEARANCE - so please check out that page. We also listed our MK4 Temperate Safety Boots and our MK4 Cold Wet Weather Boots at 50% off. This is a great time to buy yourself those new work boots.
Anyhow, it is Friday and I don't work tomorrow and I am here late so this is it for this week's blog post. The days just fly by here and I get caught up in all kinds of little jobs and don't always remember to comeback here and post, but my dad texted today that he like the blog posts and finds them informative, so that was a good nudge to get on here today before I went home. HI DAD!
Hello! We got a large shipment from World Famous this week, so we have a lot of restocks!
Jumbo Parachute Hammock
Dual Pot Back Packers Cookset
Gen 4 Rucksack with Frame
Mini Cast Iron Skillet
Sabre Wild Max Bear Spray (325g)
We're not even half way through this shipment, so keep your eyes open for more new items and restocks!
Hi! We will be doing our best to update this section weekly, but if we don't remember please be sure to checkout our New Items section as we are constantly adding new items to the site.
This week we added some forensic kits to the site. We added them as individual kits, or if you want to have the whole set and the proper case to carry them all in we also added them as the Model 300 Crime Scene kit complete with the Pelican Case. Each kit is made by Lightning Powder out of Jacksonville, FL and they are the real deal. Great for the amateur sleuth, or the private investigator - this is what the pros use. We have the UV Latent Print Kit, the Forensics Finger Print Kit, the Basic Magnetic Powder Kit, the Evidence Collection Kit, and the Deluxe Latent Print Kit.
We also added the 1945 Canadian Army Wool Blanket. We only have two in store that we got on a trade in, we have never seen these come in with our regular surplus, so they are quite the find! And at only $59.99 they are a steal of a deal. They are in mint condition and if treated right they will last you a lifetime and you can pass them on to your grandkids. They are also very eco friendly! Not only are they preowned, but they are made of 100% natural fibers, from a renewable resource.
We also put a bear spray holster online, as well as some rubber dummy knives, and a couple of piston fire starters. I had to read up about the piston fire starters and they are an amazing little tool! I learn so much at this job.
We also restocked a couple of items that were very popular at Christmas this year, but will be handy all year around. We brought in more of the Infinity Match - just add lighter fluid and you have a match that will last you years. We also restocked the emergency blankets, great for your hiking backpack, or your vehicle emergency kit. It's always smart to be prepared.
Image shown is the Latent UV Print Kit.
Hello! It's been over three years since our last blog post. That is embarrassing. So much has happened! We will just go over 2020.
We all know that 2020 is synonymous with COVID, so we really don't have to go into great detail over that, except to say THANK YOU! Thank you to all of our long term repeat customers. You have sustained us for nearly 6 years now and we are ever so grateful to you. A big thanks and welcome to all of our new customers as well! We are so glad that you have found us! COVID was a very difficult year for a lot of businesses, but for a few small online retailers like us it was the year that people did a lot more online shopping and we were found by a LOT of new people. So thank you!
Central Alberta Military Outlet has been a small online retailer for about 6 years now. We are family owned and operated. Robert started this from his basement with the help of a friend and it eventually grew into the back of the warehouse that we currently inhabit. Four years ago I (Janine) started here. I was looking for a part time job with great flexibility so that I could still have time with my kids, Robert (brother-in-law extraordinaire) offered me the first paid position in the history of the company! The terms were - just make sure the orders get out and the emails get answered- which I still do, and he named me director! A couple of years later we expanded into the next section of the warehouse where there is much better heat and where we do most of the sorting and packaging.
In 2020 sales started to really take off and I was very tired of working all by myself every day and my sister was looking for flexible work for herself, so we hired her! Carla has been an amazing addition to the crew. She has a great mind for details and can remember things that just fall out of my brain. Her organizational skills have been a huge asset and we are just so glad to have her with us.
August 2020 I bought out Robert's former partner and became 40% owner of this place! That is exciting! We are working towards new goals and bringing in new items all the time, while maintaining a focus on genuine military surplus.
One of our first big steps was to expand once more into the front of the building where we have our warehouse and open up a retail location. On November 6, 2020 we opened our doors to the public for the very first time. We have been well received so far and everyone that comes in is so happy that our little town has a military surplus store, and a lot of them didn't know we were online all this time. Another hidden gem in the lovely town of Lacombe. Come visit us!
We are happy to serve you here in the store Weds-Sat 10am-4pm or online 24/7. And you can be happy that you supported a very small, very family run business. We are excited with every new milestone that we reach. This year our goal is to reach 1,000 online sales. We can do it!!
Canadian Army Load bearing Equipment (LBE) is now back in stock at the Central Alberta military Outlet.
This excellent durable web gear is based on the american ALICE system it has excellent durability and is made from very tough nylon.
Here at camogroup.ca when you buy a set of LBE you get the web belt (various sizes) a yoke, a large rear pouch, a water bottle pouch and two ammunition pouches.
The LBE gear is easily up-gradable and can have a number of different mission specific combinations of pouches and items, very tough this ebbing set will last you a lifetime of use.
Pick up a set now we only have a limited number in stock and they will go quickly. keep an eye on our site for pouches and other additions for this great webbing set
This time the lot consisted of 3 triwalls, a triwall is a large box about 40" x 48" x 24", so we also had to rent a trailer to get everything back to the warehouse. We get everything in the truck and trailer and get it back to Lacombe and then we have to find space for everything in the warehouse. Just getting the triwalls off the truck and trailer on to the floor is tricky in itself. Dad attached a ratchet strap and just pulled them down to the floor and we pushed them into position. Three massive triwalls now in the warehouse full of who knows what.
The next thing to do is sort through it all. Now that is a daunting task if there ever was. This was my first time tackling this sort of job so I started by emptying one triwall into the other two. I could tell right off the bat that there was a lot of unsalvageable gear in there. One of the worst things about surplus is that there is a lot of gear damaged beyond repair. We are currently looking into textile recycling so that we aren't just throwing away all of this stuff. There has to be something that can be done with all of these textiles besides tossing it all into a landfill. So the empty triwall is for throwing all the unusable gear into. It is filling up fast.
Now that I have the one triwall empty my next step is to try to sort though everything. This lot has a bunch of firefighting gear, bright yellow, very easy to distinguish so I started with pulling all of that out that I could. There are also a lot of whites in this lot. Sheets, aprons, chef's whites - shirts and pants, so I put all of that in the same general area. Finally I start getting down to smaller items. I take the smaller items and fill a tote, once I have a full tote I sit down at the computer and start entering it all into the system so that it is available for you to buy.
I started sorting on Tuesday morning, so far I have almost a full triwall of waste textiles, the second triwall is mostly empty and the third is still overflowing. Not to mention the firefighting gear that I haven't touched yet and the whites that are just sitting in piles waiting for the next phase of their sorting. I am guessing that I have another 8-10 hours left of sorting and putting things onto the site. Not too bad considering how much there was to begin with!
The official blog of the Central Alberta Military Outlet (CAMO) Stay tuned for information on upcoming sales, clothing information and all things military!