Standing down: Fans of military surplus store Col. Bubbie’s Strand Surplus Senter should prepare for a final salute. After 42 years, the world-renowned shop, 2202 Strand in the island’s downtown, likely will close at summer’s end.

Meyer and Suzie Reiswerg opened Col. Bubbie’s in 1972. Suzie Reiswerg said it was time for her to retire.

“Meyer died five years ago, and this was his baby,” Reiswerg said. “It’s sad; this is an institution. But I’ve been doing this for 42 years, and I’m ready to retire.”

The shop, which has multigenerational customers, is known for its vast eclectic stock of authentic military surplus items. Col. Bubbie’s boasts that it’s “the free world’s only surviving authentic military surplus store.” Military uniforms and accessories from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm and current issue militaria are available at Col. Bubbie’s. The shop also carries T-shirts, shorts, hats, helmets, tents and more.

Col. Bubbie’s will remain open through the summer, possibly a little longer, as it liquidates inventory, Reiswerg said.  

“People who come here love this store,” Reiswerg said. “It’s a compliment.”

World news: Friendswood attorney and developer Jerome Karam has acquired the 150,000-square-foot building that formerly housed Macy’s at Mall of the Mainland, 10000 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway in Texas City. Karam plans to open a World Gym franchise in nearly 42,000 square feet of the site and market the remaining space to other tenants. The venture will yield the largest World Gym in Texas.

Karam, who has major investments in the county, also owns Friendswood Fitness, 133 W. Parkwood Ave. The Friendswood gym is known as a state-of-the-art facility for novices and experienced athletes seeking to improve, refine and maintain their shape, performance and endurance.

Karam is a developer to watch in Galveston County. Look soon for more buzz about his many and varied investments in the county.

Karam acquired the building from Macy’s, which departed the mall in 2012 but still owned the building.

Earlier this year, Coastline Retail Center Inc., which gained control of Mall of the Mainland as a result of a foreclosure action and related litigation, closed the interior common areas of the shopping center which had struggled for years to attract staple stores and shoppers. The remaining tenants include Sears, Palais Royal and movie theater Cinemark.

Lance Gilliam of The Waterman Steele Group represented Macy’s in the transaction. Despite involving an unusual asset — a closed department store in a mall where all interior stores are closed — the real estate transaction went surprisingly smoothly and quickly, Gilliam said.

“Jerome did exactly what he said he would do and more,” Gilliam said. “Rarely does someone want to close early. He kind of caught us off guard.”

Meanwhile, there’s no fresh news on the Mall of the Mainland building and whether it’s still under contract to a company wanting to use the property for light industrial manufacturing purposes. Stay tuned.

Medical alert: Inquiring readers want to know about the dirt moving on the southwest corner of Delany Road and Emmett F. Lowry Expressway in Texas City. The University of Texas Medical Branch plans to consolidate three of its Texas City clinics — family, pediatrics and cardiology — at the site.

Those clinics will close at the end of the year when the new facility opens at 10121 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway.

The medical branch doesn’t own the land, nor will it own the building, officials said. It will lease the building from Levcor, the developer and owner.

U.S. Builders is the contractor, which will build to medical branch specifications. The one-story building is expected to be more than 30,000 square feet.

The primary and specialty services to be housed in the new Texas City clinic are: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, ear, nose and throat, audiology, urology, anti-coagulation, cardiology, ophthalmology, radiology (X-ray only) and a laboratory.

Apartment department: Details are scarce, but rumor has it that an island developer is planning what could be one of the most luxurious apartment complexes in Galveston. Plans call for 73 waterfront units in an all-concrete complex. Stay tuned.

Biz Buzz

Laura Elder is a reporter for The Daily News. Biz Buzz appears Tuesdays and Thursdays. Email your tips and suggestions to

(7) comments

Steve Fouga

End of an era. I lived in Fort Worth 1975-2011, but visited Galveston several times each year as a tourist. A trip to the Island wasn't complete without a stop at Col. Bubbies. For years I hunted in surplus camo purchased there. I haven't been to the store lately, but I'll be sure to take at least one more tour of the jam-packed, convoluted warehouse before it shuts down, marveling at how small European soldiers and sailors must be...

George Croix

If they didn't have it, you probably didn't need it...

JD Arnold

An end of an era. I remember back in the 70's in my Coast Guard days, hustling down to bubbies to get that last minute uniform item before inspecton time. Good times.

Brian Cann

Love the Reiswergs. Great people. Hate to see Col. Bubbie go. By far the coolest store in Galveston county, possibly all of Texas. Enjoy your time off, Suzy.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Sad news to see it go. So many of the great Army-Navy surplus stores across the country have disappeared in recent years. When the one on Sand Street in Brooklyn and worse, the "Union War Surplus" in San Pedro California closed, I missed the warning and so lost the opportunity to stock up on items unavailable in the rest of the world. Thank you to Suzie and GDN for giving us the advance warning. I will be there Saturday, with a wheelbarrow and a bag of cash, before the good stuff is all gone.

I guess after Meyer's passing, this was inevitable but many thanks to Suzie for keeping it open this long.

Jarvis Buckley

Col. Bubbies was a great place. See you on the other side.

micheal moore

Jake Buckner - why do you think the Europeans need Americans to fight all their wars for them?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.