Longtime employee Viti buys Herb Philipson’s


Herb Philipson’s Army and Navy Stores have been purchased by long-time employee Guy Viti, the company has announced.

The Rome-based store announced in January that it was up for sale after 67 years. Company President Gary Philipson said at the time that he decided to put his family’s nine-store retail chain up for sale feeling that “new energy” and a “fresh vision” were needed to go forward in an increasingly competitive retail environment.

He said in January: “The retail environment has changed over the past few years as more and more customers are choosing to shop online, and traffic coming to our stores continues to decline. The cold weather, which has been our bread and butter, is not a given anymore to generate sales. Finally, the combination of my age, my health challenges, and the realization that my kids are not interested in taking over the business, has forced me to make these hard choices.”

Wednesday afternoon Philipson stated: “My mother and I could not be happier than to see the sale of Herb Philipson’s to Guy Viti. Guy started working for my father 37 years ago and has worked with me for most of my career. We know the company and its 340-plus employees are in good hands with our friend and co-worker Guy Viti. I’m sure there will be many new and exciting developments for the company under the ownership of Mr. Viti.”

Viti thanked Gary and Aviva Philipson “for showing their trust in me by letting me purchase the company. I have worked here for my entire professional career. I have great plans for this company and I look forward to working with the community and my 340 teammates in providing our customers with the best brands at the best prices. I have plans for many new and exciting changes at our nine stores. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come.”

Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo called the announcement “great news, any time you can have the continuity with an employee who has been with the company as long as Mr. Viti,” She said, “It bodes well for the area and the Philipson’s brand.” She said that the stakes were high for a significant local employer. “Philipson’s has been here so long you don’t think about the economic impact and the number of employees.”

Izzo said it was also good news to hear that in an era where brick-and-mortar storefronts have so many challenges that Viti promised he has more plans in the works.

Known as “Outfitters for the Great Outdoors,” “Herb” Philipson’s was founded by Gary’s father, Herb, in 1951 when he opened the first store in Rome.

The retailer sells outdoor and casual apparel, workwear and footwear, and sporting and surplus goods at what Philipson deemed “price fighter” prices. 

The nine stores are in Rome, Oneida, New Hartford, Herkimer, Watertown, Newark, Liverpool, Dewitt and Oswego.


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