Lombard Store Caters to Military History Buffs

Article excerpt

Byline: Diane Dassow

A new Lombard store takes the whole "Men are from Mars" idea seriously.

It's called Men At Arms, and offers products connected with military history. But women figure prominently in owner Bill Krieg's scheme.

"The whole idea of the store was to take a guy-type interest and set up a retail store where women would feel comfortable coming in and buying a gift," he said.

So Krieg established a combination art gallery and retail store where the glass shelves gleam as in any fancy gift shop and where there's no dust to be found.

There's no way you can mistake this for a hobby or military surplus store. He doesn't handle common military items, like canteens or army jackets.

You're more likely to find supplies for a very specialized interest. The shop appeals to people who like to re-create historic events as war games, dioramas or vignettes, he said.

Since opening Oct. 1, he has already attracted a clientele from a 50-mile radius.

Krieg also carries a large inventory of painted miniatures and collectibles from the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, Civil War and World War II, as well as some from World War I and Vietnam. Some items are offered on consignment.

He also has brought in a wide range of limited edition artwork by renowned artists - names like Tom Freeman, whose paintings of naval battles hang in government buildings. …