About us


Northern Surplus was opened in 1963. Selling military clothing & gear, camping equipment and outdoor clothing to the locals and occasional tourists. In those days crowds gathered to watch the Minnesota Vikings at their summer training camp at Bemidji State University. Another locally owned company, the Core Craft boat company was expanding its business from building hand-laminated core boats to building fiberglass canoes, snow scoops, and snowmobile hoods for Arctic Cat.

In 1973, Pete and Alice Dreyer bought Northern Surplus, learning, on the job, just how to run a retail store.  The store was in the VFW building. There was a reception hall upstairs. Weddings and other parties were held up there. The kegs were stored in on the first floor and copper lines flowing with Hamms, Schmidt, and Falstaff beer ran to the bar on the second story.


About 1977, a Tandy Leather representative came through Bemidji trying to sell franchises. The rep stopped in and asked Pete if he would want to buy a franchise. Bruce Dreyer was a leather worker living in Montana at the time, and Pete and Alice saw a chance to lure their son back home. The couple needed their son's leather knowledge and craftsmanship to open a Tandy franchise. Bruce agreed and arrived in Minnesota with 13 silver dollars in his pocket and a third of a tank of gas. The rest, as they say, is history.