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In March of 1959, Robert Plahn purchased a quonset hut in downtown Janesville. Later that same month, he opened the doors to Janesville's new Army-Navy Store. That same year, he purchased the building across the street and opened Plahn Canvas Products: a custom canvas shop that originally specialized in boat covers and tarps, but nowadays has expanded into custom bags and products for both individual and commercial use. 

In 1965, Mr. Plahn and his wife purchased an empty gas station on the corner off Milwaukee St. and built an addition to house the Army-Navy and canvas shop. At this time, they added new product lines to compliment the surplus store. Soon camping equipment, downhill & cross country skis, and work clothing filled the store, bringing in campers and outdoors men. 

In October of 1971, the Plahns hired Bonnie Francis, a local student looking to earn money to return to college. 

The following year, Mr. Plahn was in Texas on a buying trip when he fell ill. After returning a month later, he was so pleased how the business operated in his absence that he immediately made Bonnie manager. Additionally, he asked if she would like to own the business some day.

At that point she began buying into the business.

In December of 1977, Robert Plahn died unexpectedly, leaving Bonnie to take over the business at age 25.

Even after 40 years, Bonnie still owns and operates the stores with the same business ethics Robert Plahn intended.

She says she is blessed to have the best staff that anyone could ask for.

At Plahn's, you, our customer, will always come first.

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