Remembering Miller’s Outpost

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The chain, now named Anchor Blue, was launched in 1972 with locations in Ontario, Pomona, Upland and El Monte, although its roots go back to 1948 in Ontario. My Sunday column has details on that. Check out this November 1972 ad from the Ontario Daily Report. For a larger view, click on the image. And thanks to Kelly Zackmann of the Ontario Library for the ad.

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  • Ren

    I used to live by the one on Holt in Pomona they used to have these big pair of Levis that would hang from the rafters I mean these were big you could maybe fit 3 people in them great place sure miss those prices.

  • Shirley Wofford

    I remember the first store in Ontario being on Euclid, just south of the old First National Bank at the intersection of Euclid and Holt, in the 60′s. I remember it as Miller’s Surplus. My husband says he thinks it was called Miller’s Landing–that could just be how he thought of it, as he was, and is, an avid fisherman.

    Their inventory consisted of military surplus items, camping and fishing gear, and clothing. That is where we bought all my husband’s 501 Levi jeans for about $6.95/pair. He says he bought his first fishing reel at Miller’s when he came to California.

    I don’t recall if the name of that little store became Miller’s Outpost before it closed at that original location on Euclid or not. At any rate, the new Miller’s Outpost was just a clothing retailer. They sold western type clothing, and rows and rows of jeans, all brands and styles. There were Miller’s Outpost stores located in Upland on Mountain Avenue, and at the Montclair Plaza, before they morphed into Anchor Blue.

    [Miller's Landing was a boat sales lot on Garey at Monterey in Pomona. -- DA]

  • Ted

    After another boring day at elementary school learning about long divison, my dad and I stopped by Millers Outpost. I think we were just stalling for time until mom came home from work. It was only ten minutes and Millers Outpost was in the same shopping pool as Vons. Our neighbor Dave and his fellow empoyees were protesting union wages and Millers Outpost faced the street and had the prized spot. A couple years later when kids allowances got bigger it was a frequent stop for my family.

  • JMac

    I bought my one and only pair of earth shoes at the Pomona Millers. Groovy!

  • Ronald Scott

    There was a Millers Outpost in Chino in a shopping center on Philadelphia and Central Avenue. Right behind the old Music Plus. Used to go school shopping there all the time when I moved to Chino.

  • Kathi

    Miller’s was my very first job. I worked in the Pomona store until it was found out that a manager and employee were living together. At the time I was dating the Assistant Manager. This was forbidden! We girls were transferred to the Upland store. I ended up marrying the Assistant Manager. It didn’t last but I have a fantastic daughter to show for it. I still remember how to fold shirts and pants for display. It was a fun job!

  • Bob Terry

    The Miller’s Outpost in Pomona, which is now a laundromat and a rest stop for some of Pomona’s working girls, was the only place in town where the latest and greatest of a new type of shoe could be found circa 1967…the desert boot…or some people called them chucka boots. I have no idea if that’s what JMAC is calling earth shoes, but they were suede, semi high tops, and tan, brown or grey. Every wannabe surfer dude had to have a pair.

    [Bob, don't tell me you don't remember earth shoes? They were a mid-'70s thing, with a wavy sole, if I recall correctly. -- DA]

  • Jim

    Between Freeman’s Shoes, JC Penney’s and JP Evans, Miller’s Surplus, with their supply of Levi’s, provided the only reason a guy needed to venture off the Pomona Mall for clothes.

  • Randy Potter

    I remember when it was Miller’s Surplus on Euclid. I first went there when my brother took me to get a bomber jacket. He did that every year. I remember going through all the surplus army stuff…canteens, first aid kits and all kinds of pouches, badges and belts. It all had kind of its own smell. Some of the first aid kits still had medicines of various sorts…iodine, creams…and those ammonia filled glass tubes with the cloth over them.

    In about 1964 or so I started buying some clothes there. Many were “seconds” but I really didn’t care. The only time the seconds were a bit too much was when I bought a pair of Levi cords. They looked fine so I didn’t try them on. After I washed them and put them on, I realized the side seams on one pant leg circled my leg at least one and a half times. Oh well.

    It was a great store…they always let you just explore everything and the prices were perfect. I don’t think I ever paid over a dollar for any of the army items purchased.

    [Randy, thanks for the chuckles and the great insights. -- DA]

  • http://2nd2theright.blogspot.com/ Mandy Sicard

    I used to work at the one in Pomona in the early 80s. Several of my Garey High School friends did as well. It was a fun 1st job. I remember the earth shoes, and dittos, and tube tops and, and…. We had a return policy on 501s where people could pretty much bring them back in any shape! You should have seen the shape of some of them. Good, funny memories…

  • Alyn C

    I tripped over this site on a random google of Miller’s Outpost (kinda shocked anyone so recently was still talking about it!), and thought I’d leave my best memory of the Outpost to share with you…

    When I was 19, I worked at the Miller’s Outpost located in the Fashion Show Mall on the famous Las Vegas Strip in ’85-’86. It provided me with what became one of the best memories & favorite moments in my life. I happened to be working on the particular day that none other than one of the greatest legends of Sin City decided to do some shopping…

    While in the rear of the store, doing some pricing and stocking, I became aware of a couple of women who were standing near me suddenly getting very excited and their voices getting nervous and loud, saying “oh my god, oh my god… it’s HIM! It’s HIM!!”

    I looked up and over at them seeing them motion to the front of the store to each other and giddily holding one another — looking in the direction they pointed out, I not only saw a few other women who had been in the store too doing the same thing as those two, but then to my great surprise and immense pleasure, saw who they were talking about — Sammy Davis Jr.!!

    Yep, one of the Rat Pack in the flesh! He had one, lone bodyguard accompanying him as he shopped, and it seemed that’s all he needed as customer and employee alike were far too intimidated and starstruck to actually dare approach him. Thanks, everyone, as I was able to have the honor to help Mr. Davis myself!

    Yeah, it was very cool — I showed him around the store and displayed several things for him which grabbed his interest… and ended up selling him one of our stonewashed denim duster trenchcoats (definitely documents the 80′s!), while facilitating the first two women getting his autograph once they finally worked up the courage!

    I’ve met many celebrities in my time, before and after, and be it in Vegas, California, or anywhere else, but meeting Sammy will always be my favorite “brush with fame”… Miller’s Outpost, who’da thunk it? LOL!

    [Heh heh. Thanks for the fun story, Alyn. -- DA]

  • David

    My memories of Miller’s Outpost are of shopping with my dad for back-to-school clothes in the mid-to-late 80s. So at the end of Summer I would get a few pair of (probably stone or acid wash or even faded) Levi’s and of course T & C Surf Design T-shirts! I always remember my dad asking me why I would want to buy “new” Levis jeans that looked faded and complaining about fashion trends.

  • adrian

    i remember the millers outpost in las vegas. it was across from the boulevard mall on maryland parkway, right next to mervyns. i bought many a pair of levis 501′s. too bad they are all gone.

    • scottie

      @adrian I used to work there back in 93′. I stayed on Katie & Maryland prkwy, behind the Boulevard Mall.

  • dawn

    just wondering if any one can tell me what the yellow comb say from miller’s outpost? thank you have a wonderful day.

  • craig

    My first job was at a Millers Outpost in Louisiana. I can still remember the Levis jean wall and how to fold those stacks of tee shirts. Every time I pass that spot where the store used to be in the mall, it brings back some fond memories.

  • Melody Champion

    When I was 16, I was a passenger in a van, in which my idiot,19 year old cousin was making a U-turn on the 71 freeway, in Calif, to pick up his parked car on the other side, when a Miller’s Outpost Semi Truck t-boned us and dragged us several feet. Thankfully we survived with no major injuries. A couple of years later, Miller’s Outpost ended up being my first real job and when I quit, I was told by my manager that I was his top sales person. I still look back at that job as a great memory and wish we still had Miller’s today.

  • peggy

    Just found some old Miller’s Outpost shirt boxes while wrapping Christmas presents :)

  • barbara f

    In the early ’60s through the mid-60s I shopped at the Miller’s on Holt. Mrs. Miller herself was at the register, and we teens would tease her a bit (remember the zany “hit tune” by a Mrs. Miller? We were Dick Clark fodder, after all). She was good natured about us asking for her autograph.

    They had tremendous stock! Oh to be able to get a pair of denim levis that would last forever for $3.98 again, or to get a flannel lined denim levi jacket for $13.98 (that would last only until someone lifted it from the pile of jackets at a gathering and wore it home as their own).

    Miller’s on Holt with the gentle lady at the register even offered black leather motorcycle trousers … I guess because some people began asking for them … Next thing I knew, they were called Miller’s Outpost and a store was to be found everywhere in California, with levis in a wild rainbow of colors.

    [I wrote a column a few years back on the famous Mrs. Miller. That's funny that you and your friends would tease the Mrs. Miller behind the counter at Miller's. -- DA]

  • barbara f

    I want a real USN pea coat for $9.98! I had one once and it lasted until someone lifted it from the pile of jackets … oh, so you thought I would learn from that first experience? Hey, I trusted my friends, what can I say.

  • Talal Malki

    As a new immigrant to the U.S. in 1987, I started working at Miller’s Outpost only few months after “getting off the boat”. It was a plane actually but I like the expression.

    Anyhow, I have so many memories and nostalgia when it comes to that chain, it was my first job making around $3.35 an hour believe it or not. I worked at the Westminster mall location in Orange County 45 minutes away from LA, my sister worked at the Beach Bl/Edinger St. store. I would love to hookup with old friends whom I forget parts of their names. Please contact me by email talal (at) malki.com … Some of the names I remember are: 2 had the Miller last name, Jennifer, Ron and some good friend with a last name that ends with the east European “-Ski”. I worked about a year and a half I think. That’s where I first learned the American culture.

  • Patricia (Klages) Thomas

    I was the Menswear Buyer for Miller’s Outpost back when they decided to stop using the Cowboys in their TV Ads and Mervyns and The GAP were our strongest competitors!

    I was buying for 250 stores in 5 States back then and had to place my orders before the companies had their fabric swatches (I got to look at paintings of the plaids, stripes, etc.). I remember meeting Dave Miller in a diner when I was interviewing for the position. He was a very nice, down to earth man. Our offices were out in Ontario in the same building that housed the huge distribution center. If someone shipped the wrong merchandise we could actually go out and look at it before deciding to keep it or send it back.

    I have a lot of fond memories of the people I worked with there and of the old Western stores

  • Ramon

    Miller’s Outpost was my first job too, Store #285 Montebello Town Center. When I started, the store was still decorated in the western motif, with a scale model of a western town around the upper part of the walls, except for the rear and half of the left where it was floor to ceiling Levi 501′s and a couple of other Levi jean styles. The fitting room area resembled a small corral with stalls.

    I was going through some stuff and found my old name tags, the first which was a yellow star that says “Howdy my name is”, a rectangular one without the star in the O of outpost, and finally the last one a rectangle with the serif block letters. I even found a couple of pins, two keys that say “heads up”, some round year of service pins, a gold “heads up” pin with a fake diamond, and a gold colored pin the size of a quarter with a raised star that reads “Montebello Town Center”.

    Had lots of fun working there and worked with some good people. I remember the Hub Distributing truck drivers used to really take pride in their tractors, chrome rims, hub and lug nut covers. Good times. I still fold my T-shirts and jeans the way I was taught there! The store is now gone, not even a trace of it.

  • Carlos C.

    I worked at the Miller’s Outpost located at the former Plaza Pasadena mall at Colorado and Los Robles Avenue. I worked there for a few months in 1986-87. They had great clothes, and as an associate, I loved the clothing discounts.

  • Lori

    I worked at Miller’s Outpost in 1975 at Fashion Park in Arcadia. I (along with other staff members from a variety of store locations) was in their first TV commercial and sure would love to see it again… I don’t think it exists online…I’ve searched and searched…….It was a fun day, out in the desert… we all got 2 free outfits!

  • Mel

    I worked for Miller’s Outpost in the early 1980′s. Started at the Mira Mesa store and then was picked to move over to the Rancho Bernardo location to run the shoe department.
    I never felt mistreated and was sad to see them go.

  • http://hucktunes.com Huck

    Miller’s Surplus had a fine selection of marbles and marble bags in the early ’60s. Also plastic bags of Confederate bills. About 1963 I began buying naval surplus uniforms there when I joined the Sea Cadets.

  • Cheryl

    In the 1990′s I worked in the sales department for a manufacturer of blank t-shirts, pocket t’s and tank tops for Miller’s Outpost. I worked closely with their merchandisers and buyers. What a terrific group of people! If any of you wonderful folks at Miller’s Outpost happen across this site, please know you were one of my favorite customers and I’m wishing each of you the very best!

  • David F

    I worked the millers outpost in san bernardino and redlands back in the 80s. it was a good job and i liked the co-workers. the company had a very liberal return policy – you could bring back anything just about any time for a full refund. they never prosecuted shop lifters which encouraged theft. they did not pay their salespeople any commissions. our district manager was a complete jerk / idiot. That is why millers outpost is no more.