In Winter Haven, a gateway to adventure - FOX 13 News

In Winter Haven, a gateway to adventure

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WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) -

The Andy Thornal Company in downtown Winter Haven is a place that revs your adrenaline and whets your appetite for wanderlust. It is known as the gateway to adventure, and has been for many people since 1945.

It is a sophisticated outdoor store that offers the finest money can buy.

"A combination of L.L. Bean, Tiffany's, Bill Jackson's and Brooks Brothers. Elements of all those, and yet, it has its own flavor," Tom Oldt said.

Oldt, a long-time friend and business associate of the store, was its first employee, and is still one of its biggest fans.

The company was started right after World War II as an army navy store. Since then, it has come a long way. It has grown from 700 square feet to more than 14,000. Its merchandise has changed as well.

From military uniforms and footlockers, it now stocks high-end fly fishing rods and reels, and scout camping equipment right alongside Rolex watches and custom made jewelry.

The president of the company, Scott Hart, retired, but came back because he says he found it hard to stay away. Hart says he has never had a boring day there.

"There is just a certain sense of adventure, and there are endless adventures to be explored," he said.

For many people, the Andy Thornal Company is the first step towards finding their next one.

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