Small Business Focus: Congratulations Casual Adventure!

June 1, 2022 | By Alex Held


On May 25, 2022, at the SWaMmy Honors in Richmond, Virginia, Casual Adventure was recognized as a 2022 SWaMmy Honoree for its legacy in Arlington going back 77 years. “On behalf of our family, our staff, friends, and customers thank you to the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity for recognizing Casual Adventure for its history, current form, and potential,” said Stern.

Recognized as a 2022 SWaMmy Honoree for its longstanding commitment to Arlington, Casual Adventure is a family-owned small business founded at its current location along Washington Boulevard in 1945. Eric Stern currently operates the company, the fourth generation of Sterns to own Casual Adventure. In 1945, it was called The District Grocery Store, founded by Eric Stern’s great grandfather. “Our store has always been a family business focused on our community, and our staff shares this sentiment,” said Stern. 

In the mid-1950s, Eric’s grandfather took over the store and changed the name to The Surplus Center. He altered the product mix from groceries and focused on Army and Navy surplus. After running a successful business for 30 years, Eric’s father took over the company, changed the name to Casual Adventure and added outdoor fitting brands.

Eric Stern has been at the helm of Casual Adventure for more than twenty years and has added sporting goods to the product mix, which many Arlingtonians think of as the Casual Adventure of today. “I’m constantly amazed by how our little footprint continues to make such a large impact. But I’m also reminded that I get to stand on the shoulders of those before me and those around me,” said Stern.

Of course, being in business for 77 years, the Stern family has seen their fair number of challenges. “Each of us faced our challenges: starting a business as an immigrant, living with multiple sclerosis, passing away from a brain tumor, staying relevant in an ever-changing society, just to name a few,” said Stern. However, each generation succeeded by tailoring the business to their strengths.

“I am honored to carry on the traditions set before me—a genuine interest and participation in local activities and organizations, a friendly and sincere engagement with our customers, an ability to adapt and overcome obstacles, and a sense of responsibility to perpetuate these life lessons,” said Stern.

For more information about Casual Adventure, stop by the store located at 3451 Washington Blvd., or check out the online store at

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