Building #19 To Close All 10 Stores

BOSTON (CBS) — Local institution for bargain hunters, Building #19, is going out of business.

The Hingham-based company, famous for its motto “Good Stuff Cheap” plans to close its 10 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire next month.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

“We bought stuff that other people were not brave enough to buy,” Co-founder Jerry Ellis said. “I miss it. This has been my life.”

The 86-year-old Ellis said he opened up his first Building 19 in 1964 in Hingham.

“We decided to call it Building #19 because there was a sign up there already, so why spend money on another sign? Plus we didn’t think we would be in business long enough to buy a new sign,” Ellis said.

But shoppers loved Building #19 and business grew.

“It’s the ultimate impulse shopping place,” customer Steve Beatty said.

Shoppers say they will miss the convenience of Building #19.

“I love their slogan, ‘Good Stuff Cheap,’’” Beatty said.

Customers also loved the cartoons, frequently seen on signs and in flyers.

Matt Brown was the artists behind the cartoons for around 43 years.

“I”m talking to people today that tell me how much they appreciate the fun of it,” Brown said. “It was a unique thing – an advertisement that people looked forward to reading – that doesn’t happen very often.”

Listen: WBZ NewsRadio 1030 speaks with cartoon artist Matt Brown

The company now cites internet competition and a lack of cash for new inventory, as reasons for filing for bankruptcy.

“Building 19’s business model relies, in part, on having sufficient working capital on hand to make erratic inventory purchases. Building 19’s lack of working capital impaired its ability to capitalize on erratic opportunities to purchase inventory,” the bankruptcy filing states.

Ellis says as the world changed and became too efficient, business started to suffer. “It was inevitable. We profited from mishaps and mistakes. We made a lot of friends and we had a good time,” Ellis said.

Building #19 leases each of its retail locations.

The anticipated close date for all stores is December 8.

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton contributed to this report


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