BUILDING #19 was a chain of discount stores in
The closeout stores had been known throughout
* 1 History
* 2 Corporate culture
* 2.1 Slogans
* 3 Corporate affairs * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 Further reading * 7 External links
Jerry Ellis (born Gerald Elovitz) founded the original store in 1964 with Harry Andler (now deceased), when the two joined together to sell a stock of appliances. The original Building #19 was located at the former Bethlehem Hingham Shipyard , where the buildings were numbered, and the store retained the nondescript name on the building rather than pay for a new sign. Harry Andler was doing surplus and salvage business in the shipyard for several years. The unique combination of Ellis' advertising flair and Andler's expertise in finding and buying distressed merchandise accounts for the early success of the business. Aldler bought "good stuff cheap" and Ellis let everyone know about it with amusing advertising.
In 1971, when the windows began to fall out of the John Hancock Tower in Boston, Jerry and Harry were offered, and bought the defective window panels that were scheduled to be replaced. This got the company national press and attention.
In 1979, retailers Building #19 and
Bloomingdales both appeared as
contrasting locations in the movie _Starting Over _, starring Burt
Candice Bergen ,
Jill Clayburgh , and
In the 1980s, the original Building #19 moved to the former GEM (Government Employee Merchandise) building on Derby Street in Hingham, Massachusetts. Later, Building #19 1/8 opened in the old Stuart's store in the Harborlight Mall on Rt 3A in Weymouth, Massachusetts ; still later that store was closed to build a Lowe\'s Store. The main store Building #19 moved from Derby Street in Hingham and was situated in Weymouth at the old Caldor/Zayre's/Ames building on Massachusetts Route 18 .
In 2002, Building #19 bought out the independent discount store Spag\'s in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts , and renamed the acquisition " Spag's 19". The store format and configuration were changed after the purchase, to more closely resemble the other Building #19 operations. However the store was closed in May 2013.
The chain was known for its often self-deprecating humor , both in their advertising and throughout their store interiors. Their weekly ad circulars often featured caricatures of founder Jerry Ellis with a number of sarcastic captions, many of which were repeated in their in-store advertising. The early circulars featured the "free-spirit" Ellis sternly commanded to work harder by the "skinflint" Andler. As of 2012 , Ellis still wrote most of the ad copy used in the ad flyers.
Each Building #19 location offered free coffee with "free fake cream". Signs near the free coffee stand warned customers not to make fun of the poor quality of the coffee, because "someday you'll be old and weak too". Their price guarantee awarded a bottle of "Chateau du Cheapo" champagne if a competitor beat their price.
In 2006, Building #19 put a cartoon in their President\'s Day advertising flier showing A-shirts (athletic style undershirts) labeled as being "Wife-Beater" shirts. Building #19 was criticized, and promptly apologized. Two years later, a flier poked fun at the 2006 controversy, and was similarly criticized.
The main Building #19 store was located in
Hingham, Massachusetts ;
other stores had a numerical fraction appended to their name (such as
Building #19½, in Burlington or Building #19¾, in Norwood ).
Building #19 1/9, in Pawtucket ,
* "Good Stuff... Cheap" * "Suffer a Little, Save a Lot" * "The Humble Department Store" * "Support the three-day work week" * "America's messiest department(?) store" * "Please leave with at least as many children as you came with"
On Friday, November 1, 2013, Building #19, Inc. and a number of
affiliated companies voluntarily filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection in the
Founder Jerry Ellis said that the business had been "on a downhill slope for 10 years", and attributed its failure to Internet competition, overseas manufacturing, and improved fire protection of warehouses. The latter two factors reduced the supply of salvage and surplus products to sell, while increased competition caused the number of their store customers to drop.
* ^ Goodison, Donna L. (2001-05-11). "King of Cheap". _Boston
Business Journal_. Founded in 1964, Building #19 is now a collection
of 13 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Building #19: About Us". _Building #19_. Archived
from the original on 2014-05-14.
* ^ _A_ _B_ "Profile: