EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 4, 2013

Building #19 closing

Leaves gap at Haverhill plaza and other locations

By Shawn Regan

---- — HAVERHILL — Building #19, a quirky discount chain with a popular store in Riversedge Plaza, is expected to close in a month — but not before one last hurrah of a sale.

The Hingham-based company, known for no frills, unorganized warehouse stores, has filed for bankruptcy protection as it seeks court permission to go out of business.

The company plans to hire a consultant to quickly sell off nearly $2.3 million in inventory before closing by Dec. 8, according to news reports. The company has 10 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Riversedge Plaza is also home to Market Basket, Family Dollar, Radio Shack, Olympia Sports, Aubuchon Hardware and about a dozen other stores, businesses and small restaurants.

David Van Dam, Mayor James Fiorentini’s aide, said he heard the news about Building #19 last weekend.

“Our primary concern is to fill that space and replace those lost jobs as fast as possible,” Van Dam said of the store’s closing. “We’ve already started working on a plan to do that, but are waiting to talk to Building #19.”

Phone calls to Building #19’s main office were not returned. Van Dam said messages he left with company officials and other owners of the plaza also were not returned yesterday.

The plaza is owned by DeMoulas, Building #19 and a real estate trust, Van Dam said.

“The hope is that one of the existing businesses in the plaza is interested in expanding or we can find a new company to go in,” Van Dam said.

The plaza is between Trinity Stadium and the Groveland Bridge.

Building #19, which has been around for about 50 years, is known for buying up overstocked and irregular furniture, clothing and other items and then selling them at low prices in warehouse-like stores.

In documents filed with the US Bankruptcy Court in Boston, the chain blamed the Internet for cutting into its sales. With insufficient capital to buy new merchandise, the company told the court that the “orderly liquidation” of its inventory through store closing sales will “generate maximum value” for its remaining inventory.