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Missing New Bedford Building #19

I don’t think I ever got out of a Building #19 store without buying anything.

Most of what building #19 carried was scrap metal, but it was scrap metal that you couldn’t find anywhere. Cool junk. There were also times when Building #19 offered great deals on items such as rugs, carpets, and furniture.

You know, good cheap gear!

Now, we’re not talking about handmade Persian Fine Serapi wool rugs, but the quality you’d put in your child’s playroom to catch Play-Dough droppings, watercolor paint, and more.

The New Bedford’s Building #19 store was located at 13 Hathaway Road in the former Continental screw company building. It opened in 1989 and closed in December 2013. I wonder how many free cups of coffee have been given out in those 24 years?

The very first Building #19 store opened in hingham, Massachusetts in 1964. According to Wikipedia, what eventually grew into a chain of 13 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, started out as an appliance store. It was founded by jerry ellis (Gerald Elovitz) and Harry Andler.

Building #19, New Bedford

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

Jerry became the face of the company as it grew and was often featured in the store’s “self-deprecating” advertising. Wikipedia says Andler researched fire sales, excess inventory, customs seizures, liquidations, and merchandise bankruptcies while Ellis handled advertising and promotions.

Wikipedia says Ellis attributed the company’s failure to “internet competition, overseas manufacturing, and improved warehouse fire protection.” The website states, “The latter two factors have reduced the supply of salvage and surplus products for sale, while increased competition has led to fewer customers in their stores.”

All that’s left of Building 19 is… nothing. The company’s famous water tower was razed in 2017 and the building was emptied soon after.

Building #19, New Bedford

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

Do you miss building #19? Did you buy something there that you still have today? Have you ever tried the free coffee?

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