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Building 19 takes down last link with Spag's; Sign on Route 9 landmark is replaced.

Byline: Elaine Thompson

SHREWSBURY - Watching the "Spag's 19" sign being taken down and replaced by a "Building 19" sign evoked a little sadness ... and a lot of nostalgia yesterday.

Several people who browsed the sprawling store on Route 9 yesterday said taking down the sign that bore the name of its founder, the late Anthony A. "Spag" Borgatti Jr., was like putting a final nail in his coffin. Hingham-based discount chain Building 19 bought the store in 2002, four years after Mr. Borgatti's death. The store, which opened in 1934, had been a landmark in the Central Massachusetts retail landscape.

"We're a little sad," said Jim Koontz of Millbury, who shopped for flowers in the garden center with his wife, Eunice.

"We're sorry to see (the sign) disappear. This used to be a unique place with high quality products. Now it's totally different as far as the merchandise," Mrs. Koontz said.

Nancy Sulminski of North Grafton said the new business has a wider variety of merchandise. She said she and her husband are faithful Building 19 shoppers.

"I can't believe this store has really grown like this and the prices are great," Ms. Sulminski said.

Helen Shute of Leicester remarked about how few cars and customers were at the store in the early afternoon. After her first walk through the store in over a year, Ms. Shute said she was so disappointed with the change in merchandise that she likely will not return.

"We used to come here and cars were everywhere. You had to drive around until you found a parking space," Ms. Shute said. "It was wonderful here ... a nice family-oriented business. Now it's a lot of junk. I won't be back."

Bill Shackett of Shrewsbury said he has shopped at the store for more than 40 years. He said Building 19 has stopped carrying a lot of things that Spag's used to sell, including reasonably priced food.

"Personally, I think it stinks. Since Spags died this place has gone downhill," Mr. Shackett said, while shopping for plants. "They should have removed the Spag's sign a long time ago, because if Spags were around he would die."

The main building was not busy yesterday as workers prepared for a big wedding gown sale Sunday. The store has over 1,000 white and off-white gowns that, according to ads, were originally priced between $300 and $1,200 and will sell for $19.99 to $99.99. The store, like all other Building 19s, will begin opening at 9 a.m. on Sundays, two hours earlier than before.

In addition to the gowns, clothes and furniture occupied most of space in the main store.

Lori Jardarian, the manager, said it's time for the store to be called Building 19. Ms. Jardarian worked at the store for 30 years.

"Granted it's a landmark, historical, but going forward we need people to know this is Building 19," Ms. Jardarian said. She said there are Building 19 faithfuls who shop at all Building 19s.

"Now, they'll see the sign. Hopefully, they'll do the same here," Ms. Jardarian said. "We really do have a lot of great deals and merchandise, so come on down. We need you."



CUTLINE: Karl J. Lynch of Whitman replaces the Spag's sign with a Building 19 sign yesterday.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jun 1, 2007
Previous Article:REGIONAL DIGEST.
Next Article:Man is charged in city shooting; Victim shot at Chandler and Bellevue.

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