Business

Famed discount retailer Building #19 files for bankruptcy

Gerry Elovitz, a.k.a. Jerry Ellis, brought his sense of humor to marketing Building #19, but the odds-and-ends inventory made it difficult to transition to the digital era.
Gerry Elovitz, a.k.a. Jerry Ellis, brought his sense of humor to marketing Building #19, but the odds-and-ends inventory made it difficult to transition to the digital era.Credit: Bill Polo/Globe staff/File 2004

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Building #19 was the kind of place that you went to intending to buy a fireplace poker and walked out with a designer suit — or maybe a ball gown or an oriental rug. For decades, it capitalized on its founder’s light touch and keen eye for surplus goods and salvage items that would tickle the masses.

Until now. The Hingham company famous as the place to go for “good stuff cheap” has filed for bankruptcy, having fallen victim to e-commerce and heightened competition from national discount retailers. It plans to hold a liquidation sale and close all its 10 stores next month.

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