Pour out a bottle of Chateau de Cheapo for Jerry Ellis tonight

Building #19 (1993)

Henry Santoro reports that Gerald "Jerry Ellis" Elovitz, the co-founder of the Building 19 chain, is dead at 90.

Building 19 Facebook page - Has images from the famous circulars and other good stuff, free.
Some more images from Building 19 circulars.



      Free tagging: 


      Couple of my favorites...

      They sold pieces of glass that could be used for 'really big coffee tables' that did NOT come from any Boston buildings named after Revolutionary War heroes and owned by insurance companies...they were sworn to secrecy.

      At one point they had a truckload of decent quality baseball gloves. Since they were all salvage, they were imprinted with the word 'SALVAJE' on them. Naturally, they claimed that they were genuine gloves from the line of the great baseball player Hector Salvaje.

      that's funny

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      No wonder in the puppet show one of them says the words" legitimate" and "wheel and deal"

      I miss Bldg 19

      Lots of what they had was dollar-store-level junk, but they sometimes had incredible bargains on first-rate stuff. I still find stuff in my house that has one of their stickers on it. Your Job Lots and the like are just not on the same level. No place is.

      May he rest in peace.

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      May he rest in peace.

      I shopped there a time or too. Couldn't really get that worked up about them - guess maybe if you grew up with them around....

      Personally, when I think of Building 19 - I think of how they were pretty much the last nail in the coffin for Spag's.

      Sorely missed

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      Their Sunday flier was always entertaining and their merchandise was often an amazing deal. The former location on Morrissey Blvd is now National Wholesale Liquidators. It's not the same as Building 19, but it gives you a sense of what it was like back in the good old days.


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      Were they in that location in Dorchester? I was a fan of Building #19 back in the day, but always recall needing to drive out of the city to go to one (Weymouth, Burlington and Haverhill were specific ones I remember).

      That location in Dorchester was the home of Orbits (yes, I'm that old!), possibly Zayre (not sure) and Bradlees - just don't remember Building 19 being there.

      Great memories of going through junk to find those gems....

      Could the Internet be wrong?

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      I read it online that Building 19 used to be on Morrissey Blvd, but it could very well be incorrect. I cannot vouch for the truth of everything I read. Sorry if I passed along a falsehood.

      My all time favorite Building 19 promotion

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      was the time they bought a whole bunch of prison jumpsuits that the Georgia procurement officer rejected because the tops and bottoms were a different shade of orange.

      The front page of their Sunday circular that week proudly displayed the jumpsuits, along with the title "Now you can dress like Cousin Merle" - which promptly got Jerry in trouble with prisoner's rights groups.


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      The ads were like reading a second comics section in the Sunday Paper, i remember when they got in trouble for using "wife beater" term in their ads.

      "Old Assembly"

      I remember taking the "People Mover" tram from the Orange Line and walking past the shuttered Building #19 some cold winter night when heading to the theater. The place has closed but they left the lights on and you could peer through the plywood on the doors to see leaves blowing around the big empty store. It was depressing and surreal.

      Across the street was a closed McDonalds with the drop ceiling having fallen across the tables and debris everywhere.

      Hard to believe 15 years later it would be a hot, fully developed property.

      I can thank Ellis

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      for the irregular fruit of the loom briefs my mom regularly got me at his emporium.

      My Building 19 anecdote

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      I never shopped there, but a friend's sister with Down Syndrome had a job there: I think it was pouring coffee. She lived for that job and was up hours before she needed to be up, waiting eagerly for another day at work. Of course the customers loved her. This was in the '80s, when there were not lots of opportunities for someone who had, in this case, a moderate to severe disability. I always respected Building 19 for giving a chance to someone who didn't have a lot of options at the time. Building 19 and its customers got an enthusiastic employee, and Ginny found joy and purpose in her work. It was a win for all parties concerned.

      Bldg 19

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      was the best lace to buy an Oriental rug. The woman who ran that department knew her shit.

      R.I.P. Jerry

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      Thank you for the great bargains you provided over the years.

      (Hoisting a mug of coffee, with fake cream too!)

      I worked for him and learned a lot

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      I used to work with Jerry directly and learned a lot from his experiences. It was sad to see the stores close a few years back and now to hear this. I used to even watch the ads hand drawn and later have Jerry fine tune them with his quirky additions. Good times and great stories. RIP, sir.

      Worked at Lynn and Burlington

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      Worked at Lynn and Burlington locations, 1981-86.Monthly store meetings with free pizza and soda.For customers, "Free coffee, slight extra charge for use of company storage pump." One Italian-American employee was offended by a Mat Brown joke in circular, a guinea pig saying "hey Mama, we're-a out o' lasagna!" Apologies were made.Marblehead millionaire George Butler bought oriental rugs from us for his yacht.

      One minute of Burt Reynolds film Starting Over shows him shopping at the Lynn store.Son Billy Elovitz ran rugs.Sold plywood that blew off Hancock tower.Sold fortune cookies--"buy these and I'll make a fortune!'