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Bob Slate, Cambridge landmark, closing for good

A notice was taped in the window of the Mass. Ave. store in Harvard Square making the announcement about the store, which has two locations in Harvard Square and one in Porter Square, an alert correspondent reports.

In 2009, the two Slate brothers announced they would try to sell the store started by their father, Robert, more than 75 years ago. Apparently, they were unable to find a buyer, and now the leases on their Harvard Square stores are expiring soon.

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Comments

Terribly sad news. Slate was the go-to supply house once Charrette closed. Makes me especially blue on a day when I was already craving a Warburton's sausage roll and Ruggles pizza.

When's their last day? Where should I go once they close?

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This saddens me. A lot. I really wish this weren't true.

On the plus side, they'll be replaced by banks so, er, yay.

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This is very sad and we have to thank the family for keeping it going so long. This is a real landmark from the 'old' Cambridge (i.e. before rent control was lost) and now only one or two are left. Unfortunately Utrecht and Staples don't really cover the items Bob Slate has. We will have to rely on the Internet but it doesn't have the aura.

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Pearl is gone from Central Square, too. At least A&C Supply is in Central, though not nearly as big.

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I am so sad to hear that!! Its been one of my favorite places for 21 years now and I can't think of any place comparable to it. The a&c and blick have some overlap but its just not the same kind of store.

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Here. It confirms that all three stores are closing in March, including the one in Porter Square that the family owns outright.

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Does the community have to wait until a replacement is announced or can we start protesting the loss of a cultural institution already?

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Here. It tells us that one of the two Slate brothers is 73 years old, and that the stores have lost money for the past two years.

A commenter in Davis Square LiveJournal's discussion suggests Paper Source in Porter Square as a possible alternative for some of Slate's merchandise once they're gone.

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Might I suggest University Stationary as a suitable alternative? It's an 80 year old, single family company on Mass Ave-- at the "other" school in Cambridge.

It is fantastic, a bit more cramped than slate, but tons of weird stuff and super super friendly people run it.

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The whole couldn't-find-a-buyer-who-would-preserve-the-business angle doesn't make me very optimistic about the future of New England Mobile Book Fair, either.

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This has to be a really tough business to compete in. This store was up against the Coop and Staples. Even with Harvard there, its hard to imagine how a location can support three stationary stores (there are probably others in the Square that I'm forgetting too). That said, it all started to go down hill when the Tastey closed. My bet for a replacement is: (a) a bank of ATMs; (b) a Qdoba; or (c) a dietary supplament store, as those seem to be recesion-proof and are run by people living so far away that they don't realize how much the landlords are sticking it to them for what is rapidly becoming Quincy Market Accross the River. Its only a matter of time before the entire Square is leased out to General Growth Properties for management as an Ivy-League Shopping Experience.

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They already have one in Harvard Square, and the chain has been shrinking, having recently closed its Porter Square location.

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I didn't really think that Slate's competed with the the Coop or Staples. Their selection of journals, notebooks, and pens is unmatched, unless you want the crap that Staples carries. The coop has some moleskines, but still not close. Black Ink carries some Rhodia notebooks, but I think I'll hit the remaining Slate's in Harvard Sq to stock up.

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How about an Extreme Pita? Already open at BU and in Norwell, they say.

Or Tasti-D-Lite? Opening soon on Newbury St.

CPR Cell Phone Repair?

An Adam & Eve "adult products" retail store (site is SFW, as far as I've checked)?

Here's a longshot: Laptop Xchange (OK fit for the clientele, but not in New England).

Source.

As an aside, does anyone else think it's odd that on Entrepreneur.com's list of the 10 fastest growing franchises, 7 are cleaning (as in janitorial) companies?

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