Retail Detail. Whoa! Filene’s Basement to Close for 2 Years. Second City Style Fashion Blog

Fountain of 30

September 4, 2007 • Magazine


I will always remember being at Boston’s original Filene’s Basement. It was my first foray into discount shopping as a young(er) girl. I was with my parents and was digging through a pile of scarves on a table and pulled one up I thought I might like. Unfortunately, someone else wanted it too and picked up the other side at the same time. Guess who won that tug-of-war? How I loved that scarf. How I love a good deal even today. 

Filene’s Basement may have won
its place in the hearts and wallets of countless shoppers like myself
with its allegiance to automatic markdowns and quirky bargain-hunting, but it’s closing. Temporarily.

the close of business Monday, the store won’t reopen until
sometime in 2009 — the owners aren’t yet saying exactly when a store
renovation will be completed and the basement will be back in business.


The temporary shutdown of the store’s two lower floors will
accommodate redevelopment of the former Filene’s department store
building above ground in the Downtown Crossing shopping district. A
real estate developer plans a $600 million project to build a 38-story
tower that will include retail, condominium, hotel and office space.

While there are 35 Filene’s Basement stores in cities
as far away as Chicago, aficionados say there’s nothing quite like the
original, with its lack of windows, crowded aisles and well-picked-over
bargain bins of underwear and socks.

The original Basement is also
famous for its twice-a-year "Running of the Brides," where brides-to-be
and helpers line up early outside the store. When the doors open,
participants race toward racks that are sometimes stripped bare of
cut-rate wedding gowns in as little as a minute or so — a spectacle
that routinely draws national television news coverage.

In recent
weeks, store aisles that were once packed with merchandise have been
mostly depleted, and a closeout sale offered discounts as steep as 90%. More than 200 employees now must decide whether to return for
the store’s reopening in a couple years.

Read the whole story here


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