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CPL593H
Oct 28, 2009

I know what you did last summer, and frankly I am displeased.

The name Building 19 is probably familiar to New England goons. To the rest of you Building 19 was a chain of discount stores that were both magical and terrible. The company began in Massachusetts in an actual building numbered 19. The warehouse was selling surplus and salvage items. Eventually this became multiple stores and their entire stock was largely old junk sold for pennies on the dollar that came from other companies and warehouses that had flooded, caught fire, or fell prey to any number of disasters. But what really gave the store its trademark character was the advertisements created by the founder, Jerry Ellis who would also caricature himself and serve as the company's mascot. What was also unique about the ads and signage across the store was that they often poked fun at how lovely the stores were. Much of the merchandise was just piled around the store rather than being arranged in any way. Ten years ago I made a youtube video with a friend where I toured the store which I posted here on the forums at the time. Inexplicably people still remember it and after seeing it posted in another thread and derailing it a bit I decided to make a thread devoted to the store.





















https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Odz_-BcKxx0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VC_5cnd1vs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzjGRGh-yvU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U72JDXAvhgo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFi_hXQleqA

In 2013 the company filed for bankruptcy and the entire chain closed down. Among other things that hurt the store was the increased standards for fire prevention in warehouses. In 2017 Jerry Ellis died at the age of 90. And so it was that a regional icon became a thing of the past. Share your stories or marvel at the horror.

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Colonel Cancer
Sep 26, 2015

Tune into the fireplace channel, you absolute buffoon

This really reminds me of Honest Ed's in Toronto. RIP Honest Ed's, you are missed.

CPL593H
Oct 28, 2009

I know what you did last summer, and frankly I am displeased.

Colonel Cancer posted:

This really reminds me of Honest Ed's in Toronto. RIP Honest Ed's, you are missed.

I'm sure every part of America (or Canada in your case) had stores like this and they're rapidly becoming a thing of the past and I think we're worse off for it. I should also have added to the OP that I want this thread to also be a general weird regional discount stores thread as much as it's about Building 19. I'm sure there are lots of stories. When I was about six or seven years old a bureau that was missing a leg fell over and nearly landed on me at Building 19. They tried to make my dad buy it.

Lil Swamp Booger Baby
Feb 17, 2011

meat




It's a dream to me

Putty
Mar 21, 2013


this place looked hella good i wish i was there

Dear Watson
Jun 25, 2005




Hell Gem

Enriches Jerry 12 ways!

Mons Hubris
Aug 29, 2004

fanci flup




The drawing style looks a lot like Ollie’s Outlet: https://www.ollies.us/home.html

Slugworth
Feb 18, 2001

If two grown men can't make a pervert happy for a few minutes in order to watch a film about zombies, then maybe we should all just move to Iran!


Mons Hubris posted:

The drawing style looks a lot like Ollie’s Outlet: https://www.ollies.us/home.html
Yeah, the whole aesthetic of the two stores is so similar there almost has to be a connection.

Szyznyk
Mar 4, 2008


Ollies is my #1 source for discontinued and way out of season breakfast cereal. Banana Frosted Flakes and Boo Berry in April.

The Bloop
Jul 5, 2004




Ultra Carp

Slugworth posted:

Yeah, the whole aesthetic of the two stores is so similar there almost has to be a connection.

I have thought the same thing but been to lazy to dig any deeper


Ollie's is like a thousand percent less cringe than I remember building 19 being though

Son of Rodney
Feb 22, 2006

ohmygodohmygodohmygod



Man that looks dope I absolutely love these places. The only thing I can compare is this weird trash dungeon I found in my city, you go in and it's just room after room of flea market rejects, it's like the shittiest treasure cave ever.

Pine Cone Jones
Dec 6, 2009

You throw me the acorn, I throw you the whip!


Building 19 was a celebration of trash. It's like the founder was a raccoon in a past life and accumulated a horde of cheap stuff for other people to wonder over. Why did they have so many rugs, I remember a giant room of rugs that I can't imagine anyone bought.

Empty Sandwich
Apr 22, 2008

goatse mugs

Big Lots used to be like that... they had a garbage bag full of broken pretzels hanging from the ceiling marked at $20 that stayed there for years.

just after the very brief spike in popularity of the Atari 7800 in the early 90s, we'd go in and search for games, which were scattered apparently at random throughout the store and priced at $1, $2, or $3, also apparently at random. every time we went in, we'd have a contest to see who could find the oddest thing. I won the last one that I remember, with some kind of scoop/clamp thing that could have been either for dog poo poo or grilling, except it was almost too heavy to lift.

my brother and I decided to recreate this magic in 2005. we walked into the store and were flabbergasted to find shelves stocked in an orderly manner with undamaged goods. the clincher was some 5-year-old kid with a really country accent excitedly shouting from the shopping-cart seat "Momma! Momma! They got Perrier!"

liquid courage
Aug 12, 2011



Holy poo poo, I have memories of Building 19 from when my parents job relocated us from Los Angeles to Western Mass in the early 90s. I could never remember what it was called but definitely remember the unbearably narrow aisles (I seem to recall they weren't wide enough to accommodate two shopping carts side by side) and all the bizarre off-brand foods. Thanks for jogging my memory, OP.

jarofpiss
May 16, 2009



Son of Rodney posted:

Man that looks dope I absolutely love these places. The only thing I can compare is this weird trash dungeon I found in my city, you go in and it's just room after room of flea market rejects, it's like the shittiest treasure cave ever.

yeah im also a trash enthusiast. wish i had been able to go to this bldg 19 place

barnold
Dec 16, 2011

...but i didnt finish




Building 19 free coffee

it was the last store I got kicked out of for getting on the intercom. I found a microphone they had hidden behind some shoeboxes in a corner of the store and used it

you were also guaranteed to find some cool rear end esoteric 90s pc hardware or accessories. I bought a Sidewinder new in box at building 19 once haha

rotinaj
Sep 4, 2008






Fun Shoe

I keep bringing up ocean state job lot in reference to building 19, and some of the stores are nice, orderly and well maintained

My local ones are not

The book section of these stores always fascinate me, too. As a failed aspiring author myself, I really want to know the chain of events that led to these books, the sum total of someone’s creative output for months, they got made and published and everything, only to wind up in a haphazard stack in a discount store. What the gently caress happened?

Son of Rodney
Feb 22, 2006

ohmygodohmygodohmygod



jarofpiss posted:

yeah im also a trash enthusiast. wish i had been able to go to this bldg 19 place

It's great because once in a blue moon you actually find something really cool or just cheap af gifts for friends. Or stuff for weird projects for pennies. It's just great.

BigBadSteve
Apr 29, 2009

Self Defense
Nil Satanus carborundum

Yeshua akbar!
(Xtian anarchisto, no bombo)


CPL593H posted:

... Eventually this became multiple stores and their entire stock was largely old junk sold for pennies on the dollar.

... Much of the merchandise was just piled around the store rather than being arranged in any way.

It looks genuinely PILED HIGH!

Unironically, what a fun looking place to shop! Makes me wish I'd lived in that place at that time so I could have. I would have browsed at the nearest store to me regularly.

Good job documenting what we'd (ironically) call here in Australia a National Trust job, OP. I'm going to stagger watching those videos so I can really savor them and get the full Buiding 19 simulated shopping experience.

And I have to know... is that breakfast cereal a real one you could buy and eat? If so did you ever buy it, and if so what did it taste like?

DarkSoulsTantrum
Apr 6, 2011

this kills the crab

Sure, they're visually impressive, but a lot of posters find large avatars physically uncomfortable. Furthermore, the owners of large avatars often rely on their size alone and don't bother to develop more refined posting techniques.




Massachusetts area goons might remember the granddaddy of em all: Spag’s!

https://youtu.be/aAwrReBS0t0

Colonel Cancer
Sep 26, 2015

Tune into the fireplace channel, you absolute buffoon



Deep Glove Bruno
Sep 4, 2015

Feel the glove!


that video has stuck in my mind for ten years... the phrase "table of gently used underwear" has never left me

Khorne
May 1, 2002

Goonstone Champ x2

Building 19 didn't smell as bad as Benny's most of the time.

Pine Cone Jones
Dec 6, 2009

You throw me the acorn, I throw you the whip!


Khorne posted:

Building 19 didn't smell as bad as Benny's most of the time.

I forgot about Benny's. Ours was actually clean and well organized, I'm sad that it closed.

ELI PORTER
Sep 16, 2007

I posted on Something Awful and all I got was this lousy t-shirt


the federal government demolished Building 19 with a controlled thermite burn OP, please do some research

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



DarkSoulsTantrum posted:

Massachusetts area goons might remember the granddaddy of em all: Spag’s!

https://youtu.be/aAwrReBS0t0

SPAGS
(no bags)

Classic Comrade
Dec 24, 2012

(hair tousled from head shaking during speeches)


Pine Cone Jones posted:

Building 19 was a celebration of trash. It's like the founder was a raccoon in a past life and accumulated a horde of cheap stuff for other people to wonder over. Why did they have so many rugs, I remember a giant room of rugs that I can't imagine anyone bought.

lol my parents definitely bought at least one rug from there; building 19 and ocean state job lot were both common destinations for buying cheap stuff

the building 19 closest to me was originally part of a horse race track; like it must've been part of the interior part of the stadium or something and so there were a bunch of boarded off escalators and stuff inside. it was actually pretty cool

however most of my clearest memories of building 19 come from using its parking lot to learn how to drive. thanks building 19

DarkSoulsTantrum
Apr 6, 2011

this kills the crab

Sure, they're visually impressive, but a lot of posters find large avatars physically uncomfortable. Furthermore, the owners of large avatars often rely on their size alone and don't bother to develop more refined posting techniques.




Pine Cone Jones posted:

I forgot about Benny's. Ours was actually clean and well organized, I'm sad that it closed.

Lmao, I forgot about Benny’s. TIRE SALE!!!

Rhadamanthus
Dec 12, 2004

I roll a lotta sushi, roll 'em fat like John Belushi; call me Desi Arnaz, dogg, I love the Lucy.


That place was simultaneously the poo poo and horrifying. Where else can you find a $7 YSL tuxedo jacket and the hantavirus in the same place??

The last few years of it was kinda depressing; the same PartyPoker.com fleeces and polos in a bewildering range of sizes circulating around the store for years, books from failed right-wing politicians, and already-dead elderly people perusing dented cans of cat food and past "best by" human food (not a sell by, but a best by!).

The cashiers were usually some kind of central European refugee or incorrigible alcoholics.

Truly a carnival of human misery.

SO DEMANDING
Dec 27, 2003



There used to be a place in Derry, NH called "Dollar Bill's", closed a few years ago, well known for the lunatic of an owner and his terrible, terrible commercials where he'd always wear an umbrella hat with fake dollar bills taped to it. I never went there but can clearly remember seeing his commercials on WNDS (The winds of New England!) and not being able to understand half the poo poo he was saying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VE0lp-bxr0

CPL593H
Oct 28, 2009

I know what you did last summer, and frankly I am displeased.

Pine Cone Jones posted:

Building 19 was a celebration of trash. It's like the founder was a raccoon in a past life and accumulated a horde of cheap stuff for other people to wonder over. Why did they have so many rugs, I remember a giant room of rugs that I can't imagine anyone bought.

The rugs were actually the reason to go there. They had fairly nice rugs for significantly cheaper than if you bought them anywhere else.

BigBadSteve posted:

It looks genuinely PILED HIGH!

Unironically, what a fun looking place to shop! Makes me wish I'd lived in that place at that time so I could have. I would have browsed at the nearest store to me regularly.

Good job documenting what we'd (ironically) call here in Australia a National Trust job, OP. I'm going to stagger watching those videos so I can really savor them and get the full Buiding 19 simulated shopping experience.

And I have to know... is that breakfast cereal a real one you could buy and eat? If so did you ever buy it, and if so what did it taste like?

Yeah they really sold that cereal. I never bought it and I regret that because I still want that box. When I was in high school I was with a bunch of people and this girl said she'd never been in there so we all went straight there and had an adventure among the trash. I got home that day and said to someone that I should have bought the cereal because I thought the box art was fantastic. I vividly remember that being the first thing we saw when we went in and everyone was cracking up. When I got the chance to go back they didn't have anymore and I never saw it again. I guess my point is that next time you see a box of cereal with a naked old man jumping out of the milk do not hesitate to buy it. Building 19 truly was a place of memories.

Deep Glove Bruno posted:

that video has stuck in my mind for ten years... the phrase "table of gently used underwear" has never left me

I never imagined that the video would have stuck with people this long. I've noticed that the underwear bin is like the signature moment of the video and I had to argue with my friend to even shoot that. He was just that put off by it. The bit where I laugh about that hat being stained is a genuine reaction. I picked it up because I had some mildly amusing quip and soon as it was in my hand I noticed a huge stain on it.

Khorne posted:

Building 19 didn't smell as bad as Benny's most of the time.

The Benny's in my area was a nice store. The Building 19 in this video had its own smell for each area. By far the worst we experienced that day was in the area in back where all the worst poo poo in the video is. I can only describe the smell as a person with lactose intolerance ate half a dozen hardboiled eggs and washed it down with two big glasses of milk was farting. It just hit us the second we walked back there.

SO DEMANDING posted:

There used to be a place in Derry, NH called "Dollar Bill's", closed a few years ago, well known for the lunatic of an owner and his terrible, terrible commercials where he'd always wear an umbrella hat with fake dollar bills taped to it. I never went there but can clearly remember seeing his commercials on WNDS (The winds of New England!) and not being able to understand half the poo poo he was saying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VE0lp-bxr0

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

Monkey Fracas
Sep 11, 2010

...but then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you!


Grimey Drawer

where does the smell come from

Fors Yard
Feb 15, 2008

Aside from getting shot in the head, David, what have you done with yourself?


That caricature isn't very flattering or accurate. I always thought it look like a stocky Japanese businessman but he looks a lot different than I was expecting and I almost wouldn't have known it was supposed to be him if I didn't know beforehand.

barnold
Dec 16, 2011

...but i didnt finish




i just wanted to say that building 19 was a monumental part of my childhood all the way through my teens and it was fuckin wild to click on GBS and see a thread about my favorite discount store of all time. thank u OP for your service to building 19

also NO BAGS AT SPAGS

wizardofloneliness
Dec 30, 2008



Fors Yard posted:

That caricature isn't very flattering or accurate. I always thought it look like a stocky Japanese businessman but he looks a lot different than I was expecting and I almost wouldn't have known it was supposed to be him if I didn't know beforehand.



I don't know, the guy on the cereal box seems like a perfect representation of him. It's that smile...

Fors Yard
Feb 15, 2008

Aside from getting shot in the head, David, what have you done with yourself?


I definitely see the resemblance but after having seen those drawings over the years I had imagined someone looking different. He is always drawn so much fatter and he is barely overweight.

It reminded me of this character from Maison Ikkoku


Occasionally I've had the "episode where she got jaundice" pop up in my head when something looked a little yellow. Great classic video that is still funny after revisiting.

Pine Cone Jones
Dec 6, 2009

You throw me the acorn, I throw you the whip!


DarkSoulsTantrum posted:

Lmao, I forgot about Benny’s. TIRE SALE!!!

An eternal tire sale.

doctorfrog
Mar 14, 2007

Great.



SO DEMANDING posted:

There used to be a place in Derry, NH called "Dollar Bill's", closed a few years ago, well known for the lunatic of an owner and his terrible, terrible commercials where he'd always wear an umbrella hat with fake dollar bills taped to it. I never went there but can clearly remember seeing his commercials on WNDS (The winds of New England!) and not being able to understand half the poo poo he was saying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VE0lp-bxr0

Is this the dad of that 'brick in yo face' rapper

Yaldabaoth
Oct 9, 2012
Who do I have to piss off to get a red title?

rotinaj posted:

I keep bringing up ocean state job lot in reference to building 19, and some of the stores are nice, orderly and well maintained

My local ones are not

The book section of these stores always fascinate me, too. As a failed aspiring author myself, I really want to know the chain of events that led to these books, the sum total of someone’s creative output for months, they got made and published and everything, only to wind up in a haphazard stack in a discount store. What the gently caress happened?

It's always the really lovely books that end up at places that sell used books, not the good books that people actually want to keep, and that's one of the best things about these places. I love gawking at all the horrible novels on the shelves and browsing through them.

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DC to Daylight
Feb 13, 2012



I think that one thing that you can't really appreciate if you've never set foot in a Building 19 is how far they went to save money. The floor is poured concrete - not a penny wasted on even the cheapest of linoleum. The shelves/racks to display merchandise came in two flavors. First, home made stuff that looked like it could have been old railroad ties someone stripped the creosote from. Second, stuff with the logos of other stores that went out of business. The also-rans of New England retail. Your Caldor's, Bradlee's, Ames and Zaire's. Jerry bought their used shelving for a couple of bucks. Shopping carts from defunct grocery stores too.

Odd products they sold:
- Burlap sacks that coffee was shipped in
- At one point, surplus flip-flops from the Department of Corrections
- Freon 12 in one pound cans, long after it was legal to do so
- Aside from the expired foodstuffs in the video, sometimes there were lots of unlabeled/mislabeled cans. It could be corn, peaches or dog food, but you can get eight #4 cans of it for a buck!

Awesome finds:
- Table Talk pies for a quarter
- Inca Cola for dirt cheap when they had it
- Random hardware for dirt cheap. For a while, there was an old bathtub full of mixed pipe fittings.
- Once in a while, a nice but damaged product. For a while, back when even single disk CD players were expensive, they had a Sony multidisc player (the kind with like a hundred disks vertically, not six horizontally - probably listed over a grand) for like $199 because it was smashed shitless. High end golf clubs with horrible cosmetic damage. A handwoven wool oriental rug with skid marks. You name it.
- I got a bunch of nice hardcover books for $.99 each because the bindings were glued on upside down. With the dust jacket on, you cant even tell.


I miss the place.

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