PLEDGE NOW

Filene’s Basement To Close For Good

Passersby come and go from a Filene's Basement discount clothing store in a mall in Watertown, Mass. After over a hundred years in business, Filene's has filed for bankruptcy. (AP)

Passersby come and go from a Filene's Basement discount clothing store in a mall in Watertown, Mass. After over a hundred years in business, Filene's has filed for bankruptcy. (AP)

Filene’s Basement is closing its doors for good. This week, the Boston retail institution declared bankruptcy for the third time, and will close its 21 remaining stores by the beginning of next year.

The store began in 1909 with a brilliant idea. When Filene’s Department Store couldn’t move merchandise, they moved it downstairs to the basement and marked down prices, massively. The original Downtown Crossing store closed in 2007.

Brides-to-be and their friends join in the "Running of the Brides" at Filene's Basement in 2008, in New York. The department store chain held this annual Bridal Gown Event so brides-to-be can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on designer wedding gowns. (AP)

Brides-to-be in a frenzy during 2008's "Running of the Brides" at Filene's. A annual event where brides saved hundreds on designer wedding gowns. (AP)

But, Before TJ Maxx, before Marshall’s, Filene’s Basement was the place where high-and low-brow met in the common cause of finding a great bargain.

Where else could you rummage elbow-to-elbow through messy bins for discounted designer labels? Or mob the store for a fairytale wedding dress in the annual “Running of the Brides”?

Men loved Filene’s too. Governor Michael Dukakis was a frequent shopper. Mayor Tom Menino, too.

And, one of the best dressed men I know – my husband – who won my heart, in part, through wearing some fabulous Italian suits he found in the Basement.

You have one last chance to dig through the bins. Filene’s Basement plans to hold liquidation sales during the holiday season, before shuttering for good in January.


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Host Meghna Chakrabarti introduces us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and brings us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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