Friday, April 19, 2024

A sign at Massachusetts Avenue and Allen Street in Cambridge’s Porter Square shows the return of a Japanese grocer to the area two years after the closing of Kotobukiya. (Photo: Marc Levy)

While it seems increasingly less likely Bob Slate Stationer will survive past March 21, the Porter Square branch of the three-store chain is not being replaced by the imminent arrival of Miso Market, a Japanese grocer.

The market will take up only the corner space at 1975 Massachusetts Ave. and Allen Street, Fumi Kanai confirmed Saturday, reached by telephone at Tokai, the gift shop at 1815 Massachusetts Ave. owned by Hideyo Kanai. Taking up the entire ground floor of the brick building isn’t planned, for reasons that include the architectural: Stellabella Toys is the middle store of three, including the empty corner space and Bob Slate. McIntyre & Moore Booksellers, the used bookseller that used the corner space as an annex until June, remains open downstairs.

Miso Market will probably open in May, Fumi Genova said.

It will be welcomed in Porter Square, since it will be 0.2 miles — or a five-minute walk — from where the square lost Japanese grocer Kotobukiya in May 2009. The seller of sushi and other Japanese treats closed after two decades in the Porter Exchange when Lesley University, the largest occupant in the former Sears building, needed space to expand its bookstore.

Two former employees opened Ebisuya Japanese Market a year later at 65 Riverside Ave., Medford — nowhere near the city’s orange line T stop but reachable by riding the 96 bus from Porter.

While a report in the Cambridge Chronicle last month indicated Miso Market would be replacing the Porter Square Bob Slate store, it is the only Bob Slate not certain to be replaced. A worker said Saturday that the two Harvard Square locations have new takers for their leases, which expired even before Feb. 10, when chain owners Justin and Mallory Slate posted signs announcing the end of the stores’ 78-year run in Cambridge.

Based on what sales agent Walter Huskins said last month from the offices of Ridge Hill Partners Inc. in Needham, there were two potential buyers for the family-owned Porter Square location, name, good will and what stock remains after a closeout sale.

But the Harvard Square stores will be no more.

“There are no potential buyers in its existing form,” the worker said Saturday, amid shelves quickly growing bare from diminishing stock.

Barring a sale, March 21 will be the stationer’s last day in business.

This post was updated May 4, 2011, to correct how personnel at Tokai are identified.