Bob Slate Stationers returning to Harvard Square
A sale of Bob Slate Stationers did go through — you can tell from the sound of cheers around the city as well as from a statement posted on the website of the 78-year-old Cambridge tradition.
The two old locations in Harvard Square are for lease or already snatched up by others (the 1288 Massachusetts Ave. location is reopening as a two-story Panera Bread bakery and cafe this fall, according to a report in The Harvard Crimson) and the fate of the Porter Square site remains unknown; the new Bob Slate is coming to 30 Brattle St., a location the Slate family occupied decades ago, even before the Wordsworth bookstore.
“Many of you may remember this as our previous location, and we hope that customers of all stores can come visit us here between Dickson Bros. Hardware and Leather World,” says the posted message from the new owner, who is “working closely with Mallory and Justin Slate to create that signature Slate shopping experience. We hope that you will come by to tell us about your favorite products so that we can try to source them for you.”
While even that message indicates a fall opening, former co-owner Justin Slate gave a slightly more optimistic estimate of “late summer or early fall” on Sunday.
The reopening was first reported Friday by neighborhood business observer Ron Newman on the Davis Square LiveJournal page. Effusive comments followed from readers.
“This makes me happier than words can possibly describe,” one wrote. “My favorite stationer is back!”
“I love shopping there, but I’m even happier to see spaces in Harvard Square go to independent/small businesses instead of another cell phone store or bank branch,” another said.
The brothers closed the final store — the one at 1975 Massachusetts Ave., on property they owned — in spring.
The Bob Slate stores, including one at 63 Church St., had been for sale since October 2009, more than 45 years after Mallory and Justin Slate took over the stores from their father, who started the store in Harvard Square in 1933.
Although the stores were said to be profitable, announcements about the sale acknowledged “declining sales” as well as the advancing age of the owners. The Slates said they were looking for a certain kind of owner who could bring the store through a new era of commerce in a way that made them proud — as well as a steward for what was, at the time, 29 loyal employees.
The sale was handled by Walter Huskins, of Ridge Hill Partners Inc. in Needham.