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Friday, November 25, 2011

The End Of Filene’s Basement

Women grab dresses in a 2008 "Running of the Brides" sale at Filene's Basement. (AP)

Women grab dresses at a "Running of the Brides" sale at Filene's Basement in New York. (AP)

This Black Friday will be the last for bargain hunters to shop at the discount retailer Filene’s Basement.

The chain recently declared bankruptcy and will soon shutter 21 locations.

But for many people, the Basement has been gone since 2007 when its original flagship store in Boston’s Downtown Crossing closed.

That store first opened in 1909, beneath Filene’s Department store, as a place to sell off extra stock.

Filene’s Basement became famous for the brawls it would incite over bargains, especially during the one-day “Running of the Bride” sales.

“I remember these chaotic scenes with these women participating in these scrums,” one shopper recalled in the 2010 documentary “Voices from the Basement,” by Michael Bavaro.

The documentary was the brainchild of Sue Edbril, a Boston psychologist whose grandmother worked at the original Filene’s Basement for 40 years.


  • Sue Edbril, a Boston psychologist whose grandmother worked at Filene’s Basement for 40 years

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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