By Chris Daly
This is not another nostalgic piece about the demise of Filene’s Basement, prompted by today’s stories about the closing of the “legendary” discount retailer. (Fact is: I never really liked the place that much; in order to take full advantage of Filene’s Basement, you had to go there a lot, and I hate shopping, so it was not for me.) For people who care about the news business, the thorn on this withered rose is that there goes another source of display advertising for Boston-area newspapers.
When I was a kid delivering those newspapers in the 1960s, Filene’s department store (and not just the basement) did battle with Jordan Marsh from their proud flagship stores facing each other across Summer Street, and they competed with a slew of other department stores as well, including Gilchrist’s and some others I have forgotten. Back then, when those stores had “white sales” or wanted to tout their new fall fashions, or get ride of some extra mattresses, they took full-page ads in the big dailies.
Now, the area known as Downtown Crossing is literally a hole in the ground, from which no advertising dollars escape.
This is part of the reason that the Globe and the Herald are shells of their former selves. One of their most important revenue streams simply dried up — and shows no signs of ever gushing again.
Footnote: a whimper-out to Globe staff photographer Suzanne Kreiter for having her photo chosen to illustrate today’s story. The last-century photo dates from the heyday: 1988.