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Crimson Shop to Shut Down

Men's Clothing Store Hard Hit by Recession, Rising Rents

By Jerome J. Chou, Contributing Reporter

The Crimson Shop, a fixture in Harvard Square since 1945, will close its doors permanently on December 31, when its lease with Harvard Real Estate (HRE) expires.

The shop, which sells men's clothing, is one of a number of stores to leave the Square recently because of the economic recession and rising rents.

"The rent is so high. We couldn't afford the rent and the space we had," co-owner Charles H. Hasekian said in an interview yesterday.

Hasekian said he and co-owner Peter Zirakian decided to close after a meeting with HRE representatives in which they discussed the planned changes to Holyoke Center.

The renovations, which will begin next fall, are intended to improve security and access, and consolidate the center's various stores, according to HRE Vice President Melanie Ray.

Ray said that The Crimson Shop's owners were unsure of their place in the new Holyoke Center. "I think [the renovations] didn't fit with their business plans and personal plans," she said.

But manager Frederick J. Gemino said that HRE had not finalized its plans at the time of the negotiations.

"We negotiated with Harvard Real Estate but they couldn't give us a definite answer at the time," Gemino said. "It was pretty obvious that there weregoing to be major renovations."

Since its opening, The Crimson Shop, located at12-18 Dunster Street, has served celebrities suchas Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. aswell as countless Harvard students and alumni,according to Hasekian.

Gemino said that many of The Crimson Shop'sloyal patrons have written letters to bemoan thestore's closing. "It's been somewhat rewarding tofind out how sad people are to hear we'reclosing," he said.

Gemino said the loss of long-time tenants iscausing "the diminishing uniqueness of HarvardSquare."

"It's still great to walk around the Square andshop but it doesn't seem to have the smallcharacter shops of the past," Gemino said. "Thereare a lot of suburban shopping mall stores movingin."

Hasekian agreed, "The atmosphere isdisappearing.

Since its opening, The Crimson Shop, located at12-18 Dunster Street, has served celebrities suchas Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. aswell as countless Harvard students and alumni,according to Hasekian.

Gemino said that many of The Crimson Shop'sloyal patrons have written letters to bemoan thestore's closing. "It's been somewhat rewarding tofind out how sad people are to hear we'reclosing," he said.

Gemino said the loss of long-time tenants iscausing "the diminishing uniqueness of HarvardSquare."

"It's still great to walk around the Square andshop but it doesn't seem to have the smallcharacter shops of the past," Gemino said. "Thereare a lot of suburban shopping mall stores movingin."

Hasekian agreed, "The atmosphere isdisappearing.

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