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Cahaly's Closes Its Doors After 41 Years

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Cahaly's, the landmark clothing, gifts and accessories store that has served the Square for 41 years, will be closing its doors for the last time by the end of the month, its owner announced this week.

Signs in the windows of the store, located across the street from HMV, informed shoppers yesterday that the store would be packing it in soon.

Sandy Cahaly, who has owned and managed the store since it was founded in 1955, said he was simply entering retirement.

"Everything has a beginning and everything has an end," Cahaly said. "This is the beginning of my leisure time and the end of the store."

"But I'm leaving with a smile on my face," Cahaly said.

Cahaly said he has been planning the retirement for several years and decided simply not to renew his lease. He said he never considered selling the store or passing it on to his children to preserve the Cahaly's name.

Instead, the landlords will rent the space "probably [to] another clothing store," Cahaly said.

Cahaly's sells primarily Harvard accessories and gifts ("It's a tourist shop," Cahaly proudly said), but it has undergone several metamorphoses during its 41-year lifetime.

The store began by selling Harris tweed sport coats and cashmir sweaters--all of which "had to be imported from England," Cahaly said.

In the 1960s, the store began catering to the changing tastes of the student body--by hawking denim attire and Levi's clothes.

A decade later, the store began selling the "outdoor, backpacking, I've-just-trekked-down-the-mountain-look," according to Cahaly.

About 10 years ago, Cahaly's underwent its final transformation, and now sells primarily Harvard, Boston and Cambridge shirts.

Friends of Cahaly and patrons of his shop said yesterday that the store will be missed.

"This place is an institution almost as much as Harvard," said Mabel M. Shamieh, a friend of Cahaly who was helping him with his final sale.

At least one patron, Somerville resident John S. Ellis, agreed.

"I do come here whenever I need a gift--birthday, whatever," he said. "I guess I'll have to find someplace new.

About 10 years ago, Cahaly's underwent its final transformation, and now sells primarily Harvard, Boston and Cambridge shirts.

Friends of Cahaly and patrons of his shop said yesterday that the store will be missed.

"This place is an institution almost as much as Harvard," said Mabel M. Shamieh, a friend of Cahaly who was helping him with his final sale.

At least one patron, Somerville resident John S. Ellis, agreed.

"I do come here whenever I need a gift--birthday, whatever," he said. "I guess I'll have to find someplace new.

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