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Rising Rents Make Store24 Latest Square Casualty

By Christina S. N. lewis, Crimson Staff Writer

Yard residents will have to find a new place to satisfy their midnight munchies when Store24 closes its doors for the last time on May 15.

According to Robert Gordon, the president of store24 companies since its founding over thirty years ago, the popular Square establishment is leaving due to rising rents.

"The landlord just raised the rent so high that we couldn't afford to stay. We tried very hard to stay," Gordon said. "We wish we could stay. It was not one of the most profitable [stores] because the rent was so high."

According to Store24 Director of Real Estate and Governmental Affairs Ken Auclair, the Mass. Ave. store will be replaced by Omnipoint, a cellular phone company.

Store24 is one of many long-time Square establishments that have closed this year. Popular bar Grafton Street and independent video rental shop Videopros both closed their doors due to rising rents.

Rent per square foot has doubled in the past five years, from $109.00 per square foot to $193.00, Auclair said.

Students said they were surprised to hear about Store 24's impending departure.

"Oh no!" said Rafael S. Mason `01. "I have such memories. If all else fails you, there's always Store24. It plays an important part in my memories of freshman year."

Most were particularly dismayed by its replacement with a cellular phone store-two such stores already exist in the Square.

"I go to Store24 all the time. We don't need another cell phone store." said Lisa A. Friedman, who works in the Science Center for Harvard's Media Technology Department.

Lionel L. Lynch `02 said that Store24's proximity to the Science Center makes it especially popular during reading period.

"When we're studying in the Science Center during reading period we'd get food [at Store 24] and sneak it into the library," Lynch said. "That's going to be harder now. 7-Eleven is a lot farther."

While many students said they will miss Store24's closing, some said they prefer to shop at closer to home. University Market on Mass. Ave. and 7-Eleven and Louie's are all popular stops for non-Yardlings.

"We're closer to 7-Eleven so we give them most of our business," said Rachel L. Rutishauser `03, a Lowell House resident.

Other people expressed some dissatisfaction with the 20-year-old square establishment.

Anita K. Wong `00-'01 said sometimes prefers the feel of a larger chain.

"[Store 24] is kind of a scary place. Weird characters. It doesn't have that convenience store chain feel that you get at 7/11," she said.

A would-be customer left the store angrily yesterday afternoon. Only one of the store's two employees was working at the cash register and the line was lengthening due to the afternoon crush.

"Everyone is taking their sweet time," he said to his friend. "Let's go to CVS. It's around the corner right?"

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