Spag's Memorial - Atlas Obscura

Spag's Memorial

This memorial is dedicated to a once popular but now defunct discount Shrewsbury department store. 


In this shopping plaza near the edge of Lake Quinsigamond is a small memorial. Historical memorials dedicated to certain events or notable people are common throughout the area, but this memorial is unique as it’s dedicated to a location. In particular, a popular discount department store that was in business for around 70 years.

Spag’s was founded by Anthony “Spag” Borgatti in 1934 as an automotive shop called Shrewsbury Battery and Tire Service, and later as a tool store named Spag’s Hardware Supply. The name originates from his childhood nickname which was coined due to Borgatti’s fondness for spaghetti.

Over time, the store became a popular place for shoppers to purchase a wide range of goods for relatively low prices. One of the ways Spag’s kept prices low was by not accepting credit cards until 1992 and Borgatti purchasing inventory in bulk with immediate cash payment. Shopping carts were also not introduced until 1998 and shoppers were encouraged to bring their own bags decades before other retailers. Shopping bags were first offered in 1996 and the store motto for many years was “No bags at Spag’s.”

Borgatti passed in 1996 and the store was inherited by his daughters who sold it to Building 19 in 2002. Business continued to decline however and Spag’s closed in early October 2004. Much of the area was redeveloped into other shops and businesses in 2017 a memorial was unveiled dedicated to Spag’s in recognition for its contribution to the community and local history.

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