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Cheap Buys Can Make Room Seem Like Home

By Douglas E. Heimburger
and Dan McGuire
Staff Reporters

As the long Labor Day weekend approaches, many students will fan out across the Boston area to purchase desks, lamps, and rugs to give their new rooms a more comfortable and less institutional feel. The area around MIThas a number of stores to help fulfill students' needs. Here are some good starting places for students interested in buying furniture in the Boston area.

In addition, the Residence andOrientation Week Committee will be sponsoring a "Shop for Your Room Tour" which will depart from the Student Center steps at 2:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Lechmere

Long a Cambridge institution, this electronics store known for its low prices and high selection is closing its doors this fall as part of a bankruptcy reorganization of its parent company, Montgomery Ward.

Lechmere is currently offering 15 percent off all its items as part of its liquidation sale. According to a store worker, the store is only selling its current stock, which means that some items may already be sold out.

Lechmere offers halogen lamps for $21.99 as well as other electronics, computer, and office equipment. Lechmere also has a small selection of furniture and bedding.

The Lechmere nearest to campus is located at the CambridgeSide Galleria.

Lechmere, CambridgeSide Galleria Cambridge (491-2000). A free shuttle departs from Kendall Square several times an hour, call 621-8666 for a schedule. Open 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Circuit City

Circuit City Express, located in the CambridgeSide Galleria, offers a variety of electronic items. Cordless phones, telephones, answering machines, and fax machines are extremely popular with students this time of year, said Al Russo, the store's assistant manager. Circuit City has received additional quantities of many electronics to cope with high demand.

The store offers a 10 percent discount to students who present the Student Advantage card. Circuit City Express is also adding computers, which are normally only available at full-service Circuit City stores, to its inventory.

Circuit City Express, CambridgeSide Galleria, Cambridge (252-0022). A free shuttle departs from Kendall Square several times an hour, call 621-8666 for a schedule. Open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Economy Hardware

Economy Hardware, with three locations in Cambridge, Brookline, and Boston, offers a 10 percent discount with the Student Advantage card. According to a worker at the Cambridge store, the store "has been stocking up on desks, shelves" and other items in preparation for the arrival of students. It will be open extra hours this weekend to accommodate customers.

Economy offers halogen lamps for $29.99 as well as a standard selection of paint and other hardware items. For students in dormitories, the Central Square location, located just past Random Hall, is the closest hardware store to the Institute.

A second store is located near Symphony Hall in Boston.

Economy Hardware, 438 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge and 219 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (536-4280). Open 7:30 a.m. to 9p.m. through Sunday. Standard hours are from 7:30a.m. to 8p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Home Depot

Home Depot has several locations in the Boston area, with the one in Somerville probably being the closest. Home Depot is well known for carrying the building blocks of lofts and furniture. Stores carry lumber, hardware such as screws, nails, and mounting brackets, tools, and accessories such as handles, hinges, locks, and paint.

The store also carries electrical equipment, wires, outlets, lamps, and telephones. "We carry a pretty wide range of telephone equipment," said one worker. Home Depot does not carry a full range of furniture but it does carry bookcases, closet organizers, and similar items.

Home Depot is not planning extra hours or additional orders of items. "We are constantly stocking and restocking. Stuff just flies out of here," the worker said.

Home Depot, 75 Mystic Avenue, Somerville (623-0001). Open 6 a.m. to midnight weekdays and Saturday, and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6.pm.

Staples

Staples is well known for its wide selection of office supplies, however the store also carries office furniture such as chairs, desks, lamps, and shelves. It also carries hard-to-find items, such as locking filing cabinets, which might not be available elsewhere.

Staples also carries computers and office electronics such as fax machines.

Staples, the Office Superstore, 1249 Boylston Street, Boston (353-1314). Located near the Kenmore T stop. Open 7 a.m. to midnight weekdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

The Coop

The Coop is best known as the place where most MIT students get their text books and MIT clothing. However the Coop also offers a limited selection of electronics, organizers, and furniture. The Coop has two locations very close to the MIT campus in Kendall Square and the Student Center.

The Kendall Coop sells housewares such as air cleaners and water purifiers. It also sells lamps and shelves.

The Student Center Coop is smaller and does not have a full housewares section. It does sell office supplies and books.

MIT Coop at Kendall, 3 Cambridge Center, Cambridge (499-3200). Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. MIT Coop at Stratton Student Center, 84 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge (499-3240). Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Friday. Standard hours are from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Somerville Lumber

Somerville Lumber is currently going out of business and is liquidating its supplies. "We've been in liquidation for two weeks," said the store's manager. Discounts recently increased from 10 to 20 percent to about 30 to 40 percent.

"It's [at the point] where merchandise is going to start to move fast," the manager said.

Somerville Lumber sells cinder blocks, hollow core doors for desktops, and general hardware. The company also offers kits for desks and computer desks which students can assemble themselves. The company also sells lamps.

Somerville Lumber, 779 McGrath Highway, Somerville (623-2800). Open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

David D. Hsu contributed to the reporting of this story