NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — As we reported over the weekend, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is coming to New Bedford, and we now know the store is expected to open in mid-summer barring any construction delays.

“We are excited to be in New Bedford, for sure,” Tom Kuypers, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advertising for Ollie’s told WBSM Monday morning.

We also told you how, much like the beloved Building #19 of the city’s past, Ollie’s is bringing “Good Stuff Cheap” to the Whaling City.

READ MORE: New Bedford Getting an Ollie's Bargain Outlet

Because the two discount chains have similar approaches in their business models, advertising and branding, a lot of urban myths have developed around Ollie’s and its connection to Building #19.

What Are Some of the Misconceptions About Ollie’s and Building #19?

One look at the comments under our original story on social media, and you can see some of the misconceptions that are out there.

“It’s the parent company of Building #19.”

“The owner is the son of the guy from #Building 19.”

“One brother walked away when Building #19 went bankrupt.”

Of course, there’s always those reliable sources of information, such as “I heard,” “I was told,” and the ol’ “that’s according to a store employee.”

So we asked Kuypers the actual truth of the situation.

Is Ollie’s Owned By the Same People That Owned Building #19?

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet does not have an “owner” per se. Ollie’s is a publicly-traded company listed on the NASDAQ exchange, and has been since 2015.

Is Building #19’s Ellis Family Involved With Ollie’s?

No. The family of Building #19 founder Jerry Ellis did not create or operate Ollie’s.

Barry Richard, Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Barry Richard, Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

So How Did Ollie’s Become So Aligned With Building #19?

It’s a story that starts with a friendship.

“There was a relationship between one of the founders and Jerry,” Kuypers said. “Back in the ‘80s, Mort Bernstein was personal friends with Jerry and had a great admiration for Building #19.”

By the time Ollie’s Bargain Outlet launched in 1982, Building #19 had already been dominating New England with “Good Stuff Cheap” since 1964. It’s no surprise Bernstein would reach out to his very successful friend Jerry for guidance as he launched his new venture alongside partners Mark L. Butler, Harry Coverman and Oliver E. “Ollie” Rosenberg.

“Jerry was instrumental in helping us figure out how to move the business forward,” Kuypers said.

Also, there’s a reason why the branding and marketing between the two stores are so similar; Jerry Ellis helped guide that aspect of Ollie’s as well.

“In fact, we had Building #19 do some of the advertising (for Ollie’s) back in the early days, and we paid them for that,” Kuypers said.

So How Did Ollie’s Take Over the “Good Stuff Cheap” Slogan?

In 2013, Ellis and his Building #19 chain filed for bankruptcy, shuddering its stores across New England, including the New Bedford location.

Even before that, though, Ollie’s had already stepped in.

“As Building #19 had some financial challenges, we purchased the brand and intellectual property, so we own the brand and slogans,” Kuyper said.

That’s why Ollie’s was able to rename some of its New England locations that took over former Building #19 stores as “Ollies @ Building#19.”

Google Maps
Google Maps

So there you have it; the true connection between Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Building #19 started off in a spiritual sense, with one friend helping another, and later evolved into one company keeping that spirit of the other alive.

Good stuff, indeed.

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