BOSTON — Curious George & Friends in Harvard Square is closing after 15 years of business.
Hillel Stavis and Donna Friedman launched the children’s book store in 1996 to honor their friends, H. A. and Margret Rey, the couple who created that naughty little monkey.
The shop’s prime corner location, colorful window displays and cute signage made it hard to miss in busy Harvard Square.
But Stavis says its 150-year-old building is falling apart, and massive reconstruction has made it impossible to continue. The store lost half of its selling and storage space because of the work in and around the aging structure.
“Curious George is packing his bags, which is pretty sad,” Stavis said on the phone.
He admitted to being heartbroken and explained that he and Friedman tried their best to save the store.
“We did turn ourselves into a nonprofit in the end to see if we could garner any investment interest, but alas, that didn’t work.”
Stavis also said competition from the Internet and electronic reading devices has made staying open untenable.
“They even recently introduced a children’s picture book, iPad-type reader,” he explained, “so unfortunately that’s the trend and it’s hard to buck that.”
Curious George & Friends will close within the next two or three weeks, according to Stavis. Until then he and Friedman hope to unload what remains of their stock at fire-sale prices.