Ceremony also honors iconic predecessor Spag’s
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – State officials discussed the expected economical contributions of the new mixed-use development Lakeway Commons in Shrewsbury during its grand opening ceremony Oct. 21. Yet, they emphasized the importance of memorializing Spag’s, the iconic bargain store that had occupied the location at 193 Boston Turnpike from 1934 to 2004, and its owner Anthony “Spag” Borgatti, nicknamed because of his love for spaghetti.
The grand opening event was presented by Grossman Development Group (GDG), who developed the project, and UniBank, in partnership with the Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce. Lakeway Commons is comprised of retail, apartments and townhomes, and anchored by Whole Foods scheduled to open in the winter. GDG commissioned sculptor David Phillips to create a memorial bronze plaque topped with Spag’s signature cowboy hat, which was unveiled at the ceremony.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito of Shrewsbury spoke about working her first job at Spag’s along with her mother and grandfather, noting that it was common for the store to employ multiple generations. She also expressed gratitude on behalf of the town to Howard Grossman, GDG president and managing principal, for incorporating the Spag’s memorial plaque on the site.
“Thank you for understanding how much the past means to us in Shrewsbury,” she told him. “Generations come back to Shrewsbury because of what it offers.”
State Sen. Michael Moore, D-Millbury, shared that when his father was a limo driver he’d pick up international travelers in Boston. Often, they requested their first stop to be in Shrewsbury.
“Visitors wanted to go to Spag’s,” Moore said.
State Rep. Hannah Kane, R-Shrewsbury, recognized parallels of benefits to the area contributed by Spag’s and Lakeway Commons.
“This part of Route 9 served as the heartbeat of Shrewsbury,” she said of the time period Spag’s was open. “In so many ways, Route 9 has struck gold again.”
Grossman of GDG read the memorial plaque inscription, which states in part: “Spag’s was an iconic discount retailer where customers went to find it all, from fishing lures to eggs, and everything in between…Owner Anthony ‘Spag’ Borgatti and his wife, Olive, will long be remembered for their generosity to employees and customers, as well as for their philanthropic community efforts to make life a little better for those in need. From the generations of young adults who held their first jobs there, to the thousands of customers for whom it was their ‘go to’ place for shopping, the legacy and spirit of Spag’s continues to shine on in the hearts of our community.”
At a reception following the ceremony, Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce President Karen Chapman thanked representatives of the grand opening event co-sponsors: Tim Wickstrom, UniBank board chair; and Grossman of GDG. Proceeds from the reception admission fee will be donated to the Lakeway Commons Scholarship Fund for Shrewsbury students.