SHREWSBURY – For more than fifty years, “Spag’s” was a well-known business throughout the New England area. The business was started in 1936 by Anthony “Spag” Borgatti (his nickname due to his fondness for spaghetti!) using $25 that he borrowed from his mother.
Initially, he operated out of part of a large building, owned by his family, that was housing a trucking company. At the time, “Spag” was only 18 years old. The business started out selling car batteries, tires, oil and some other items, mostly due to the business being located on the then fairly new Route 9 and the volume of traffic passing by. It eventually grew larger and larger until it became a huge retail complex.
The photo shows “Spag” as a young man, standing outside the original storefront, with displays of several types of merchandise he was selling at the time. These included fishing gear, sporting equipment, tools and hardware. Later on, the business would sell almost anything imaginable― everything from shoes and clothing to toys, hardware, household goods, gardening equipment and plants. Other trademarks associated with Spag’s included free tomato plants given away in the spring and oranges (Spag reportedly owned an orange grove in Florida where the oranges were grown).
After the death of Spag and his wife Olive, their daughters took over the business for a number of years until it finally closed in 2003. The building was used as a Building 19 store for a few more years, until it was finally sold and torn down. Today the Lakeway Commons shopping center is located on the site.