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Country's Oldest School Supply Firm Closing Doors

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BRAINTREE, MA — The country's oldest school-supply firm is closing its 52 retail stores nationwide, including four stores in North Carolina.

J.L. Hammett plans to continue selling merchandise on its Web site.

The president of the 141-year-old company, based in Braintree, Massachusetts, says the decision to close all of the stores was a difficult one. But Richmond Holden tells the Patriot Ledger of Quincy that the firm has been hurt by shrinking school budgets, and the stores had become too expensive to operate.

The chain had stores in 17 states. In North Carolina, it had two in Charlotte, one in Mooresville and one in Durham, operating under the name Hammett's Learning World.

The company was founded by John Hammett, who invented the blackboard eraser. He sold the firm to the Holden family in 1890.

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