A co-worker, who is 30-something and a native of Fall River, was surprised to learn that her hometown was once known for its many factory outlet stores. Indeed it was.

While there are still factory outlet stores in Fall River today, there aren't nearly as many as existed several decades ago when busloads of shoppers would arrive daily in search of bargains, many manufactured in the same mills that housed the outlets. New Bedford and Dartmouth had factory outlet stores, but Fall River was a mecca for outlet shoppers.

My colleague learned about all of this when she stumbled upon an article in the Hartford Courant newspaper out of Connecticut dated May 25, 1992. The Courant's piece, written by staff writer Donna Larcen, focused on the "Heart District," what she described as four main mill buildings that contained 70 of the roughly 100 factory outlet stores that existed in Fall River at the time.

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Larcen told her readers there were plenty of bargains to be had in Fall River's mills.

"We found good buys in men's and women's sportswear, shoes, housewares, underwear, coats, suits, and leather goods," she wrote.

Some of the bargain outlets Larcen most enjoyed 30 years ago included the Levi's store where she found jeans and Dockers clothing, Holland's for Women, G.H. Bass & Co., the Farberware Outlet Store, D.J.'s Women's Factory Shoe Outlet, Burlington Coat Factory, Toy Liquidators, $2 Book Store, Yankee Maternity and Children, Chef's Warehouse, and Louis Hand.

I'd forgotten about all of the factory outlet stores in Fall River until my co-worker reminded me. Many of the manufacturers that fed those outlet stores have since closed or moved away, as have the stores.

Do you remember shopping for bargains at Fall River's factory outlet stores? Which stores did you frequent and which do you miss the most?

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