Albert Boscov

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Albert Boscov
Born(1929-09-22)September 22, 1929
DiedFebruary 10, 2017(2017-02-10) (aged 87)
EducationDrexel University
OccupationChairman, Boscov's Department Store, LLC.
Spouse(s)Eunice Boscov
ChildrenRuth Aichenbaum
Ellen Boscov
Meg Boscov
Parent(s)Solomon Boscov
Ethel Fogelson Boscov
RelativesJim Boscov, nephew

Albert Boscov (September 22, 1929 – February 10, 2017) was an American businessman and philanthropist. He was the long-time head of Boscov's Department Stores and served as the company's chairman and CEO until retiring in 2015. In 2009, Boscov led a buyout of his eponymous company in an effort to rescue it from bankruptcy. Boscov died on February 10, 2017 from pancreatic cancer.

Early life[edit]

Boscov was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1929,[1][2] the son of Russian Jewish immigrants Solomon and Ethel Boscov.[3] His father had arrived in Reading in 1911[4] where he founded a dry goods store in a row house in 1918.[3]

Boscov graduated from Reading High School and Drexel University. At Drexel, Boscov started his first business, a sandwich delivery service called U-Eat-Em. Boscov was a member of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity at Drexel. He served in the Navy during the Korean War. After military service, he returned to Reading and joined his father's business.[5]

Business career[edit]

After taking over the family business, Boscov expanded the original store at Ninth and Pike Streets in Reading. In 1962, he opened Boscov's West in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, the company's first full-line store. Boscov's North opened in Muhlenberg Township, Pennsylvania in 1965 and Boscov's East opened in Exeter Township, Pennsylvania in 1967. During the 1970s and 1980s, Boscov and his brother-in-law, Edwin Lakin, expanded the chain to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New York and New Jersey. By 2005, Boscov's had 39 stores with $1 billion in sales.[6]

In early 2006, Boscov retired as chairman,[7] transferring control to his nephew, Ken Lakin, who soon after purchased 10 department store locations from Federated Department Stores by borrowing heavily.[8][9]

In August 2008, Boscov's filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, citing deteriorating consumer and credit conditions during the economic crisis of 2008. In October 2008, Albert Boscov and his brother-in-law Edwin Lakin both confirmed that they would be making a bid to purchase back the chain, competing against Versa Capital Management, Inc.. On November 4, 2008, it was confirmed that Boscov's would be selling its assets back to Albert Boscov and Edwin Lakin, canceling the earlier agreement with Versa, and keeping the 98-year-old chain under family control.[10] In March 2015, Boscov retired for the second time and handed control of the company to his nephew, Jim Boscov.[11]

In 2010, Politics Magazine named Boscov one of the most influential Democrats in Pennsylvania.[12]

Boscov donated money to the Penn State Berks campus for its library, and to Genesius Theatre for restoration and further improvement of its main-stage building in Reading. He also performed at Genesius Theatre as Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof at Genesius's "Broadway Musical Revue". Boscov was an Ashkenazi member of the Jewish community of Reading.

Personal life[edit]

In 1959, he married Eunice, with whom he had three children: Ruth Boscov Aichenbaum (married to Michael Aichenbaum); Ellen Boscov Taylor (married to Todd Taylor), and Meg Boscov Brown (married to Randall Brown).[5] He died on February 10, 2017 from pancreatic cancer in Reading.[13]

Legacy[edit]

On June 22, 2000, the section of U.S. Route 422 Business and U.S. Route 422 between Pennsylvania Route 562 and Shelbourne Road in Exeter Township, Pennsylvania was designated by an act of the Pennsylvania General Assembly as the Albert Boscov Commemorative Highway in honor of Boscov.[14]

In 2006, Boscov co-founded Goggleworks Center for the Arts in downtown Reading, PA, renovating the former Wilson Goggle Factory into one of the largest art centers in the country.[15] GoggleWorks was one of several development projects that he spearheaded to catalyze downtown revitalization in Reading. There he established the city’s Entertainment Square, which today features several anchor institutions along with restaurants and businesses, including an IMAX theatre, Miller Performing Arts Center, GoggleWorks Apartment Complex, and Boscov Plaza, along with GoggleWorks Center for the Arts.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Boscov's Exit from Chapter 11 Is Feel-Good Moment". The New York Times. September 18, 2009.
  2. ^ Al Boscov Retiring
  3. ^ a b Lehigh Valley Business News: "BOSCOV ON A READING REVIVAL Retail leader says the city can be renewed, and the blueprint includes housing, education and the arts" September 23, 2013
  4. ^ Mike Urban. Reading Eagle: "Albert R. Boscov's impact stretches beyond Berks, and beyond business", March 3, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Novak, Steve (February 11, 2017). "The fascinating life of retailer Albert Boscov". lehigvalleylive.com.
  6. ^ Rovins, Donna (February 11, 2017). "A LIFE WELL-LIVED: Retail legend Albert Boscov is remembered".
  7. ^ http://archive.dailyitem.com/archive/2006/0201/biz/stories/01biz.htm[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ John Luciew. Patriot News: "Honoring Albert Boscov: The octogenarian CEO on a retailing life, his future at the helm and his love of newspapers" March 07, 2013.
  9. ^ Maria Panaritis. "Boscov's emerges from bankruptcy". Philadelphia Inquirer, September 18, 2009
  10. ^ Sage, Alexandria (November 4, 2008). "UPDATE 1-Boscov's signs deal to sell assets to family group". Reuters.
  11. ^ "Jim Boscov", Philadelphia Inquirer, November 30, 2015.
  12. ^ Roarty, Alex; Sean Coit (January 2010). "Pennsylvania Influencers" (PDF). Politics Magazine. pp. 44–49. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 8, 2010.
  13. ^ "Boscov's chairman Albert Boscov dies at 87 | Money". pressofatlanticcity.com. 1970-01-01. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
  14. ^ "Various Commemorative Highways and Exit - Designations - Act of Jun. 22, 2000, P.L. 402, No. 56" (PDF). Pennsylvania General Assembly. June 22, 2000. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  15. ^ Devlin, Don SpatzandRon (2015-10-11). "The GoggleWorks turns 10". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  16. ^ "Restaurant opens in Reading's Entertainment Square". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2019-08-05.