Boscov's

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Boscov's Department Store, LLC.
Boscov's
Company type
IndustryRetail
Founded1914 (110 years ago) (1914) in Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
FounderSolomon Boscov
Headquarters
4630 Perkiomen Avenue Exeter Township, Pennsylvania
,
Number of locations
50 (2023)
Area served
Northeastern United States
Key people
Jim Boscov, Chairman & CEO
Albert Boscov (former Chairman & CEO)
ProductsClothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, candy, household goods, toys/games, decor, small appliances
RevenueUS$ 1.5 billion (2021)
OwnerBoscov family
Number of employees
8,300 (2021)
Websitewww.boscovs.com

Boscov's Inc. is a family-owned department store with fifty locations in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Connecticut, West Virginia and Rhode Island. Twenty-six of these stores are located in Pennsylvania.[1]

Corporate headquarters are located in Exeter Township, Pennsylvania, near Reading. The company chairman is Jim Boscov, who took over after his uncle Albert Boscov retired.[2]

History[edit]

Solomon "Sol" Boscov was of Jewish descent. He emigrated from Russia to Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1911.[3] He had $1.37 in cash (equal to $43.03 today) on arrival in the United States.[3] He worked as a traveling salesman with an initial $8 worth of merchandise. Because he spoke Yiddish, he was able to converse with people in Berks County who spoke Pennsylvania Dutch.[3] Boscov's fortunes changed in 1914 when he opened the first Boscov's store at 9th and Pike streets in Reading.[4][5] A Pennsylvania Historical Marker commemorating Solomon Boscov stands at the site of the original store.[6]

Boscov's began expanding in the Reading suburbs during the 1960s, with the Boscov's West store in Sinking Spring opening in November 1962 and the Boscov's North store at the Reading Fairgrounds in Muhlenberg Township opening in August 1965.[citation needed] The Boscov's East store along 9th Street in Reading was destroyed by fire in February 1967 and was replaced by a new Boscov's East store in Exeter Township in November 1967.[citation needed] The Boscov's West store was destroyed by fire in November 1967 and reopened in November 1968.[7]

By 1968, Boscov's had five stores, 2,200 workers, and annual sales exceeding $50 million.[8] Solomon Boscov retired and was succeeded by his son Albert "Albie" Boscov as head of the company in 1960.[8][9] The first Boscov's location outside of Berks County opened at the Lebanon Valley Mall in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in August 1972.[7] Boscov's bought Fowler, Dick and Walker, the Boston Store in 1980. One of Wilkes-Barre's last remaining downtown department stores, it was also Boscov's first multi-story store.[10][11]

Boscov's opened its first location outside of Pennsylvania at the Dover Mall in Dover, Delaware, in August 1982.[7] Boscov's first entered the Philadelphia market in the late 1980s by opening Ports of the World stores.[12] These stores would later be re-branded as Boscov's sometime in the mid-1990s.

In 1983, Boscov's leased the Fowler's department store building and opened the next year in downtown Binghamton, New York.[13]

In August 2002, Boscov's opened a store at the Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing, replacing a Strawbridge's store.[7] As a result, the Boscov's West store in Sinking Spring closed.[14]

In 2006, Albert Boscov, the son of Solomon Boscov, retired and his nephew Kenneth Lakin became chairman and chief executive. Lakin led an aggressive expansion of the chain, opening 10 new stores by 2008. Boscov's acquired these locations from Federated Department Stores following the merger with The May Department Stores Company.[7] The new stores opened just prior to the 2008 economic downturn and in August 2008, Boscov's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[15] Albert Boscov came out of retirement and regained control of the company. As part of the bankruptcy, 10 stores were shuttered, two of which were reopened.[16] The company emerged from bankruptcy in September 2009.[17]

Number of Boscov's locations by state
State No.
of locations
Connecticut 2
Delaware 3
Maryland 4
New Jersey 8
New York 4
Ohio 2
Pennsylvania 26
Rhode Island 1
West Virginia 1

Albert Boscov died from pancreatic cancer on February 10, 2017, at the age of eighty-seven.[18] The chain is now headed by his nephew, Jim Boscov.[2]

Boscov's continuing success makes it regarded as somewhat of an "outlier" because many department store retailers had begun pulling back to a degree on brick-and-mortar formats. Boscov's saw record sales of $1.2 billion in 2017. Since 2009, the chain continues to expand and opened its 47th store in Milford, Connecticut, in October 2018. Boscov's plans to continue to open one store per year and has invested in older stores by renovating them.[2] Boscov's announced plans to move into the Providence Place mall in Providence, Rhode Island, in 2019.[19] The store opened on September 26, 2019.

In 2020, Boscov's announced plans to open at Eastwood Mall in Niles, Ohio.[20] The store opened on October 7, 2021, a year late due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2023, Boscov's announced that a store will open at the Meadowbrook Mall in Bridgeport, West Virginia, in the later part of the year; this will be Boscov's 50th store and first location in the state.[21] The 50th store located in West Virginia opened on October 7, 2023.[22]

Civic affairs and charitable giving[edit]

During the 1970s, Boscov's launched its "Friends Helping Friends" program, an annual fundraising event which has raised roughly a million dollars each year for non-profit organizations.[23][24]

Jazz festival[edit]

Boscov's sponsors the annual "Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest" which draws 35,000 to 40,000 people to the Reading area.[25][26]

Thanksgiving Day Parade[edit]

When Gimbels went out of business in 1986, WPVI-TV and Boscov's took over the sponsorship of the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. Boscov's remained a co-sponsor until 2007.

In popular culture[edit]

The Boscov's in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, was used to represent the fictional department store Illustra in the 1987 film Mannequin.

Boscov's is mentioned in the Season 3 episode Kimmy Steps on a Crack! of the Netflix comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.[27]

It is also mentioned in NBC's The Office, Season 5, Episode 25, “Casual Friday”.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Boscov's Department Stores". Boscov's. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Allabaugh, Denise (March 25, 2018). "Boscov's doing retail right". The Scranton Times-Tribune. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Charles Schuyler Castner. Berksiana. 1976, p.321.
  4. ^ Berksiana. Charles Schuyler Castner. 1976. Page 319
  5. ^ Kellar, Travis (December 2014). "Boscov's transformed from general merchandise store to department cha". Times Leader. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. "PHMC Historical Markers Search" (Searchable database). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Boscov's history, highlights". Reading Eagle. September 18, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b Berksiana. Charles Schuyler Castner. 1976. Page 323
  9. ^ "About Boscov's Department Stores". Boscovs.com. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  10. ^ Allabugh, Denise (December 3, 2017). "Grandchildren of retail legend Boscov publish book in his memory". Standard~Speaker. Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Retrieved January 15, 2018. he purchased Fowler, Dick and Walker, the Boston Store ... in 1980
  11. ^ "Our History". The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  12. ^ Milford, Maureen (July 12, 1987). "Boscov's Evades Trends". The Morning News from Wilmington, Delaware. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  13. ^ "20 Oct 1983, 5 - Press and Sun-Bulletin at Newspapers.com".
  14. ^ Negley, Erin (March 27, 2009). "Plans submitted for former Boscov's West site in Sinking Spring". Reading Eagle. Retrieved October 15, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Burns, Patrick (August 5, 2008). "Retailer Boscov's goes bankrupt". LNP Media Group. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  16. ^ "Boscov's will reopen at White Marsh Mall". May 17, 2012.
  17. ^ Panaritis, Maria (September 18, 2009). "Boscov's emerges from bankruptcy". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  18. ^ "Boscov's chairman Albert Boscov dies at 87". The Baltimore Sun. Associated Press. February 11, 2017. Archived from the original on January 28, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  19. ^ List, Madeleine (October 9, 2018). "Nordstrom to close store at Providence Place; Boscov's set to enter space". The Providence Journal. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  20. ^ "Boscov's Inc. department store coming to Eastwood Mall". WKBN.com. January 6, 2020. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  21. ^ Staff (February 15, 2023). "Boscov's announces new store coming to Bridgeport, West Virginia's Meadowbrook Mall". WVNews. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  22. ^ "Boscov’s officially opens in Bridgeport", Metro News, October 7, 2023
  23. ^ Mallett, Karin. "Boscov’s holds annual ‘Friends Helping Friends’ fundraiser." Allentown, Pennsylvania: WFMZ-TV, October 19, 2022.
  24. ^ "Boscov’s sets goal of $1M for charity with Friends Helping Friends event Wednesday." Martins Ferry, Ohio: The Times Leader, October 18, 2022.
  25. ^ Long, Jeremy (April 22, 2018). "The 28th Annual Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest drew 35,000 to 40,000 people to the area". Reading Eagle. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  26. ^ Vasil, Jim (April 4, 2018). "2018 Berks Jazz Fest taking shape ahead of opening night". WFMZ-TV.
  27. ^ "'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt': Follow Our Recaps as You Binge Season 3". Entertainment Weekly.

External links[edit]