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Boscov's Inc.
Founded1914 (106 years ago) (1914) in Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
FounderSolomon Boscov
4630 Perkiomen Avenue Exeter Township, Pennsylvania
Number of locations
50 (2019)
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$ 1.2 billion (2017)
Number of employees
5,800 (2017)

Boscov's Inc. is a family-owned department store with 50 locations in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Most stores are located in Pennsylvania.[1] The company chairman is Jim Boscov, who took over after his uncle Albert Boscov retired. Corporate headquarters are in Exeter Township, Pennsylvania near the city of Reading.[2]


Solomon "Sol" Boscov was of Jewish descent. He immigrated from Russia to Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1911.[3] He had $1.37 in cash 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.[] 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.[] 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 outlet stores.[12] These stores would later be re-branded as Boscov's sometime in the mid-1990s. In August 2002, Boscov's opened at 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.[13]

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 did not perform as expected. In August 2008, just prior to the 2008 economic downturn Boscov's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[14] Albert Boscov came out of retirement and regained control of the company. As part of the bankruptcy, 10 stores were closed. The company emerged from bankruptcy in September 2009.[15]

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

Albert Boscov died from pancreatic cancer on February 10, 2017, at the age of 87.[16] The chain is now headed by his nephew, Jim Boscov.[2]

Boscov's continuing success makes it regarded as an "outlier" in a retail market where many department store chains are failing and closing stores. 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 has announced plans to move into Rhode Island's Providence Place mall in 2019, following the departure of Nordstrom, which terminated the lease on the space.[17]

Jazz festival

Boscov's sponsors the annual "Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest" which draws 35,000 to 40,000 people to the area.[18][19]

Thanksgiving Day Parade

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.



  1. ^ "About Boscov's Department Stores". Boscov's. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Allabaugh, Denise (March 25, 2018). "Boscov's doing retail right". The Scranton Times-Tribune. Retrieved 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 2018.
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. "PHMC Historical Markers Search" (Searchable database). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Boscov's history, highlights". Reading Eagle. September 18, 2009. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ a b Berksiana. Charles Schuyler Castner. 1976. Page 323
  9. ^ "About Boscov's Department Stores". Retrieved 2011.
  10. ^ Allabugh, Denise (December 3, 2017). "Grandchildren of retail legend Boscov publish book in his memory". Standard~Speaker. Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 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 2018.
  12. ^ Milford, Maureen (July 12, 1987). "Boscov's Evades Trends". The Morning News from Wilmington, Delaware. Retrieved 2018.
  13. ^ Negley, Erin (March 27, 2009). "Plans submitted for former Boscov's West site in Sinking Spring". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ Burns, Patrick (August 5, 2008). "Retailer Boscov's goes bankrupt". LNP Media Group. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ Panaritis, Maria (September 18, 2009). "Boscov's emerges from bankruptcy". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ "Boscov's chairman Albert Boscov dies at 87". The Baltimore Sun. Associated Press. February 11, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ List, Madeleine (October 9, 2018). "Nordstrom to close store at Providence Place; Boscov's set to enter space". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 2018.
  18. ^ 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 2018.
  19. ^ Vasil, Jim (April 4, 2018). "2018 Berks Jazz Fest taking shape ahead of opening night". WFMZ-TV.

External links

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