Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Family Store

Fowler, Dick & Walker, “The Boston Store,” as it was known for many years here in Wilkes-Barre. Later, a retailer named Al Boscov bought it and, although he retained “The Boston Store” on the side of the building, it quickly became known simply as “Boscov’s” and we learned it was part of a family-owned chain of, oh, a few stores based down the line in Reading PA.

Things have been hard on retailers and Boscov’s chain just had to seek protection while it arranged its finances and such, planning to come out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in six months. Most of us were unaware that it had grown to be the largest family-owned chain of retail stores in the country, with 19 outlets, ten of which will be closed.

Not ours, luckily. It’s been the anchor of downtown through times good and back, thick and thin, bull market and bear. In the not-so-distant past, it was rumored, the store was either at zero profit or actually losing money, but Al Boscov realized its value to the city’s well-being and hung in there hoping for the best. He’s always been very involved in what have been the city’s best interests and someone should put up a statue of him.

Most retail department stores are owned by companies which buy and sell them as you might buy and sell properties in a Monopoly game. Who owns Macy’s now? Not R. H. Macy, of happy memory, or his family; I think the big Dayton Hudson group is now Target. S. S. Kresge is K-Mart. Federated Department Stores owns a bunch of Big Names, but Al Boscov owns Boscov’s, all of them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post Tom. Al Boscov was always a top shelf guy.

Even though I only visit WB I always make it a point to shop at Al's when I need something.

August 07, 2008 3:06 PM  

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