Al­bert Boscov - A life well lived

Berks County re­tail leg­end Al­bert Boscov is re­mem­bered

The Boyertown Area Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Donna Rovins drovins@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mer­cBiz on Twit­ter

EX­ETER >> The an­nounce­ment came late Fri­day evening: Al­bert Boscov, Penn­syl­va­nia’s iconic re­tailer — leader of the de­part­ment store chain that bears his fam­ily name — had passed away at 87.

Boscov’s death came a lit­tle more than one week af­ter he sent a let­ter to em­ploy­ees an­nounc­ing that he was bat­tling ter­mi­nal can­cer. He passed away at home, sur­rounded by his wife Eu­nice and his three daugh­ters.

The an­nounce­ment of Boscov’s death was made “with pro­found sad­ness” by his nephew Jim Boscov, CEO and vice chair­man of Boscov’s De­part­ment Store LLC.

“Al­bert Boscov was truly one of the giants in the re­tail in­dus­try,” Jim Boscov said in the state­ment. “He was a man of vi­sion and pas­sion and he had a pro­found in­flu­ence on the re­tail busi­ness com­mu­nity and the com­mu­nity at large.”

On Fri­day, the com­pany’s Face­book page posted a note from Boscov thank­ing the pub­lic for the well­wishes that had been sent since the an­nounce­ment.

“I’ve been amazed at the amount of won­der­ful notes that you’ve sent and I know I don’t de­serve them, but I cer­tainly en­joyed them. You’re a won­der­ful group of peo­ple that have been part of my fam­ily for 87 years and I’m most proud of all of you. Love, Al,” the post read.

As word be­gan to spread about Boscov’s pass­ing Fri­day night, re­ac­tion in the form of state­ments and so­cial me­dia posts quickly fol­lowed.

“While Al­bert was well­known as a re­tailer and a driv­ing force be­hind sev­eral projects in down­town Read­ing, he should be equally re­mem­bered for his work as a hu­man­i­tar­ian. He helped — ac­tu­ally helped, and not just al­lowed — or­ga­ni­za­tions to hold food and cloth­ing drives, bake sales, and other events at his stores,” Kevin K. Mur­phy, Berks County Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion pres­i­dent, said in a state­ment. “He es­tab­lished a ‘Friends Help­ing Friends’ pro­gram for non­prof­its to sell coupons for his stores, with all ticket sales go­ing directly to the non­prof­its. He gave fi­nan­cial sup­port to many causes, in­clud­ing the Penn State Berks Thun Li­brary and Ge­n­e­sius Theatre, and he even per­formed for Ge­n­e­sius as Tevye from “Fid­dler on the Roof.”

“His phil­an­thropic spirit is why he was named in 1993 as re­cip­i­ent of the Thun Award, which hon­ors those ded­i­cated to im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life in Berks County. He was a friend, men­tor and sup­porter for a gen­er­a­tion of com­mu­nity lead­ers.”

Read­ing Gog­gleWorks Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Levi Lan­dis posted on Face­book Fri­day: “Tonight the Gog­gleWorks fam­ily mourns the loss of our co-founder and vi­sion­ary Al­bert Boscov. We ex­tend our warm­est com­forts to his fam­ily, in­clud­ing his ex­tended fam­ily at Boscov’s and the nu­mer­ous non­prof­its, or­ga­ni­za­tions, and com­mu­ni­ties he reached with his le­gendary charm and bril­liance. His life is truly an in­spi­ra­tion and from it the world now has a lit­tle more beauty, art, trust, friend­ship ... and candy. Thank you Mr. Boscov.”

The Read­ing Roy­als hockey team also posted on Face­book Fri­day: “Tonight we say good­bye to a Read­ing leg­end. Mr. Boscov, you gave this city so much pride with the con­tin­ued love you pro­vided. Thanks for be­liev­ing in us and be­ing a driv­ing force in the creation of the great arena we play in! You will be SORELY missed. We will try to pick up the torch and carry it for­ward in your honor. Our hope is to be a part of some­thing you’d be proud of. We love you and we will miss you. — Roy­als Na­tion”

On Satur­day, Jim Boscov told Dig­i­tal First Me­dia that he has been hear­ing from peo­ple in the days since the first an­nounce­ment was made — peo­ple who have shared mem­o­ries about how Boscov had per­son­ally af­fected them over the years.

“We’ve been hear­ing just one thing af­ter an­other. He lived his life do­ing good things for peo­ple — not just good busi­ness. He will be re­mem­bered for be­ing more than just the world’s best mer­chant,” Boscov said, adding that the com­pany will con­tinue to build on the legacy of Al­bert Boscov. “I am very com­forted by the fact that his en­ergy and spirit has got­ten in­fused into his whole fam­ily here. We have a for­mula that works — a suc­cess­ful for­mula — and we will con­tinue his legacy and build on it.”

On Satur­day, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., tweeted: “Sad­dened to hear of Al Boscov’s pass­ing. He was a ter­rific leader and com­mu­nity part­ner. My con­do­lences to the fam­ily.”

State Sen. Judy Sch­wank, D-Berks, tweeted: “Ad­mired, re­spected and loved by cus­tomers and co-work­ers alike. We will miss you greatly #Al­bert Boscov. May you Rest in Peace.”

Al­bert Boscov’s in­domitable spirit — he was work­ing at home un­til Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to Jim Boscov — was fo­cused on the suc­cess of the com­pany, its cus­tomers and co-work­ers; and it was fo­cused on his com­mu­nity. He led the com­pany in growth and re­turned the com­pany to pros­per­ity af­ter a bank­ruptcy in 2008.

Boscov’s is now largest fam­ily-owned de­part­ment store chain in the na­tion, with 45 stores in seven states, em­ploy­ing more than 7,500 co-work­ers. In ad­di­tion to his busi­ness skill, Boscov is known for his phi­lan­thropy and his com­mit­ment to the re-

“He lived his life do­ing good things for peo­ple — not just good busi­ness. He will be re­mem­bered for be­ing more than just the world’s best mer­chant. I am very com­forted by the fact that his en­ergy and spirit has got­ten in­fused into his whole fam­ily here. We have a for­mula that works — a suc­cess­ful for­mula — and we will con­tinue his legacy and build on it.” — Jim Boscov, CEO and vice chair­man, Boscov’s De­part­ment Store LLC

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Al­bert Boscov smiles at the Ex­eter Boscov’s store in 2014 to mark the com­pany’s 100th an­niver­sary.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Al­bert Boscov in front of the Ex­eter store, cor­po­rate head­quar­ters for the re­tail chain. The com­pany was cel­e­brat­ing its 100th an­niver­sary in 2014.

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