Did You Boscov Today?
If you grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, chances are you can’t see those words without beginning to sing the Boscov’s jingle. Sadly, Albert Boscov passed away earlier this month, after leading the company founded by his father for over 50 years. Under his leadership, Boscov’s became the largest family-owned department store chain in America.
Perhaps you do not harbor the same affection for the owners of your hometown department store. Well, let me tell you a little more about Al Boscov and the business he created.
- On marketing: “We like to give people a reason for coming to Boscov’s even if they don’t want to buy anything. They enjoy themselves and hopefully we make a friend.”
- When racial tensions were growing in Reading, he created a Heritage festival, because “knowing is understanding”. Another group he created, Our City Reading, helped over 600 families to own new homes in the city – and he also founded arts centers in both Reading and Wilkes-Barre. Boscov supported domestic violence shelters long before many even acknowledged that such a problem existed.
- Boscov initially retired in 2006, only to see the company declare bankruptcy two years later as new management overleveraged. In 2009, at age 79, he bought back the company in what many have called a retail fairy tale.
- Most important, look at the final words of his obituary: “(On family vacations) each morning began with Al singing a good morning song and each night ended with a parade that wound through the dining room and kitchen. Al always put a song in every heart he met, a song whose melody still reaches us – and always will.”
David Brooks and others have highlighted the difference between “resume virtues” and “eulogy virtues.” How amazing to witness a life that had plenty of both.
Dear Honeybees, I hope you Boscov today!
Photo from Delaware County Daily Times.