The office of Al Boscov no longer serves as home base of the store’s founder. It now serves as a conference room in the Exeter Township headquarters.
But the shadow of this iconoclast, who earned the loyalty of governors and bargain-hunters alike, still looms large.
“One of the things I learned was not to try to compete with Albert,” said his nephew Jim, who now leads this billion-dollar department store chain. “When he was on, I was the straight man, and when I was alone I was freer to goof around.” At 69, Jim bears more than a passing resemblance to his late uncle, whose 2017 memorial service was attended by the likes of Ed Rendell and Tom Corbett, writes Wallace McKelvey for pennlive.com.
Boscov’s wasn’t always thriving and financially strong. There were bankruptcy filings, much-needed tax breaks and government-backed subsidies for the store, which has a location in the Plymouth Meeting Mall.
Since 2009, Jim has worked to return Boscov’s to a stable footing and expand its online retail business. For a number of years, he worked alongside his uncle. They shared adjacent offices, although the culture of Boscov’s is such that they didn’t spend much time behind their desks.
“When I came back, I said, ‘I’m concerned about you. You shouldn’t have to work this hard. Let me help you’,” Jim said. “It didn’t matter. He still worked every bit as hard as he was ever going to work. He didn’t make a big fuss about taking care of himself or getting enough sleep.”
The initial plan was for Jim to come back for a year but he ended up staying. After that first conversation, the pair never talked about it again.
“It just worked,” Jim said. “He and I worked well together.”
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