NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Work is already underway in bringing the newest retail name to the Mahoning Valley.
Boscov’s Inc. department store will take over the place held by Sears at the Eastwood Mall and some of the adjacent stores.
The mall is spending millions of dollars to help transform the 180,000 square foot space, which will become the largest store to ever open at the mall.
Boscov’s is an old-fashioned department store, something similar to Strouss, one that used to be in downtown Youngstown.
“What’s missing is service and I ask you not to tell any of our competitors, but having knowledgeable people who are empowered to help makes a big difference,” said Jim Boscov, president of Boscov’s Inc.
Boscov’s has been around since 1914.
It sells sweaters, shoes and suitcases. Plus, you can find candy and toys and get your gifts wrapped for free.
“A lot of those things were taken away over the years in many of the department stores because you had accountants telling you that they just weren’t profitable enough,” said Anthony Cafaro, Jr., co-president of the Cafaro Company.
Boscov’s is America’s largest family-owned department store.
It filed for bankruptcy around the same time as Bombay, Linens ‘n Things and Sharper Image during the height of the 2008 financial crisis. It took loans from family and friends, plus the state guaranteed some loans.
“Those communities pitched in because they didn’t want to see Boscov’s close,” Boscov said.
Boscov’s has bounced back, even with paying those communities back, and is now just as big with its 49th store. The Eastwood Mall location will be its second one in Ohio.
“Every year since then, we’ve grown in volume, we’ve been profitable and I have to tell you that we borrow almost no money. We have almost no debt, which is very healthy,” Boscov said.
Boscov’s needs a big space because its approach to retail is a one-stop, full-service department store, something you don’t see much of anymore.
“We still believe in the traditional department store, where in one shopping trip, you can find everything you want. The Mahoning Valley is going to see some very aggressive retailing that combines fun, fashion, community, partnership, entertainment and service with jaw-dropping pricing throughout the store,” Boscov said.
Boscov’s anticipates opening in October and adding about 300 jobs, just in time for the holidays.