NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The wait is finally over. Boscov’s is open at the Eastwood Mall. Opening a department store during a pandemic is such a big deal that this celebration will last three days.
The doors opened at 10 a.m. and foot traffic has been nonstop.
“This is everything we’ve hoped for and then some. People have been lining up since 6:45 this morning to get in. By the time the doors opened at 10 o’clock, there were 600 to 800 people at the doors and they keep coming in,” said Joe Bell, Eastwood Mall spokesperson. “People were asking the question: Do people really want to go around and shop in a physical location anymore? Take a look around. Yes, the answer is an emphatic yes.”
Boscov’s is believed to be the only major U.S. retailer to open a new store during the pandemic. Bell said that Boscov’s is successful in opening during current conditions because they are bringing something that has been missing from the retail scene.
“They are a traditional department store. They provide something that has long vanished from the retail scene. We are talking about departments that are well stocked. They have over 200 associates here who are knowledgeable about the products. They know what to do and they are there to help you,” Bell said.
Bell said it was busy right as the doors opened at 10 a.m. Shoppers not only got some great deals, but they gave back to some of their favorite participating non-profits for Charity Day.
CEO Jim Boscov said the plans fell into place for the Niles store. He said the spot was available, which was the former Sears store, and he has done business with the Cafaro Company before, calling them “a very good family to deal with.” He also called Youngstown and Warren their kind of towns — places that would appreciate what they do.
Bell said it was busy right as the doors opened at 10 a.m. Shoppers not only got some great deals, but they gave back to some of their favorite participating non-profits for Charity Day. Shoppers were able to make a $5 donation to their favorite participating non-profit and unlock special deals.
“I was blown away by the fact that we had over 200 non-profits there, which said to me, you’ve got a community that really takes care of itself, and now what I’m seeing is you’ve got a community that backs that up. So I am very, very impressed and very happy,” Boscov said.
Boscov said he was impressed with the amount of non-profits he saw a few months back at a luncheon for planning. But seeing so many people make donations to help out their community made him happy.
Live music, prizes and free gifts are also part of the grand opening event, but Thursday isn’t the only day with fun activities.
“There are events going on all over the store. Great deals all over the store,” Boscov said.
Friday is Family Day when family-fun activities are planned. The first 5,000 customers will receive a “passport to savings” for a local eatery.
A ribbon cutting, parade and fireworks are planned for Saturday.
As far as supply chain shortages goes, Boscov says shoppers should be able to find what they need at Boscov’s.
“I think, as you can see, we’re just chock full of inventory. You’re going to see that everyday from Boscov’s. You know, we’re just the right size that our buyers work very, very closely with all of our vendors they’re on the phone with all the time,” Boscov said.
The store will be open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. for Friday and Saturday. Shoppers can expect full shelves and many grand opening specials.