NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – A monumental event in retail will take place Thursday morning at the Eastwood Mall in Niles.
Boscov’s will be opening its new store at 10 a.m. It’s believed to be the only opening of a new department store in the United States this year.
On Wednesday, we toured the store with owner and CEO Jim Boscov, a man who really believes in the “Boscov way.” For example, the shoe department.
Boscov: “There are a lot of companies that have switched to self-service.”
Reporter Stan Boney: “Yeah. In shoes, yes.”
Boscov: “I think that that’s a mistake… We have not given up on that. We provide good service in our shoe department.”
Boscov now oversees the largest family-owned department store chain in the country. Eastwood is the 49th store. It was started 107 years ago by his grandfather in Reading, Pennsylvania.
“We’ve got a lot of inventory, we’ve got a lot of great pricing, but we really try to be very fair people and members of the community. As you get bigger and bigger, it gets harder to have that small store, neighborhood store feeling. But that’s what I do, that’s what I’m here to do,” Boscov said.
Boscov showed off the year-round toy department.
“A lot of STEM toys. STEM toys are important right now,” he said.
He also showed off the candy department, where they make their own fudge on site.
Boscov touted the store’s broad assortment of items, and to back up his claim, he pointed to the inventory of coffee makers.
“We have 24 different coffee makers. Other stores will have 10 and they’ll range in price from $19.99 to $199.99 and that’s indicative of what we do, every department,” Boscov said.
All throughout the store on Wednesday, people were huddled in small groups — some making their offices on the floor, making their final preparations for Thursday’s opening.
“You’re going to see that we’ve hired about 200 of the nicest people. All local people who look you in the eye, have a good smile on their face when they’re not wearing a mask,” Boscov said.
Boscov had a few reasons why they chose to open another location at the Eastwood Mall. One was that the spot was available — it now occupies the former Sears space. Also, he has done business with the Cafaro Company before and called 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.