WILKES-BARRE -- As chairman of the department stores bearing his name, Al Boscov employed thousands and shoppers credit him with keeping the business in both Wilkes-Barre's and Scranton's downtowns.
People shopping at Boscov's on Saturday were saddened to hear about the passing of Boscov after a battle with cancer. They are grateful for his efforts to keep his business running in both Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.
It was a busy day at the Boscov's in Scranton at The Marketplace at Steamtown as people browsed for clothes or the latest sales.
Flowers left outside of the store were put there to honor the late Al Boscov.
"He meant a great deal to this area. He brought life to this area. This is my favorite store, and you can always come to Boscov's and find something great. He will be sorely missed," said Jesse Fritz of Covington Township.
Boscov's has several stores across our area. In both Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, shoppers say Al Boscov will forever have a lasting impact.
"He seemed like he helped everybody, and me and my girlfriend love coming and shopping here," said Richard Mikulka of Kingston.
Thomas Leighton, the former mayor of Wilkes-Barre, says Al Boscov was one of the main visionaries for the downtown revitalization of Public Square.
"When I became mayor in 2004, Mr. Boscov was very involved in recruiting the movie operator into the city of Wilkes-Barre because at that time there wasn't a lot to do, and the movie theater operator wasn't sure if they wanted to invest," Leighton said.
After his death on Friday, there was a fitting tribute to Boscov in the Diamond City on the marquis of the FM Kirby Center.
His reinvestment in the department store on South Main Street led to more businesses moving downtown.
"Boscov always gave back to the community of Wilkes-Barre. I don't think he gave up on Wilkes-Barre," said Lisa Wilcox of Wilkes-Barre.
Since opening the doors in 1962, Boscov's has become the largest family owned department store in the country, employing more than 7,000 people.
As a former employee, Peter Troyan of Wilkes-Barre said Al Boscov always set an example for workers to follow.
"He will be sorely missed in this community, not only from Reading to Philly to the business world," Troyan said.
In a tweet, Boscov's says condolences to the family may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boscov's nephew Jim, who runs the company, said: "Albert was truly one of the giants in the retail industry. We are committed to continue on the strong foundation he has created and to carry on in the spirit and philosophy he's instilled."
A public memorial service is set for February 26. The service starts at 3 p.m. at the Santander Performing Arts Center on 136 North 6th Street in Reading.
His burial will be private.