Chamber Event Welcomes Boscov’s to Niles, Valley

NILES, Ohio – Staying out of debt and being a privately held company helped the Boscov’s Department Store chain survive when other retailers have struggled and even closed in recent years, Boscov’s Chairman and CEO Jim Boscov said.  

Boscov was among the featured speakers at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s Good Morning, Niles breakfast Wednesday morning. The event was held at the Eastwood Mall in the corridor just outside the entrance to the 180,000-square-foot Boscov’s store that opens this week.

Many of the retailers that have shuttered in recent years were burdened with debt that they couldn’t service, Boscov said. 

“I’m very fortunate that my family is in this business for the long term,” he continued. “Nobody’s looking to get rich quick. It allows us to take profits and reinvest them in the business. 

“The other thing is it allows me to make business decisions that are good for the company,” he added. “I’m not forced to make decisions that are going to make us look good at the end of the quarter so some analyst is going to be pleased. That makes a big difference.” 

The 180,000-square-foot store is the 49th in the Reading, Pa.-based chain and the only one Boscov’s is opening this year. That strategy is intentional, Boscov said. 

“There’s a very good reason for that,” he said. “First of all, a store is a big deal for us.” At 49 stores, Boscov’s is “still a relatively small company” and opening new stores takes “care and nurturing,” he added. 

Other speakers during the breakfast meeting included Niles Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz, who provided an update on economic development initiatives in the city, and Niles City Schools Superintendent Ann Marie Thigpen. 

“One of the things that we have spent a lot of time and focus on is our economic development initiatives and trying to spur new business, attract new business and retain the businesses we have,” Mientkiewicz said. Among the initiatives the city has implemented at grant programs though its community improvement corporation and income tax and property tax incentives, as well as a power incentive focused on downtown. 

Niles City Council tonight will consider a $5,000 grant for Cadence Car Network, which plans to bring its administrative offices downtown and open a coffee shop on Main Street. 

Thigpen reported on the financial progress made by the district, which has been in fiscal caution, watch or emergency since 2003. The district, which is gong to have a multimillion-dollar carryover for the first time in decades, is preparing its request to be released from fiscal emergency.

“We’ve turned that around in 2½ years,” she said. 

Also during the meeting, Mientkiewicz presented the city’s 2021 Business Pride Award to Imperial Glazing Concepts and Avenue & Main presented its 2021 Community Spirit Award to C.O.P.S. Driving Academy.  

Pictured: Jim Boscov, Boscov’s Chairman and CEO.

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