The Boscovs department store chain, based in Reading, is on life support according to various news reports. Interestingly the newspapers say the chain is cash poor and unable to stock its shelves for back to school. I find this incredible because we’re into the back to school season so its quite late to be looking for financing for those goods. Buyers at chains like this are bringing in Christmas merchandise and buying their winter lines, not back to school.
The fact vendors have cut them off is significant. The company is searching for financing, good luck in this economic climate.
I have no love for Boscovs. I don’t shop there because the stores are very unfriendly for those of us with disabilities. Chocked too full of racks, with narrow aisles clogged with boxes and other impediments to safety, Boscov stores are accidents waiting to happen for customers. I’ve known disable people who did get hurt in their stores due to their negligence keeping clear aisles and the company fights these legal cases tooth and nail when they’re obviusly at fault.
The bigger question, politically, is how a Boscov bankruptcy could affect Al Boscov’s campaign contributions. The conservative Democrats spreads his cash to many politicians, including maxxing out for the likes of Rick Santorum and Joe Pitts. He almost never supports liberals and progressives and has a personal stranglehold on Berks County politics.
No politician in Berks County wants to cross Al Boscov. He writes sizable checks to State Representatives, County Commissioners and others. Not one of them can no to the man without risking their career. The result are some dubious projects lately. A large shopping center being built in Exeter Township was rammed through amidst lies and deception because he was behind the effort. The same for a questionable apartment complex in Reading. Boscov always demands tax abatements for his projects and always gets them whether they are worthy of tax subsidizing or not. People in Exeter are up in arms over the Exeter Commons project after an ousted Township Commissioner claimed there was no public opposition to the project.
I won’t shed any tears if Al Boscov goes down or if his dangerous stores go bust.