Oct 17, 2022
Diana Bauman, of Warren, shops for housewares at Boscov’s at the Eastwood Mall on Oct. 7, 2021, the grand opening of the store. That day was Charity Day where shoppers could buy a $5 shopping pass with proceeds going to a local nonprofit. Boscov’s is doing something similar with its Friends Helping Friends event Wednesday — for a $5 donation to a local partnering nonprofit group, the shopper will receive a pass for 25 percent of the lowest sale price and the nonprofit keeps 100 percent of the shopping pass proceeds.
NILES — The day on which Boscov’s annual Friends Helping Friends fundraiser falls is the most exciting day of the year for Jim Boscov, chairman and chief executive officer of the Reading, Pa.-based department store chain.
He said that’s because in one day more than $1 million is raised to support nonprofit organizations in the communities where the retailer is located.
“We are a family business. We think wherever we live, wherever we work, we should make a meaningful contribution,” Boscov said. “We can make a whole lot more meaningful contribution by doing something like this than just by writing a check. We can provide, in this case, funding by offering an event like this that offers a great deal to the consumer and at the same time provide funding for the nonprofit they support.”
This year’s Friends Helping Friends is Wednesday. The Boscov’s store at the Eastwood Mall will have extended hours — 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. — for the event.
Here’s how it works: customers donate $5 to a participating nonprofit and receive a shopping pass that provides 25 percent off the lowest sale price. The nonprofit groups keep 100 percent of the shopping pass donation proceeds and shoppers benefit from the retailer’s largest sale of the year.
The event is in-store only. Also, shoppers can register to win a $100 Boscov’s gift card. It is free for a nonprofit to participate.
About 3,000 nonprofit organizations participate every year. This year, according to Boscov, the Eastwood Mall store is among the top five of all stores in nonprofit participation. So far, more than 80 nonprofit groups have signed up and are distributing about 18,000 shopping passes, he said.
“That alone says a ton about the community,” Boscov said. “Certainly, the local chapters of the big, national charities are participating, but it’s also every small organization that doesn’t get nationwide press and advertising. It’s the church group, or the group that takes care of seniors or kids … it’s all the local nonprofits.”
The event is expected to raise more than $100,000 for local nonprofit organizations.
Some people, Boscov said, target the sale day for their holiday shopping, so “they do two things, they support a nonprofit they care about and they get their whole Christmas list shopped at the best prices of the year.”
The store opened Oct. 7, 2021, with a bang. Excited shoppers started to get in line before 7 a.m. and before the day was over, thousands of people shopped at the store.
“The community is just wonderful to be in” Boscov said. “We have been welcomed nicely. I was there not so long ago; I get a big kick out of the co-workers and their loyalty and excitement, and the relationships they have established with customers.”
“I think we are doing very well. Normally, it takes time for people to get to know who you are and for a reputation to build, and I think we are ahead of projections,” Boscov said.
It was Boscov’s 49th store and third at a Cafaro Company-owned mall. The 180,000-square-foot store occupies about one-third of the mall’s west concourse, including the former Sears department store.
Details for Wednesday’s Friends Helping Friends event at Boscov’s
HOW: Customers donate $5 to a participating nonprofit and receive a shopping pass
DISCOUNT: 25 percent off lowest sale prices
STORE HOURS: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
WHERE: In-store only
REGISTER TO WIN: $100 Boscov’s gift card
ADDITIONAL INFO: To learn more and to register a nonproft, go to www.boscovs.com/friendshelpingfriends
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