By Emily Letoski
In 1911, a Jewish immigrant by the name of Solomon Boscov journeyed his way into America to find a better life. After many failed attempts to find a job in Washington D.C., Solomon Boscov found himself in Reading, Pennsylvania, with only a $1.37 in his pocket.
From that point on, he would continue to work and aspire to achieve the “American Dream.” He landed a job as a traveling salesman selling dry goods to farmers and stay-at-home wives, and created a name for himself with the locals at Berks County. Thanks to his friendly personality, Boscov developed a very loyal customer base. After one year being a salesman, he saved enough money to expand his small business.
Solomon Boscov opened his very own dry goods store in his family’s living room, located on the corner of Ninth and Pike Streets in Reading. After a year, the family business expanded and flourished.
Flash forward to today. Solomon Boscov probably didn’t imagine that his family business would last over a hundred years, but it has. Today, Boscov’s is one of the last family-owned department store chains in the United States. There are now forty-four Boscov’s department stores—twenty-four of which are in Pennsylvania, including the one located on Main Street in Wilkes-Barre.
Although he focused on creating an affordable department store for all Pennsylvanian and northeastern natives to enjoy, little did Boscov know that the top of the Boscov’s parking lot in Wilkes-Barre would be one of the most scenic and beautiful places from which to see the city.
At the top of the parking lot, you can see that the department store has seen better days. The payment is cracked, and like the rest of the city, there are potholes left and right. Barbed wires and chains encompass the top of the lot. From a distance, the wires and chains create an urban feel, almost as if you are on the rooftop of a New York City building.
Look down, and you can see people walking the streets of Wilkes-Barre below. If you point yourself facing South Franklin Street, you will see the St. Steven’s Episcopal Church and the Osterhout Free Library. Turn slightly towards the left, and you’ll see the top of the WBRE news station. It’s a view like no other.
On a very good, spring day, you will catch the mix of colors in the sunset sky, bouncing off of all the buildings encompassing this city; for a moment, you’ll see that Wilkes-Barre has a hidden beauty.