Al Boscov statue transformed into growing memorial

READING, Pa. - A statue dedicated to telling the life story of Al Boscov now stands as a growing memorial to the retail icon's lasting legacy in Berks County and beyond.

The bronze sculpture overlooking Entertainment Square in Reading has been serving as a place for people to go and pay their respects to Boscov since late Friday night, when his death was announced by the company he grew to become the country's largest family-owned chain of department stores.

Some have left flowers; others have paused to reflect on the tremendous impact Boscov has had on the city and surrounding community.

"It's hard to imagine Reading without Al Boscov," former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said in a statement to 69 News on Saturday. "My personal relationship with Al began during my first campaign for governor in the early 1990s. It didn't take long to learn of Al's passion not just for his business, but for his beloved Reading, Pennsylvania."

The statue faces the Reading Movies 11 & IMAX theater complex across the street and stands just steps from the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts and the GoggleWorks Apartments. Boscov was instrumental in developing all three projects.

Dedicated in 2009, the statue features various elements that reflect Boscov and his life's work, right down to the trademark red pen in his right hand.

"It's really a thank you from the community for all the efforts Albert has performed over the years," the organizer, Michael Ehlerman, told 69 News at the time.

The statue stands five feet, eight inches tall, prompting Boscov to joke at the time that it was too tall compared to his real stature, but there's good reason behind the added height.

"We wanted to do heroic," said Becky Ault, a member of the statue's design team. "That's another tradition. In portrait sculptures, you always go a little heroic in size. That's what we did."

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