ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Ohio Valley residents were given a preview of the Ohio Valley Mall's new direction earlier this month when it was announced regional department store Boscov's would be coming to the area.
Boscov's will employ about 300 workers and encompass about 180,000 square feet of retail space in the former J.C. Penney location.
Albert Boscov, chairman of Boscov's, said he was excited about the local market and the people. He said the company had considered moving into the St. Clairsville area for years, but it wasn't until the unemployment rate dropped to 8 percent that officials decided to make their move.
Albert Boscov, chairman of Boscov’s, the newest store announced for the Ohio Valley Mall, makes the announcement earlier this month during an event in St. Clairsville.
Photo by Scott McCloskey
"We see a tremendous amount of opportunity here," he said.
Boscov had previously sold the family business, but the buyer entered into bankrupcty after a few years.
Boscov noted when he decided to buy back his company, mall owner the Cafaro family loaned his family $20 million to help with the purchase.
"We are here for two reasons: because it's the right place to be and because we certainly owe a debt to the Cafaro family," Boscov said.
"Boscov's is slightly different than most retailers because we understand that no one in America needs a doggone thing - that every closet is full. But retailing is fun and recreation and we try to make it fun and recreational," Boscov said.
Belmont County Commissioner Ginny Favede said she is excited about the new department store. She said when J.C. Penney moved from the mall to The Highlands, the county's coffers took a hit.
"I think the women and the mothers are going to be thrilled," Favede said, noting she's shopped at a Boscov's in the past. "It's also a family business, and we take that seriously in our area."
That announcement wasn't the only positive news announced for the mall in the past few months. A major, multimillion-dollar renovation project finished up just before the Christmas shopping season.
New skylights and lighting systems have added an extra touch of light as you stroll about the grounds. New carpet and tile have been laid while keeping the pre-renovation feel that the mall has held for so many years.
"This isn't just an investment in the mall, but in Belmont County," Favede said. "This mall has been part of our lives for as long as we can remember and this will allow it to remain so for many years to come."
"When I met with Anthony Caffaro, I told him that if they would invest in Belmont County then we would invest in them. They did that. They reinvested in the mall because they believe in us and that we can make this mall excel," Belmont County Commissioner Matt Coffland said.
A number of celebrities, past and present, also have helped the mall kick off its new direction.