Boscov's files for bankruptcy protection

They cut costs. Dumped millions of their own money into the nation's largest family-owned department store chain. Refinanced debt and promised vendors they'd make good on late payments. They even courted private-equity investors.

"Will it be enough?" they asked themselves time and again.

By Friday night, it had become clear: Bankruptcy was inevitable. "There was no going back," Lakin said.

The Reading company, whose stubbornly old-style stores anchor many of the region's malls and which proudly flaunts customer service with a smile (homemade fudge, too), filed yesterday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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