Super Senior: Stanley ‘Pal’ Borofsky

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 5:45 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - In the center of Brattleboro, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters is one of a kind.

“Oh yeah, we’ve grown a lot,” said the store’s owner, Stanley “Pal” Borofsky.

The two buildings with four entrances and 30,000 square feet of merchandise make it the largest retail store downtown.

“This is not work for me, it’s my playground,” Borofsky said. He says he literally grew up there.

Reporter Joe Carroll: So you learned on the job, huh?

Stanley “Pal” Borofsky: Oh boy.

In his office is a wall full of memories.: I’ve got a lot of history here,” Borofsky said.

His father Sam, an immigrant from Russia, started the business in 1932, selling surplus Army and Navy supplies. He started working at the store as a young boy. Now 88, the longtime merchant still comes to work Monday through Friday.

Reporter Joe Carroll: What’s the secret to the success?

Stanley “Pal” Borofsky: Work.

His son, Brad, now runs most of the business. Borofsky is in charge of ordering watches, jeans, and socks. “I think he’s crazy. I hope that when I’m that old, I hope I’m not coming in every day. I hope I’m around, but I hope I’m not coming in every day,” Brad said. Now 62, Brad has worked with his dad for 40 years.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Is there a next generation?

Brad Borofsky: Unfortunately there is not. I didn’t think we’d be in business years ago because of the internet and the ways things were changing. So, didn’t think it was safe for my daughter to come in the business.

They survived the online onslaught. In fact, last year was their best year ever. Customers came to the store to buy outdoor gear, wanting to get outside during the pandemic.

Kathy Johnson has worked at Sam’s for 26 years. “I think there have only been four or five people who have been in the store longer than me,” she said.

Borofsky sold smokes at just nine years old. “I worked right here. The cigarette department was in the back,” he said. It was during World War II and the cigarettes were rationed. “The customers used to be awed at the fact that I was a kid that young working behind the counter taking cash and giving change.”

Borofsky grew the business in the ‘70s and ‘80s. They now have two other stores in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. “I just liked the retail business. I dreamt at night, I dreamt it in the morning,” he said.

Now with close to 80 years working this store, Borofsky has no intention of calling it quits, but he does wonder about what Brad will do with the family business. “I’m kind of his buddy to a great degree. As long as I keep coming in, I think he’ll be happy. But when I’m gone, he might not want to do it anymore,” Borofsky said.

For now, the tradition continues...

Reporter Joe Carroll: Good memories?

Stanley “Pal” Borofsky: Oh boy, I’ve had a lot of them.

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