Ann Marie Bossard is co-owner of the Anthracite Newsstand in Wilkes-Barre. Bossard, 56, attended Wyoming Valley West High School and received a Pastry Arts Certificate at Luzerne Community College while studying culinary arts. She has two sisters and a brother; Millie, Bettye Lou (co-owner of Anthracite) and Butch. Ann Marie lives in Wilkes-Barre.
Let's start off with the obvious question. How was it at the newsstand during the Powerball frenzy? People had Powerball fever that quickly turned in to Powerball blues. I would personally like to see everyone come out a winner. I witnessed a lot of excitement and dejection before and after the drawing.
What was the biggest winning ticket that was purchased at your newsstand? Last October I had a regular customer hand me his tickets to check at the counter. He had no idea he had won a large amount. I ran the tickets through and the first couple came back as no winner. The third one said $4,205,027 (Ann Marie displayed a copy of the winning ticket). My sister, Bettye Lou, said it was the first time she had ever seen me speechless or at a complete loss of words. The gentlemen went on to buy a condominium and a car from what I know. Another winner, Stanley, won the Baker's Dozen Lottery. He is such a nice guy. I remember I was in high school and I took off that day so I could be part of the picture of him with the check. The Times Leader took the photo and it was a great memory. I have done my happy dance on several occasions throughout the years.
You were part of this establishment since you were a kid. Could you tell us a bit about the history of the newsstand and it genesis through the years? My father, Francis Corcoran, had a business that dealt with pinball machines and jukeboxes. Around 1962 to 1963 the owner of this newsstand had owed some financial restitution to my father. My mother, Mamine Corcoran, arranged the purchase of the newsstand as a kind of settlement. They opened for business in 1963 and things started out slowly. My mother was constantly adding things to the food menus for breakfast to go along with the other products that were offered at the newsstand. We had to relocate after the flood of 1972 across from the Times Leader building on Main Street in the old TV store that was there. It was a shame at the time because the business was really starting to take off before the detour. We came back to the current location in 1979 and have been successful here ever since.
Was there anyone that was influential in your life? My father and mother. I admired how they worked together; they were married for 51 years. I admired his heart and business abilities. My mother had a heart of gold and was so smart. She was simply an awesome person who was always fair. My sister Bettye Lou is the same way.
The family seems to be a very important aspect of this business. Do you have any memories that come to mind about your years here with family members? I remember when I was little my sister and I used to hang out in the back and play and take naps on a couch. I see her children, Robert Francis and Samantha, doing the same thing today. It brings back pleasant childhood memories.
When you are not working, where do you like to vacation or travel to? I do not think I have ever had a real vacation. My sister did manage to get me to go with her to Alabama to see our grandmother. I also had a getaway weekend at Lake Wallenpaupack awhile ago. We stayed at the Settler's Inn and it was a beautiful resort that we did not have to drive to far to get to.
What are some of your hobbies? I really love baking and making candy, especially during the holiday season.
Do you watch reality cooking shows? I am a big fan of The Cake Boss, Cooking with the Stars and Cupcake Wars on the Food Network.
Are your favorite foods specialties? Actually I enjoy a good hamburger and fries.
What is your favorite music on the jukebox? I love Frank Sinatra. He is my all-time favorite.
Do you have any favorite sayings? No sayings, but I often refer to cigarette lengths as ‘daddy longlegs' or ‘shortlegs' depending on what brand of cigarette a customer is requesting. Sometimes when people talk to me I say they are talking with ‘rubber lips' too.
What does Wilkes-Barre need to improve upon? We need more small businesses and jobs. We also need the sidewalks, not only in front of our store, to be paved better so they won't be as slippery.
What are you most proud of in your life? I am really proud to live in Wilkes-Barre and to have this family business. I have a close family – everyone is always there for each other.
John Gordon writes about area people for the Meet feature. Reach him at 970-7229.