Fred Bass, the man famous for transforming his father's small used-book store, the Strand, into an iconic book company, died on Wednesday. He was 89 years old and passed away in his Manhattan home, according to the New York Times.
Reports claim that Bass died from congestive heart failure.
The New York Times, in their obituary for this extraordinary man, claims that Bass began to work for the Strand when he was 13 years old. During this time, he was working for his father, Benjamin, who had started the company. It was apparently one of 50 such stores concentrated along Fourth Avenue.
Bass would come to spend the rest of his life in this store and would eventually transform the story into something tremendous. But this was only after taking a break for two years to be in the army. And then, once again, he took a final break in November 2017 in order to retire.
Bass reportedly took over as manager of the store in 1956. He then moved it from Fourth Avenue to its present location on Broadway at 12th Street. Once he took over, the store began expanding. Eventually, by the 1970s, it transformed into a store that took up three floors.
The store he inherited quickly became an iconic New York book company.
According to the NYT, "The 70,000 books in the Fourth Avenue store swelled, at the Broadway site, to half a million by the mid-1960s and 2.5 million by the 1990s, requiring the purchase of a storage warehouse in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. By the time Mr. Bass bought the building for $8.2 million in 1997, the Strand had become the largest used-book store in the world."
Born on June 28, 1928, Fred Bass came into this world one year after his father immigrated from Lithuania and opened the Pelican Book Shop on Eight Street near Greene Street. During his childhood, Bass developed a great love for books, since they were all around him, and he often enjoyed browsing the stores on Fourth Avenue during his lunch breaks from his job at a nearby fabric store.
His father passed away in 1978. His mother, the former Shirley Vogel, was an immigrant from Poland who died of cancer when Fred Bass was only six years old.
Please pray for his friends, family, and all impacted by this unfortunate loss. In recent news, a well-known college football coach was just fired amid some scandalous accusations.