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Stevens: A family affair

The big hobby distributor traces its roots back to a home-based business started by the present owner’s parents in the 1950s
By Mike Bass
Published: March 13, 2015
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For nearly 40 years, Stevens International has been a family-run business. What many may not know is that the Bass family’s involvement in the hobby industry goes back to the 1950s, two decades before Stevens was formed. We are often asked, “How did your family get into this business?”
My parents were married in 1951. My father, Felix, was an accountant; my mother, Inge, a bookkeeper. They worked hard to save what little money they earned, and in 1955 they were able to purchase a modest home in Haddonfield, N.J., outside Philadelphia. Felix had been an avid stamp collector for many years and sometimes purchased collections from various sources. He kept what he needed for himself and sold the balance to hobby and stamp shops he encountered on his rounds to accounting clients. As he did, he couldn’t help but notice the model kits, model trains, games and other items stocked in each hobby shop he visited. He and Inge subsequently agreed that if he could sell stamps to these shops, he could easily sell other goods, too.
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