June 28, 2004 by

Benjamin Krass

6 comments

Categories: Business

bkrass.jpgIn the middle of the night, Philadelphia channel surfers would often see Benjamin Krass hawking polyester suits.
The corny commercials for Krass Bros., his family’s menswear business, featured Krass in diapers, dressed as a thief or surrounded by beautiful women. In one popular ad, he popped out of a coffin (that he kept in his store) and declared, “If you gotta go, go in a Krass Bros. suit.”
On June 7, he followed his own advice. Krass died of heart failure at the age of 85. He was buried in a blue polyester suit, a white shirt and a white tie.
Krass was drafted into the Army during World War II and stationed in Calcutta, India. When he returned to the states, he moved to Philadelphia and joined forces with his brothers, Jack and Harry, to launch a retail empire.
For five decades, Krass sold menswear to Philadelphia residents. He eventually became the company’s frontman, earning the nickname: “The King of Polyester.” The store also outfitted visiting celebrities, such as Muhammad Ali, Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, Sammy Davis Jr. and Redd Foxx. Krass ran several retail outlets until the late 1990s when sales dropped off. The store declared bankruptcy in 1999 and closed its doors three years later.

6 Responses to Benjamin Krass

  1. ANNETTE KRASS

    I TREASURE OUR PHONE CONVERSATIONS AND WILL CARRY YOUR LOVING WORDS IN MY HEART. YOU WERE MY FIRST LOVE AND YOU WILL BE MY LAST. I WILL HOLD YOUR LAST WORDS TO ME IN MY HEART FOREVER, “I HAVE NEVER STOPPED LOVING YOU” AND I KNOW YOU NEVER DID. REST IN PEACE MY DARLING, REST IN PEACE

  2. Mike Rossi

    Born and raised in Philly, I’ll never forget the Krass Bros. commercials. When any of our crowd would buy a new suit or sports outfit, we would ask if they got it at Krass Bros. If they said, “No”, we would point at them and say, “You was robbed!” I also remember taking the El to Center City and seeing the “Store of the Stars” sitting alone in the middle of a blighted block in Northern Liberties. Ahhh…the memories! Rest in Peace, Ben. (In your Krass Bros. suit.)

  3. Will

    I remember seeing Mr.Krass & Company back in the 80’s when I lived in Philly. I bought a few suits from the store back then on 901 South Street….Store Of The Stars! I remember all those commercials with the sexy girls all surrounding him while he yelled out his latest slogan. This piece of history I will never forget. R.I.P Ben

  4. Patricia Reef

    I was born in Philly. My father’s name was Albert Reef (he changed the spelling). His sister,my aunt, Mary Reif, was married to Jack Krass, my uncle. I remember visiting Krass Brothers many times in my youth. Happy memories.
    Jack Krass, my uncle, recorded a 45 back then. I miss all of the enjoyable times we spent together.

  5. Annette

    I grew up on Krass Bros. commercials as a kid!
    When I graduated high school in 1977, my then-boyfriend bought his all-white suit at Krass Bros.
    Rest in peace, Mr Krass.

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