Wilfred Schwartz, a man whose enormous success made him a familiar name and face in the business pages, died in Rancho Mirage on January 17 after a long illness at the age of 91.
As founder and chairman of The Federated Group, Wilfred pioneered the concept of consumer-electronics "superstores" – 25,000 square foot supermarkets filled with all the electronic goodies craved by Americans in the 1970s-'80s. The Federated Group dominated the Southern California market at a time of intense competition from nearly a dozen chain competitors. In 1983 Wilfred took the company public, and soon Federated had more than 60 locations in California, Arizona and Texas. Four years later, after selling the company, Wilfred and his beloved wife Lita continued their world travels before finally settling in the desert. Anyone lucky enough to have known Wilfred will remember a man of elegance, grace and startling intellect who listened before speaking, and spoke with the authority of someone who'd carefully thought through his positions and opinions. He was as fascinated by people as he was fascinating to them. Wilfred is survived by his wife Lita, three daughters, five grandchildren, and his brother Baky (Barbara) Schwartz and sister Rochelle Blumenthal of Winnipeg. Arrangements for a memorial service will be forthcoming.