Remembering Bernice Ash (1930-2020), Music Retail Pioneer

Bernice Ash, a retail visionary who spearheaded the expansion of the Sam Ash family-owned music store empire, and broadened inventory for the chain across multiple new categories, passed away on Dec. 1 at the age of 90.

Bernice began working at the Sam Ash Music Store in New York City in 1947, one year before marrying the founder’s eldest son, Jerry Ash. Bernice and Jerry continued the tradition of keeping the retail store in the Ash family. Bernice is widely recognized as one of the pioneers of the development of the sheet music department, which included purchasing and inventory. As the head of sheet music for all of the Sam Ash locations, Bernice also designed methods and procedures that resulted in great working relationships with the publishers as well as many satisfied customers. She and Jerry were married 72 years.

She leaves behind a loving family, staff and grateful industry who will carry on her legacy.

Learn more about Bernice and the Ash legacy during this NAMM Oral History Interview.

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