Happy Birthday to late founder of Elite, Mr Fred Weiss. Betsy’s father Fred founded Elite nearly 70 years ago, so today, on his birthday, we would like to introduce you to Fred the Bed and his incredible story from fleeing Austria to growing his family and successful business here in Glasgow.
Fred was born on the 23rd of May 1921, meaning today would have been his 102nd birthday. His story from arriving in Glasgow to founding Elite, is full of hard work, family and community.
Born in Hungary, Fred and his mother were practicing Jews, and therefore under great threat from the Third Reich. His mother was able to apply for a refugee scheme where in Fred gained sponsorship to travel to the UK. Placed with a family in Giffnock, Glasgow, Fred lived in Scotland for the majority of his life.
Shortly after moving to the UK, he was joined by his mother. Working a number of jobs to make ends meet, he found a passion in a permanent roll with Crestol Bedding Company. Starting as a Junior Employee, he quickly worked his way up to Factory Manager.
Eventually buying his own company in the Gorbals, Fred began Elite Bedding Company. Initially making mattresses by day, interspersed with visits to local retailed, he would then deliver mattresses through the evenings in his estate car.
Expanding to employ a number of manufacturing and sales staff, the company moved to a larger premises in Moffat Street where it remained until 2018. Despite having no formal business training Fred was excellent at building working relationships with high profile organisations, supplying Strathclyde University halls of residence, Glasgow City Council’s Children’s homes and a significant number of hotels and b&bs.
Hi prolific success and growing reputation in the industry soon led to the affectionate nickname of “Fred The Bed” being used by friends, colleagues and customers. A handmade sign gifted to him still sits in the office to this day.
Gradually introducing his daughters and In laws to the family business, he was able to take a step back and enjoy a more relaxed retirement, traveling back to Vienna, Italy and France frequently with his beloved wife, Beatrice.
His passions besides from growing the business were playing bridge with Beatrice, competing in local and national events where they won numerous trophies. Cars were a great love, with the ambition of driving a Rolls Royce quickly released, featuring private plate FW 12.
A major philanthropist in the Jewish Community, Fred frequently donated to fundraising events, providing annual donations and bed sets for auctions. He was appointment Honorary President of the Glasgow Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade in the late 1980s, a role he help up to his death.
His legacy is continued by his youngest daughter Betsy and Grandson Gregory, Managing Director and Director respectively. Now called Elite Contract Furniture the company has expanded to supply a wide range of furniture, accessories and finished products.
Fred’s ambition, attention to detail and personal relationships with customers have continued. Those that have worked for a family business will know the personal touches and extra care that is taken with every process and decision. We are proud to continue Fred’s legacy.
Our showroom is open by appointment so you can receive a one to one consultation with a member of our team. Get in touch today to arrange your visit.Get in touch