“The heart and soul of Zamzows” passes away
A local business icon has died.
Bernard “Bernie” Zamzow passed away peacefully in Boise on Tuesday. With his parents, Zamzow was one of the co-founders of the Zamzows lawn, garden, and pet supply chain.
He was born April 28, 1916 in Star, Idaho, and spent his entire life in the Treasure Valley. He passed away in the very home he built in 1939, which was located behind the Zamzows store on Fairview Avenue in Boise, where he continued to grow a large garden.
Bernie was the eldest son of Gus and Carmalita Zamzow, the founders of Zamzows Inc.
He helped found the company’s first store on Fairview Avenue in 1933.
He attended the University of Idaho, but returned home during his senior year to help his parents when a full-time store employee was needed during the Great Depression. In the 1940s, Bernie and his brother, Stanley, took over the business and, in the 1950s and early 1960s, added additional stores in Eagle, Meridian, and Kuna.
Stanley retired in the 1960s, making Bernie the sole owner. In the 1960s, Bernie’s two sons Jim and Rick began working for Zamzows, and purchased it from their father in 1978. However, Bernie still remained involved in the business as their trusted advisor, until his passing.
Bernie’s son, Rick Zamzow, said his father was “the heart and soul of Zamzows. Dad set the standards, established our core values, and more importantly, put into place the culture of always providing superior products and service for our customers.”
Zamzows President Darin Eisenbarth said “Bernie Zamzow helped build a great company that now provides a good living and a wonderful place to work for over 150 families. When we throw a pebble in a pond, we never know the waves it will create. The positive impact Bernie Zamzow made upon our community will be felt for years to come.”
At Bernie’s request, there will be no funeral. However, a “celebration of life” event will be announced in the coming weeks. Bernie asked in lieu of flowers or a memorial, that gifts be sent to the Meridian High School Future Farmers of America Club. An endowment account has been set up at U.S. Bank, and anyone wishing to send a memorial may do so at any US Bank branch. Contact Lauri Tolmie at 467-2131.
(photo courtesy Art Gregory)