Mor Stein, Second-Generation Owner of Bronx’s Iconic Frank’s Sports Shop, Dies at 93

Did you need something to deal with your grass toes? Moe had it. A sturdy belt buckle for softball? Moe had it. Products for the “SNL” segment, uniforms for EMTs, live bait for fishermen, or beds for hospitals during a pandemic?

Moe had everything, not to mention the usual bats, balls, gloves and other sporting equipment for players and teams in the Bronx and beyond.

Moe Stein, owner of the famous Franks Sports Shop on East Tremont Avenue, has died at the age of 93, the store announced Monday in an Instagram post.

Mo was a true Bronx legend, born and raised in Frank’s Sports Shop,” the post read. “Mr. Moe took over the business from his father, Frank, and continued working with the children until he was 93. He was the character and face of the business. If you know Frank’s, you know Moe. We miss him.”

Ron Stein poses for a portrait at Frank’s Sports Shop on Tuesday, December 21, 2021.

Hiram Alejandro Duran/THE CITY

Mo Stein “was the best hard salesman. He could sell ice to Eskimos,” one of his sons, Ron Stein, 60, told City on Wednesday.

“He loved to engage with people,” Ron, Frank’s general merchandise manager and third-generation Steins owner, recalls watching his father interact with customers as a child. said while “He was associated with many working people.”

After opening in Manhattan’s Bowery in 1922, the store moved to 430 East Tremont Avenue just a few years later.

Through the Borrow struggles of the 1970s and 1980s, when the Bronx became synonymous with urban decay, Frank remained in place thanks to Morstein’s admirable stubbornness or stability. Located in the poorest congressional district in the country, the iconic shop continued to supply generations of Bronx people with tons of merchandise and kept its entire workforce on staff during the pandemic.

“Okay little spot”

Michael Pendleton, 59, was working at Frank’s when it reopened Wednesday after it was temporarily closed after Moe’s death, but his life has taken a full circle around the store.

Pendleton grew up in East Tremont and played basketball nearby. He remembers his mother going to Frank’s house to buy supplies for one summer camp. After growing up and working as a substance abuse counselor, Pendleton sought a change in his life and began working for Frank’s earlier this year after Mo personally trained him.

“If someone says [I’d be working here]I’ll call them liars,” he says, just before leaving to help two women looking for baseball gloves.

These women were neither regulars nor locals, but tourists from Spain visiting New York City who headed to the Bronx to look for gloves for a friend back home who played semi-professional softball. .

“It’s harder to get good softball material in Spain than it is here,” Irati Barragan told THE CITY in Spanish. So my friend asked, “Can I go to this store?” she remembered. “Because they probably have left-handed gloves.” In fact, Barragan and her pals left the store with new gloves to bring back to friends in Spain.

Outside the store, Milton Simpson felt a wave of nostalgia as he looked at the merchandise displayed in the window.

“I don’t know about kids these days, but in my day, here and there, here and there, it was a nice little place,” said Simpson, 60, who bought Converse and Prokeds sneakers. He said while remembering that. — In the 1960s and he grew up in Harlem in the 1970s, in the 1980s and the East in the 1990s when he lived in Tremont, he sported his jackets at Frank’s.

The well-stocked store was a destination for some collectors during the burgeoning sneaker boom of the 1990s, but it was taken to a new level when it emerged in the 2005 sneaker culture documentary Just for Kicks. gained notoriety.

The film tells the story of a New Jersey kid who, along with other sneakerheads, went to Frank’s, an “old school” sports store in the Bronx and asked if they had any old merchandise. After being shown the basement, they found treasure, including a pair of Charles Barkley shoes from 1996, leaving behind $10 and $20 treasures. Those sneakers would now sell for thousands of dollars.

Frank’s Sports Shop employee Matt McKenzie

Jonathan Custodio/THE CITY

Matt Mackenzie, who has worked at Frank’s for 14 years, told THE CITY on Wednesday that it was “shocking” to learn of Moe’s death, “because he’s always been a really strong guy.

“If someone could do it, Moe could always do it,” he said. “He’s a strong, strong man.”

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