Longtime InStore Salesman Fran Zimniuch Dies at 66

IndependentsDec 22, 2020

Longtime InStore Salesman Fran Zimniuch Dies at 66

The beloved member of the magazine’s team died last week of complications related to COVID-19.

Blackwood, N.J.— Fran Zimniuch, a beloved member of the team at InStore magazine who was also a baseball historian and author died Dec. 17 of complications related to COVID-19.

He was 66.  

In addition to working at InStore magazine, Fran Zimniuch loved baseball, especially his hometown Philadelphia Phillies, and authored a number of books on the sport. (Photo courtesy of A Philadelphia native, Zimniuch was born Francis E. Zimniuch on  Aug. 3, 1954 and graduated from Northeast Catholic High School in Philadelphia.  

He attended Temple University and in 2004, started working at SmartWork Media, a publisher of trade magazines geared toward independent retailers.   

Zimniuch was the East Coast sales manager for InStore. 

In a story posted early Monday, the magazine’s staff described the beloved salesman as a “pillar” of SmartWork Media, writing, “Over the years, he was a personality who helped define our character—honest, sincere, big-hearted, earnest and loving.” 

Outside of the jewelry industry, Zimniuch loved baseball and was a historian of the sport, writing more than a half-dozen books on baseball as well as one about the Philadelphia Eagles. 

His works include “Baseball’s New Frontier: A History of Expansion, 1961-1998,” “Crooked: A History of Cheating in Sports,” and “Shortened Seasons: The Untimely Death of Major League Baseball’s Stars and Journeymen.”  

SmartWork Media CEO Matthijs Braakman and InStore Editor-in-Chief Trace Shelton were among those who shared memories of the longtime InStore ad salesman; read them all here. 

Members of the industry also remembered Zimniuch on Facebook. 

“Who knew that you would also become one of the journeymen of a shortened season,” friend Steve Kanelos wrote on Zimniuch’s Facebook page Sunday. “Will miss you buddy but will never run out of the memories we shared.”  

Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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