Burton "Burt" Scheff, beauty-industry pioneer and The Burmax Co. CEO, passed away Nov. 1 at the age of 77. Scheff started working in the family business—The Burmax Brush Co.—when he was in high school.
He continued working while going to New York University as a business major. Shortly after graduation his dad passed away, and he took over running the company at the age of 22.
His vision for Burmax was to be the hardware store for beauty supplies. Just like a hardware store carries every possible size screw or nail, his company would carry a full selection of beauty supplies from small items, such as bobby pins, to large pieces of furniture. In 1958, he ran the business out of a small, two-room office in New York City. Now Burmax resides in a 110,000-square-foot warehouse on Long Island.
Scheff solely ran and grew the company for more than 40 years, creating a one-stop shopping experience for customers with thousands of beauty-supply items to choose from.
Not only did he set into motion the term “master distributor," but he also helped a countless number of people to build up their own businesses. The business was his first love, his continued passion—and he came to work every day. He shared his wealth of knowledge with employees, vendors and customers alike.
Both of his children—Steven and Deborah—had the privilege of working with him for many years. Steven Scheff, Burmax president, worked with his father for 25 years. Deborah Goldschmid, Burmax vice president, has worked at the company for the past 11 years.
Scheff will be remembered as one of the most knowledgeable, well-respected people in the industry with an unequaled reputation for honesty and integrity—both in business and his personal life.
He is survived by his wife Frances, his two children and his three grandchildren.
[Image courtesy of The Burmax Co.]