In memoriam: Wolfgang Uhlig, 21 January 1941 – 24 December 2012

Wolfgang Uhlig: A true entrepreneur

USA. With regret we report the passing of former Fairn & Swanson owner Wolfgang Uhlig on 24 December.

Born in 1941, he left Germany for America in his 20s and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. Shortly thereafter, Mr Uhlig founded his first American company, a ship chandlery in San Francisco.

With a true entrepreneurial spirit, he founded and ran companies in all corners of the world, including duty free airport stores in the South Pacific; a perfume distributorship in Germany; retail stores in Moscow; and manufacturing of surfboards in China.

Fairn & Swanson said: “Throughout all his world travels and varying business interests, Wolf’s true business love remained Fairn & Swanson (F&S) Inc.

“Purchased in 1975, Wolf transformed F&S from a local, bonded ship chandler to one of the leading national travel retail wholesalers and retailers in the United States. From its beginnings in one warehouse serving the port of Oakland, F&S now operates warehouses along both the West and East Coasts of the United States, as well as a chain of retail stores under the Baja Duty Free name.

“Though helped by many long term employees, it was Wolf’s personal involvement in the company that led to its success. Despite his retirement from the day-to-day management in 2008, Wolf’s personality is still present in today’s F&S.

“All of us at F&S wish to express our deepest sympathy to Wolf’s spouse and two daughters. ”
A memorial service will be held later in January. For updated information on the service please visit

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