Robert “Bob” W. Hugo, the founder of HugoBooks, died on July 27, 2016, in Newburyport, Massachusetts, of complications from a recent illness. He was 72.
In February 1965, three months before his graduation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Hugo opened The Spirit of '76 Bookstore in a 500-square-foot space on the corner of Washington and State streets in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It was there he met his future wife, Kathe, Marblehead Wicked Local reported.
By 1969, Hugo was able to move The Spirit of ’76 to a 3,000-square-foot space in a more prosperous part of town, and in 1976 he purchased the building where the store was located. Hugo grew his businesses by acquiring a second store, The Book Rack in Newburyport, in 1988, and then Andover Bookstore in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1992. HugoBooks opened a fourth store, in Swampscott, in November 2011. The Andover store, which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2009, is the second oldest continually operating bookstore in America.
HugoBooks, which today encompasses The Spirit of ’76, The Book Rack, and Andover Bookstore, as well as Campus Collection – The Andover Town merchandise store and e-store and the Phillips Academy Andover e-store, will continue under the direction of Hugo’s son, John Hugo.
A memorial service will be held at the Marblehead’s Corinthian Yacht Club on September 9 at 11:00 a.m.