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April 05, 1991 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-04-05

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speakeasy. Ed Rose was
the bouncer.
A few times, police raided
the bar, closing it and
fining both Max and Louis.
Ed was never on the
premises when the police
came. He would later say
he was simply lucky. Just
as other operators did after
bars were raided, the trio
found other spots and
During this time, Ed and
Louis went to work for a
builder named Joe Sher-
man. There, each learned
to be carpenters. Once they
saved enough money, they
sent for their mother.
Briefly, the Rose brothers
worked together under the
logo Rose Builders, king of
the builders. But, according
to Louis' son, Saul Rose,
they were "stubborn, can-
tankerous guys," and had a
domestic squabble resulting
in a split-up after the De-
pression began.
They did not speak again
for some 30 years, when
Louis got sick during the
mid-60s. Louis went off on
his own, making a decent
living, but never prospered
as did his younger brother.
At 25, Ed Rose decided to
start building on his own.
His friend, Max Rosenfeld,
became his silent partner,
investing $5,000 he had
saved from his window-
washing company. Ed later
bought him out.
"His success wasn't
mysterious," Sheldon Rose
says. "He was very frugal,
hard-working and disci-
plined. He had practically
no appetite for living com-
fortably. He was a simple

This page:
Max Rosenfeld and Ed
Rose, buddies and
business partners.

"His friends used to joke
that he got a sore back
from bending down all the
time," Sheldon Rose says.
"He used to pick up old
nails, bend them back into
place and reuse them."
Ed Rose was self
educated, dropping out of
school after the sixth
grade. Throughout his life,
he had an insatiable desire
to read history.
He wouldn't .be bothered
with frivolous reading, and
he envied those who were
college educated. He en-
joyed playing the role of
the devil's advocate and
offered his opinion on
everything. He liked to
make people think. He had
work to do and left no time
to waste. He loved to talk
about issues β€”the govern-
ment, economics, world af-

But, friends and relatives
say, Ed Rose was a stub-
born man. Once he made
up his mind, he never
changed it β€” right or
If Ed Rose didn't like
someone, he didn't talk to
him. And though he
wouldn't badmouth people,
he would ignore them.
"He took it to his grave,"
says builder Joe Slavik,
who learned the trade from
Ed Rose, his mentor.
"Everyone has his faults.
He was a simple guy who
worked hard and only dealt
with people he thought also
were like this."
If he liked someone, it
wasn't uncommon for Ed
Rose to mold him into a
builder. In addition to
amassing his own wealth,
he helped an estimated 80
local builders β€” many who

went on to flourish β€” get
started in the business.
. Mr. Slavik, who ran a
trucking company before
World War II, was a
bomber pilot during the
war. He had no idea what
he would do after the war.
Ed Rose, whom he met
before the war, suggested
he become a builder.
"He taught me how to
manage money," Joe
Slavik says. "He said
building is about manag-
ing money. You can hire
people to do the rest."
Adds builder Ted Jacob-
son, a lawyer, who went into
the business after accep-
ting a job as legal counsel
for the Roses, "He didn't
teach you how to build. He
taught you how to think."
After he made his initial
investment in Ed Rose's
building company, Max

Ed Rose: "He was a
simple guy."



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