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February 12, 1993 - Image 76

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-02-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

BUSINESS

JEWISH ROOTS page B11

Jonathan Brateman Properties
474-3855

NIBBLES & NUTS

"To Sweeten The Deal"

CANDY BASKETS AND TRAYS FOR
ALL OCCASIONS OUR SPECIALTY

737-8088

33020 NORTHWESTERN

Outside Of Michigan

MasterCard

1

1-800-752-2133

Special Candy & Sugarfree Available

Local & Nationwide Delivery

tile Industries, Kuttnauer
Apron Specialties, Louis
Siegel's B. Siegel & Co., Wolf
Himelhoch's store, and Hen-
ry and Andrew Wineman's
People's Outfitting.
Discount and chain stores
were pioneered by Sam Os-
nos (Sam's Cut Rate Drugs)
and Nate Shapero (Econom-
ical Drugs and later Cun-
ningham's). In the `50s, Israel
Davidson's Federal Depart-
ment Stores became a major
force in town.
While few Jews rose
through the bias within the
burgeoning automobile in-
dustry, there were notable
exceptions: Louis Mendels-
sohn became treasurer and
chairman of the board of
Fisher Body and his brother
Aaron was secretary. Later,
in 1919, Meyer Prentis was
named treasurer at General
Motors. But he was the only
major Jewish player on the
automobile scene for many
decades.
In later years, especially as
the Depression ended in the
late 1930s, Jewish involve-
ment in heavy industries
doubled. These were the
foundation years of the Ed-
ward C. Levy Co., Max Zi-
vian's Detroit Steel, Allen
Industries, Kasle Steel, the
Hamburger family's Produc-
tion Steel, and Harry Grant
and Harry Goldman's South-
ern Scrap Metal.
It was during this decade
that Max Fisher followed in
his father's footsteps in the
oil business. The Citrins were
also a prominent name in
this field.
During the height of the
Depression, a local study es-
timated that 54 percent of
Jewish working adults were
in "trade." Some 26 percent
were proprietors, managers
or officials, many in dry
goods, clothing, food stores,
"junk, or rags."
A 1936 study in Fortune
magazine estimated 90 per-
cent of U.S. scrap metal busi-
nesses were owned by Jews,
a figure that was reflected in
Detroit. In a 1930s study,
Henry Meyer estimated that
25 percent of all laundry
workers in the city were Jew-
ish as were 90 percent of the
owners of Detroit's linen and
laundry supply businesses.
Morris Schaver, who began
making laundry deliveries
via Detroit's streetcars, be-
came wealthy as the owner
of Central Overall Supply Co.

Other famous local names
the Lapides family, Qualit,.
Laundry; the Milinsky famil
ly, Wayne Laundry; Harry
Schumer, General Linen
Supply; Dave Rosen, Econo
my Linen; the Leibson fami
ly, Domestic Linen; Harr
Laker, Ace Wiping Cloth.

Many of Detroit's majo
food chains developed fro
Depression era fruit stands
or groceries. Abraham Bor-
man's Borman Foods (later
Farmer Jack) and Abne
Wolf and the Packer chain
were among them. Other big
names in Detroit's grocery
history and Jewish history
are Wrigley, Great Scott!, Big
Bear, Shopping Center and (
Dexter-Davison.

From a small, dense area
east of Woodward known as
Hastings Street (now the
Chrysler Freeway), and
bounded by Gratiot and East
Grand Boulevard, Detroit's
Jewish community has
grown and moved steadily to
newer areas north and west.

While many of the pio-
neering Jewish families, and
businesses, are no longer in
existence, they laid the
groundwork for a Jewish
business community that is
diverse, active and success-
ful. ❑

Will Clinton

Zap Boycott?

JAMES D. BESSER

WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

W

ith a new ad-'\
ministration in
town, Israel's
friends in Wash-
ington hope to ignite a big
push against the Arab
boycott against Israel in the
next few months. /\

Much of that hope cen-
ters on Commerce Sec-
retary Ron Brown. In the

past, Mr. Brown has strong-
ly advocated enforcing laws
prohibiting American com-
panies from cooperating
with the boycott. He now
heads the agency that en-
forces anti-boycott com-
pliance and whose anti-
boycott efforts have been too
lax for the tastes of most pro-
Israel activists in recent
years.

"Ron Brown is very
knowledgeable about this
issue," said Jess Hordes,
Washington director for the
Anti-Defamation League.

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