,s \c 2
cobson family, Jacobson's began
as a ladies' dress and suit shop.
When Mr. Rosenfeld, a gradu-
ate of the University of Penn-
sylvania's Wharton School of
Business, purchased the origi-
nal three stores in 1939, the
company posted sales of
Now 125 years old, Jacob-
son's, Michigan's only Jewish
owned department chain, has
developed into a chain of full-
range department stores, with
sales in excess of $400 million.
Mr. Rosenfeld began his
career with the Hecht Compa-
ny, then moved on to Allied
Department Stores. He dabbled
in investment banking but
decided to return to retailing
when he found that the high
stakes, high pressure lifestyle
was not secure enough for a
man with a wife and small chil-
Mark Rosenfeld, 47, serves as
the company's chairman and
CEO. His father's three stores
have grown to include 25 locations
in the Midwest and Florida.
Born just seven years after
his father purchased the chain,
the current CEO grew up im-
mersed in the family business.
His first job involved stuffing
credit card statements into en-
velopes. "I worked for 25 cents
an hour," he says.
Today, the company's sprawl-
ing central office in Jackson has
an entire in-house credit de-
partment that serves 500,000
credit card holders. Rows of me-
chanical envelope-stuffing ma-
chines do the job that Mr.
Rosenfeld once completed by
By high school, Mark Rosen-
feld had graduated from stuff-
ing envelopes to selling
children's shoes; during college
he helped out in the accounting
and computer departments. But
Mr. Rosenfeld didn't become in-
volved in the business on a reg-
ular basis until he returned
from the army in 1972.
"Our principles don't change
very much," Mr. Rosenfeld ex-
plains. "Only the implementa-
tion and interpretation change."
The elder Mr. Rosenfeld re-
mained actively involved in the
business until his death in 1982,
soon after he relinquished his
chairmanship to Russ Fowler,
who had worked with him since
just after World War II.
This year, when Mr. Fowler
retired as chairman, Mark
Rosenfeld took over the position,
JACOBSON'S page 35
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