ON ANY given day in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1983, it would not have been unusual to see Rose Blumkin, the 89-year-old founder and owner of the largest single furniture store company in America, driving her scooter around her mini-empire, Nebraska Furniture Mart. However, one day that year, some customers saw something that was unusual: she was in the middle of an aisle, negotiating with future billionaire Warren Buffett over the sale of her company.
“Warren,” she said, “I’m tired of fighting with my children over how to run this place, and I want to slow down.”
“Rose, I’ve always told you that when you were ready to sell, I would buy. What’s your price?” replied Warren.
They shook hands, and the deal was ...