Victory Favors the Ready

IN THE early 1980s, Rose Blumkin and her son Louie regularly spurned offers to sell their Nebraska Furniture Mart, by then the largest furniture store in North America. Housed under one roof, the multiacre store sold more than $100 million of furniture a year.

One of the offers they had summarily dismissed had come from Warren, who wanted to make a deal to add the legendary retailer to the Berkshire Hathaway family. The fact that the store sold ten times the volume of stores of similar size had not escaped his notice.

A Jewish immigrant who had escaped the brutality of czarist pogroms and the Russian Revolution, Rose (known to all as Mrs. B) had founded the store in an Omaha basement in 1937. “If you have the ...

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