Interview with Mike Ades, Janice Crane, Joe Rosenberg, JoAnn Miller, and Bernard Miller, August 27, 2018

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Good morning. This is August 27th, 2018. My name is Beth Goldstein, and I'm an interviewer with, uh, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Oral History Project on Jewish Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Beth Goldstein, the interviewer, starts out by introducing herself and explains that she is with the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Oral History Project on Jewish Kentucky. Beth then introduces Janice Crane and Mike Ades. Janice Crane talks about her family and where they grew up. She describes how her family emigrated from Lithuania and ended up in Lexington, Kentucky. Crane remembers more stores being Jewish-owned than not. Mike Ades has a long family history of running a dry goods shop in Lexington. This shop, called Ades Dry Goods, was started by Mike’s grandfather David Ades.

Keywords: Ades Dry Goods; Beth Goldstein; Big department stores; David Ades; Downtown; Family history; Introductions; Jacobs; Janice Crane; Janice Fernheimer; Jewish; Jewish Kentucky; Jewish businesses; Jewish shops; Lithuania; Louie B. Nunn Center; Louis Ades; Mike Ades; Restaurants; Steinberg; Tennessee; University of Kentucky; West Virginia; Wholesale Dry Goods

Subjects: Emigration and immigration.; Entrepreneurship; Families.; Genealogy; Immigrants--Kentucky; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

00:04:00 - Ades Dry Goods Store

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Partial Transcript: Oh, we're entering Ades Dry Goods Store, now Portofino's Restaurant. Welcome. Mike, can you tell us a little bit more about this--the business?

Segment Synopsis: The old building where Ades Dry Goods used to reside has now turned into a renovated restaurant called Portofino’s. Mike Ades describes each room in the restaurant and tells what purpose it used to serve in the Ades Dry Goods Store. They sold items such as work boots, tobacco, cotton, blankets, and much more. The entire fourth floor of the building was dedicated solely to toys. The store served many smaller stores in states such as Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Mike Ades intended to go college to get a degree in business and take over the family store. Instead, he ended up becoming a lawyer.

Keywords: Ades Dry Goods; Business schools; Family businesses; Kentucky; Lawyers; Merchants; Offices; Portofino's Restaurant; Receiving rooms; Salesmen; Summer jobs; Tennessee; West Virginia

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Genealogy; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

00:06:58 - Downtown Lexington in the 1930s and 1940s

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Partial Transcript: Very good. And what was the relationship between this store and other downtown stores, then?

Segment Synopsis: Janice Crane talks about her mother buying product from the Ades Dry Goods Store because they “sold a little bit of everything.” Businesses in Lexington were very close to one another. Janice Crane’s mother was a part of the Sisterhood with the synagogue and she would often go to Ades Dry Goods for various things that they needed, such as a new refrigerator or stove. Mike’s grandfather David, the owner at the time, would generously donate the things that the Sisterhood would ask for; just one of the many ways the Jewish community helped each other out.

Keywords: 2nd Street; Ades Dry Goods; City Commissioners Board; David Ades; Department stores; Donations; Eastern Lexington; Family businesses; First National Bank; Generosity; Gratz Park; Hebrew School; Housing; JP Morgan Chase; Jefferson Street; Jewish community; Jimmy Franco; Ohavay Zion Synagogue; Optimist Club; Organizations; Richmond Road; Short Street; Sisterhood; Synagogues

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

00:10:53 - Early 1900s Jewish culture in Lexington

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Partial Transcript: Well, as long as you've opened up that topic, I know with all of the Jewish businesses and residences in the area that there was also a Jewish communal life in this area.

Segment Synopsis: The Ohavay Zion Synagogue started out as an informal gathering of Orthodox Jews in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Beth Goldstein asks Janice if there were any women who owned businesses since they have been talking solely about businesses owned by men. Janice says that her mother actually owned a jewelry store called Gigi’s Sample Dresses. Mike and Janice continue naming off the stores in downtown Lexington and explain who owned each of them and what street they were located on. Many of the stores have turned into more modern office spaces, however, some of the stores they mention are still standing today.

Keywords: 1800s; 3rd Street; 4th Street; Adaline Moskowitz; Alumni Drive; Barney Miller's; Daily minyan; Early 1900s; Gigi's Sample Dresses; Gullers; Helen Levy; Jewelry stores; Jewish communal life; Jewish community; Jewish-owned stores; Joe Wile Jr.; Joseph Wile Sr.; Laundromats; Lim and Needle; Main Street; Maxwell Street; Meyers; Minyan; Nathan Brisbane; Norman Grossman; Odd Fellows Hall; Ohavay Zion Synagogue; Orthodox Jews; Race Street; Rosie Grossman; Sam Levy; Synagogues; Upper Street; Water Street; Wolf Wile's; Women-owned Stores

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Jewish women; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

GPS: Location of Odd Fellows Hall
Map Coordinates: 38.041, -84.465
00:19:40 - Decline of Jewish businesses in Lexington

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Partial Transcript: I think there were two main reasons for the, uh, decline of, uh--(clears throat)--Jewish businesses in downtown Lexington.

Segment Synopsis: Mike believes that the two reasons leading to the decline of Jewish businesses are that shopping super-centers started to attract much more of the demand from people and that third and fourth generation family members started working other occupations and not running family businesses. If there are no family members to carry on the business, nobody is going to run it the exact way the family wishes. This, along with declining sales ultimately led to the demise of Jewish-owned stores in Lexington primarily in the 1970s and 1980s. Now that many job opportunities are readily available in the city, fewer people rely on starting a business to make a living.

Keywords: Barney Miller's; Decline of Jewish businesses; Family businesses; Fourth generation; Immigration; Jewish businesses; Joe Rosenberg's; Opportunities; Retail businesses; Second generation; Shopping centers; Suburban Lexington; Third generation

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

00:21:39 - Lexington jobs

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Partial Transcript: Uh, I have a question about who worked in the stores. So, you've talked about who owned them, and a little bit about, Mike, for example, yourself working in the store.

Segment Synopsis: In order to keep jobs in community, most businesses hired locally. Many of the women generally worked in the office as bookkeepers or as clerks. Mike talks about the many jobs he had in high school that usually involved unskilled labor of various types. Janice adds that there were many job opportunities available, especially in the summer. One of the movie theaters downtown where Janice sometimes visited was Jewish-owned for a while. There were two other theaters in the area, all competing against one another. Janice mentions that one theater, the State Theater, had a separate entrance for African Americans.

Keywords: Ashland Theater; Baker Shoe Store; Ben Ally Theater; Ben Snyders; Chevy Chase; Discrimination; Gender roles; Gift horse; Inflation; Janice Solomon; Jewish-owned stores; Jobs; John Jacobs and Sons; Lexington Dry Goods Company; Locally hired workers; Louisville (Ky.); Movie theaters; New Way Boot Shop; Opera House; Rosenberg; Second generation businesses; Segregation; Simone Bloomfield-Solomon; Slyto family; The Kentucky Theater; The State Theater; The Strand; Winniker Store

Subjects: Employment--Kentucky; Entrepreneurship; Families.; Immigrants--Kentucky; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

00:26:43 - Segregation in Lexington / Jewish holidays

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Partial Transcript: So you, you mentioned just a moment ago about there being a separate door for the African American community to enter the, the, uh, probably the State Theater, at least.

Segment Synopsis: The movie theater was not the only segregated business in Lexington. Janice names off a few other businesses that were segregated in some way. Schools were also split by color. She says she doesn’t specifically remember any bad incidents, but that segregation was definitely present. She does recall that the Phoenix Hotel would not let the black basketball players stay there at one point but that is the worst occurrence she can recollect. Most store owners were white, so there was not discrimination between stores buying or selling product. Jewish holidays are mentioned briefly at the end of the segment. Religion usually came before work.

Keywords: 1950s; 1960s; 3rd Street; Ades Dry Goods Company; Black housekeepers; Discrimination; Jewish Holidays; McCrory's; Parades; Phoenix Hotel; Public buses; Race Street; Rosh Hashana; Sabbath; Segregated schooling; Segregation; Separate seating; Shopping; State Theater; Tennessee-Kentucky game; White-owned stores; Wolf Wile's; Woolworth's; Yom Kippur

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Entrepreneurship; Families.; Holidays.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Lexington (Ky.); Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Racism; Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership; Worship (Judaism)

00:30:53 - Describing the downtown block of Lexington's Jewish stores

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Partial Transcript: So we're gonna move over one block now.

Segment Synopsis: Janice says that most of the Northside block is Jewish-owned. Meyers, who mainly sold furs to ladies, was a very popular store. Hymson’s Tots and Teens would host a style show yearly that was run by the Sisterhood. The little girls would dress up in dresses and model for the synagogue. Eight or nine other stores on the Northside block are listed off. Janice and Mike recall the owners and what they sold at most of the stores.

Keywords: Al Winniker; Barney Miller's; Ben Snyder's; Bill Michalove; Bourbon County government; Brandy's Kitchen; Carl Meyers; Cincinnati (Ohio); Emanuel Meyers; Evelyn Hymson; Gift Horse; Gigi's Sample Dresses; Herschel Lowenthal; Hymson's Tots and Teens; Jimmy Winniker; Lafayette Hotel; Limestone; London Luggage; Lowenthal's; Main Street; Marvin Meyers; Mary Winniker; Meyers; Mill Street; Morris Hymson; Northside; Phoenix Hotel; Rosenberg's; Roy Meyers; Samford Lowenthal; Sisterhood; Style shows; Sydelle Meyers; Synagogues; Tiny's Jewelry; Turfland Mall; William Lowenthal; William Michalove; William Winniker; Winniker's; Wolf Wile's

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

00:40:43 - Keeping kosher in Lexington, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: I have a question about, uh, where people ate. So the sh--where did the shopkeepers eat?

Segment Synopsis: There were a few places to eat, but Janice remembers Brandy’s Kitchen always being full. McCrory’s was also a popular lunchtime spot to eat. Other than these two restaurants, drugstores with counters to eat at were the other choices. Many shop owners would eat at their homes since they oftentimes lived in the upstairs of their shops. As for the Jewish community who kept kosher, there weren’t many options. Keeping kosher was not as easy as it may sound, especially since Lexington wasn’t as big a city as it is now.

Keywords: 4th Street; Barney Miller's; Brandy's Kitchen; Broadway; Chevy Chase; Dime stores; Drugstores; East Main Street; Farmers markets; Food; Greenwalds; Hotel dining rooms; Jewish lifestyle; Joe Rosenberg; Kosher; Kosher butchers; Kosher delis; Lafayette Hotel; Limestone Street; Main Street; McCroy's; Minnie Morris; Mr. Guller; Phoenix Hotel; Produce warehouses; Restaurants; Short Street; Upper Street; Water Street; Zebra Lounge

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership; Worship (Judaism)

00:44:31 - Visual tour of Ades Dry Goods (now Portofino's) with Mike Ades

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Partial Transcript: The room we're in now was where, uh, goods would be, uh, unloaded from trucks from the outside where the patio is now, and then they would be distributed to various areas of the, uh, store.

Segment Synopsis: This section is very similar to the previous explanation of Ades Dry Goods, however, Mike Ades goes into deeper detail about each and every room of the store. These areas include the loading dock, shipping room, and the first floor which includes a wine cellar. He explains where certain items such as the safe were kept and what they were used for.

Keywords: Ades Dry Goods; Ades Lexington Dry Goods; Delivering goods; Loading docks; Original features of stores; Receiving; Shipping rooms; Tours; Walkthroughs

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

00:46:27 - History of Barney Miller's, Inc.

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Partial Transcript: It's our pleasure to have another guest join us on our walk through Jewish downtown Lexington.

Segment Synopsis: Bernard (Barney) Miller gets introduced by Beth Goldstein and joins the tour. Barney is a third-generation business owner. Barney’s family moved around the United States for a few years but ended up back in Lexington. His grandfather opened an auto parts store in 1922. Cars were very new at the time. Ultimately, cars started needing less of the parts that his grandfather was selling so he started to sell more things such as radios and televisions instead to stay in business. The moved buildings in 1939, where Barney Miller’s, Inc. currently stands today. The store is just down the road from the older location that Barney’s grandfather started at.

Keywords: 1922; 232 East Main Street; 97th Year; Auto parts stores; Barney Miller; Barney Miller's Incorporated; Bernard Anderson Miller; Betty Miller; Cable television business; Centennial; Congress Bowling Lanes; Downsize; East Main Street; Family businesses; First radios; First televisions; Harry Miller; Installation of electronics; Jewish-owned businesses; JoAnn Miller; New Hampshire; Repair shops; Second generation; Shelbyville (Ky.); Technology; Third generation

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

GPS: Barney Miller's Incorporated, 232 East Main Street
Map Coordinates: 38.044, -84.494
00:52:27 - Life of Barney Miller, Jr.

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Partial Transcript: And did your father have brothers or sisters at all?

Segment Synopsis: Barney talks about his family and where everyone currently stays. The only outlier might be his ninety-six year old aunt that lives in California. Barney grew up in the business so he continued to stay with it until this day. His interest in electronics played a large role in his sticking with the business as it kept him interested. As a third-generation business owner, Barney is different from many families. Many family businesses stop running after the second generation due to other available job opportunities. Barney is proud of his company and the goods/services that they provide. He lists several items that he sells and companies that he assists with technology.

Keywords: 1922; Brent Miller; Brice Miller; Central Kentucky; Cincinnati (Ohio); Eastern Kentucky; Electronic Systems; Frederick Douglas High School; Group CJ; Janice Crane; Keeneland; Louisville (Ky.); Management; Marketing; Mike Ades; Northern Kentucky; Renee Jackson Agency; Renee Miller; San Jose (Calif.); Somerset (Ky.); Third generation; University of Kentucky; Water company

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

00:55:43 - Bernard Miller on downtown Lexington

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Partial Transcript: I'm curious if you have, uh, memories that you can share of downtown Lexington from when you were a young boy?

Segment Synopsis: Holidays, parades, and lively retail stores are all things that Barney clearly remembers standing out in Lexington. Barney recalls getting all dressed up and visiting the Phoenix Hotel with his grandfather to get lunch and a haircut. Just as Mike and Janice mentioned, Bernard recollects the strong network of Jewish stores in Lexington. He names off a few stores of the stores, such as Meyer’s, that were previously mentioned by both Mike and Janice.

Keywords: Closing of businesses; Downtown; Evolution of business; Family bonding; Jewish Business Network; Jewish businesses; Levis's Restaurant; Meyers Clothing Store; Parades; Phoenix Hotel; Portofino's Restaurant; Retail stores

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

00:57:50 - Visual tour of Barney Miller's Inc.

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Partial Transcript: Very good. What I'd love to have you do is to give us a sense of the layout of the store.

Segment Synopsis: Barney’s store does not have a very common setup. He has an area dedicated to outdoor entertainment. He points out his smart home technology and all of the cool features that the systems can control. Stereo systems are a unique piece that Barney sells. He notes that not many other stores sell them now as the technology is starting to get less attractive. Turntables and records are another area in which Barney Miller’s, Inc. excels. He explains a few more of the rooms around the store and what is sold in each area. Lastly, Barney’s technology installation team is a group which he gives great praise to. They do a lot of work around Lexington installing systems for companies.

Keywords: Barney Miller's Incorporated; Evolution of the store; Home theater; Installation department; Layout; Outdoor entertainment area; Receiving; Record department; Retail environment; Shipping; Smart homes; Stereo systems; Technology; Tours; Video rental department; Warehouses

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

01:01:02 - Bernard and JoAnn Miller on personal and store history

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Partial Transcript: This is my mom JoAnn Miller.

Segment Synopsis: Barney Miller introduces JoAnn Miller as his mother and a customer service-person in the family store. Both interviewees name previous staff-members and use antique photographs describe various periods in the store's history (i.e.: specializing in auto parts, radio electronics, records and movies). JoAnn Miller briefly describes downtown clothing and etiquette during the 1940s and 1950s. Both interviewees describe how Barney Miller's, Inc. partners with other small businesses in Lexington. JoAnn Miller describes her responsibilities in the store, dubbing herself as a “gabber” rather than a customer service-person. Both interviewees describe and name the bowling alley Congress Bowling Lanes, which once occupied the upper floor of the store building. She describes her time as an educator at Maxwell Elementary and as an elementary education major at the University of Kentucky. JoAnn says that most her memories of downtown Lexington are mostly of shopping, describing shops that she frequented along Main Street during the 1940s and 1950s. She quips that she “used to go up and down the street dating each merchant” before marrying Harry Miller. She laments that most of the local Jewish businesses from her childhood have since closed their doors but is proud that her family’s store has remained in Lexington for nearly one-hundred years.

Keywords: 1930s; 1940s; 1950s; Antique photographs; Audiovisual; Auto accessories businesses; Barney Miller; Ben Snyder's store; Bowling alleys; Business partners; Canary Cottage; Centennial; Chamber of Commerce; Chris Holmes; Columbia Avenue; Conference rooms; Congress Bowling Lanes; Customer service; Customers; Downtown; Elementary education; Family businesses; Harry Miller; Hymson's Tots and Teens Store; Installation of electronics; Jewish businesses; Jewish merchants; Jewish-owned businesses; JoAnn Miller; Main Street; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Maxwell Elementary School; Miller family; Outdoor electronics; Purcell's Department Store; Radios; Shopping; Small businesses; University of Kentucky; West Main Street; Will Johnson; Wolf Wile; Wolf Wiles Clothing Store; Women's fashion

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

01:07:36 - Introduction to Joe Rosenberg and Joe Rosenberg's Jewelers

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Partial Transcript: It's my pleasure to have Joe Rosenberg join us now for our walking tour of Jewish downtown Lexington.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer introduces Joe Rosenberg as a third-generation family-business owner in downtown Lexington of a jewelry store called Joe Rosenberg’s Jewelers. Joe, who was named for his grandfather, recounts the locational history of the family business, which began at 141 Water Street in 1896 before moving to 126 South Upper Street in 1967. Rosenberg recounts that his family purchased their business’ location on South Upper Street in 1979 after completing a fifty-year lease, which Rosenberg’s grandfather had “confidently” signed onto at the start of the Great Depression. He describes the present-day City Center block and how his family became landlords to neighboring properties on that block. He describes the most recent move of the business to the ground floor of 163 East Main Street, which was originally the location of both Barrister Hall and Hymson’s Tots and Teens.

Keywords: 126 South Upper Street; 128 South Upper Street; 141 Water Street; 163 East Main Street; 1896; 1929; 1949; 1954; 1967; 2008; CentrePointe; City Center; Family businesses; Generational change; Generations; Great Depression; Joe Rosenberg; Joe Rosenberg's; Landlords; Limestone Street; Main Street; Property leasing; Rosenberg family; Small businesses; Upper Street; Urban renewal; Vine Street [new name of Water Street]

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

GPS: Joe Rosenberg's Jewelers (Current Location)
Map Coordinates: 38.045400, -84.495450
01:11:16 - History of Rosenberg family and Jewish community in Lexington

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Partial Transcript: So, can you tell us a little bit about how the business evolved from, uh, when the--

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg describes his family’s history in Lexington, which began with his father working for the owner of a pawn-shop just before the twentieth century. He explains that his father -- the youngest of ten children -- grew up in a three-bedroom house on West High Street, which also housed a mikvah (or ritual bath) for the Lexington’s Jewish community during the early 20th century. Rosenberg then goes on to describe the dynamics of Lexington’s Jewish community until the incorporation of Ohavay Zion Synagogue, as well as how his family was consequential to the purchase of its then-location at 120 West Maxwell Street. He concludes that, with the purchase of the synagogue, the Jewish community cemented itself in downtown Lexington, all “within two or three blocks.”

Keywords: 141 Water Street; 1896; 225 West High Street; Ades family; Jewish merchants; Joe Rosenberg; Louis Rosenberg; Mary Rosenberg; Mikvah; Odd Fellows Lodge; Ohavay Zion Synagogue; Religious services; Rosenberg; Rosenberg family; Skuller; Skuller's Jewelry; Synagogue services

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership; Worship (Judaism)

01:14:12 - History of Rosenberg family businesses

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Partial Transcript: What else?

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg recounts that his grandfather helped his children set up their own businesses throughout downtown Lexington, most of which were jewelry stores -- except Phil and Molly Rosenberg’s Photo Center -- that opened any-time between 1910 and 1945. He describes how Joe Rosenberg’s served as a “feeder store” for the other family businesses (i.e.: Rosenberg Bros, Crown Jewelers) until Joe Rosenberg, Sr.’s three youngest boys took over their father’s store before his death in 1949; “as the only male” amongst the three men’s children, Joe Rosenberg, Jr. was made the sole owner of the business several decades afterwards. Rosenberg then recounts the locations of jewelry stores and their relationship to the family -- noting that Phillip Gall’s store served more as a firearms dealership than a jewelry store. He then describes the closing of most of the Rosenberg stores around the 1980s, which he credited to both retiring owners and competition with suburban mall complexes.

Keywords: 126 Upper Street; Ben Snyder's store; Bogart's store; Competitors; Crown Jewelers; Elliot Rosenberg; Esther Rosenberg; Family businesses; Generations; Hymson's Tots and Teens Store; Jeff Kessler; Jewelers; Jewelry stores; Jewish merchants; Joe Rosenberg; Limestone Street; Louis Rosenberg; Main Street; Mary Rosenberg; Molly Rosenberg; Phil Rosenberg; Phillip Gall's store; Rosenberg Brothers; Rosenberg family; Shopping malls; Skuller's Jewelry; Sporting goods; Upper Street; Vine Street [new name of Water Street]; Winniker's store; Wolf Rosenberg

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

01:19:43 - Jewelry industry in Lexington, 1920s through 1980s

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Partial Transcript: So with all those different jewelry stores, were they in competition?

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg describes the friendly competition between his family’s jewelry shops, distinguishing differences between the family businesses. He notes that Louie Rosenberg was among the first to utilize credit to sell his merchandise and contrasts the Rosenbergs’ fine jewelry with those of Bogart’s and Skuller’s family businesses -- both of which specialized in “sterling flatware and fine china.” He notes that Ben Miller was one of the first to claim that he created the Kentucky Cluster, as well as which stores specialized in jewelry repair.

Keywords: Ben Miller; Bogart's store; Competitors; Credit; Crown Jewelers (store); Customer service; Customers; Family businesses; Finance; Fine china; Fine silver; Frakes Jewelry Repair & Fine Jewelry (store); Jewelers; Jewelry repair; Jewelry stores; Jewelry, fine; Jewelry, silver and gold; Jewish merchants; Jewish-owned businesses; Joe Rosenberg; Kentucky cluster (ring); Lexington Jewelers' (store); Louis Rosenberg; Mithril Jewelers'; Railroad industry; Rosenberg family; Skuller's Jewelry; Sterling flatware; Wolf Rosenberg; World War II

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

01:23:41 - Influence of railroad on Lexington businesses / Changes in clientele at Joe Rosenberg’s

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Partial Transcript: What about watches and timepieces?

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg describes the railroad industry’s effect on Lexington’s watch industry, and how his father found an essential service in watch distribution during World War Two. He describes the relationship between the railroad station and Lexington’s businesses during the twentieth century, as well as its location relative to his family store and present-day Lexington. He asserts that the railway was not a major draw for city tourism, but instead became a fundamental part of multiple industries in Lexington (i.e.: tobacco, equine). Rosenberg goes on to explain how the customers to his family’s store have changed over the century. He states that the store served the working-man during its early years, and indicates that its customer base has shifted toward individuals with regular income. He credits this initial situation to the store’s location on Upper Street, which was host to frequent flooding and a nearby wholesale market. He also notes that his uncle, Louie Rosenberg -- who introduced credit to the Lexington jewelry practice -- was out of business before the end of World War Two.

Keywords: Customer service; Customers; Equine industry; Main Street; Railroad; Railroad industry; Social divisions; Social economics; Socioeconomics; Tobacco industry; Upper Street; Urban planning; Vine Street [new name of Water Street]; Watch industry; Watches; Watchmaking; World War II

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership; World War, 1939-1945

01:28:49 - Rosenberg's during the Depression years

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Partial Transcript: Did, uh, your, your family weather the Depression?

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg describes his family’s experiences during the Great Depression, recounting a story wherein his grandmother prepared extra food for the homeless, whom she served in her backyard. He recalls contemporary folklore that a business’s success was determined by whether or not a WPA mural was painted for its building -- most of which were of life in central and urban Kentucky.

Keywords: 1930s; 225 West High Street; Basic needs; Feeding the Homeless; Food; Great Depression; Homelessness; Local folklore; Murals; Necessities; Paintings; Rosenberg family; Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Subjects: Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

01:30:10 - Layout and specialty items of Joe Rosenberg’s

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Partial Transcript: So those--that, that store was--the, the ground floor was the jewelry and--

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg describes the original layout of the Upper Street location, which began as a pawn-shop before expanding to a three-floor operation. The first floor was reserved for jewelry sales, the second alternated between luggage, sporting goods and musical instruments, and the third functioned as both storage and an in-building shooting range which covered the length of the store. He comments that after taking over the family store in 1979, he surrendered the business’s firearms license, instead choosing to focus on jewelry and musical instruments.

Keywords: 121 South Upper Street; 1979; Firearms industry; Jewelry stores; Joe Rosenberg; Joe Rosenberg's (store); Musical instruments; Pawn shops; Phillip Gall's (store); Playing trombone; Shooting ranges; Sporting goods; Upper Street

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

GPS: Historic location of Joe Rosenberg's at 121 South Upper Street
Map Coordinates: 38.0470619,-84.4982403
01:32:19 - Joe Rosenberg’s childhood experience of Jewish Lexington

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Partial Transcript: What about some other stories?

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg recalls his childhood experiences with the Lexington synagogue, noting that it was safe for him to walk around downtown alone, upwards of age ten. He describes taking a part-time job at a Jewish-owned business next to the synagogue while also attending Hebrew school. He recounts that Dunn’s Drug Store was a regular gathering place for Jewish children during intermissions of service at Ohavay Zion Synagogue, which did not serve food during Yom Kippur. He describes his local rabbi, Bernard Schwab, and how a cage of monkeys entertained community members after services. He finishes with a statement on the nature of memory and the importance of oral history in documenting second-hand stories of Jewish merchants in Lexington.

Keywords: 120 West Maxwell Street; 1950s; 290 South Limestone Street; Childhood; Coffee; Drugstores; Dunn's Drug Store; Entertainment; Family stories; Food customs; Hebrew schools; High holidays (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur); Irv Rosenstein; Jewish communities; Jewish merchants; Joe Rosenberg; Kennedy assassination; Kent's Menswear; Kimball family; Limestone Street; Maxwell Street; Memories; Monkeys; Ohavay Zion Synagogue (Lexington); Rabbi Bernard Schwab; Yom Kippur

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Fasts and feasts--Judaism.; Holidays.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish children; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership; Worship (Judaism)

01:38:34 - Notable members of Jewish Lexington / Jewish experiences in law, finance, and food industries

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Partial Transcript: I'm going to ask for just a few more memories, then, and that's as we--you already mentioned Skuller's.

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg describes Lina Skuller as a great representation of Lexington’s Jewish community, and recounts some of the “characters” -- or notable persons -- who inhabited Jewish Lexington.
Rosenberg goes on to describe the success that Jewish men experienced in legal practice, as well as the discrimination which they experienced in the downtown banking industry. He then goes on to describe how Jewish businesses were financed during the twentieth century through a variety of family funds and loans. Rosenberg explains that his grandfather, Joe Rosenberg I, was originally a peddler from Baltimore who came to central Kentucky through his business in Appalachia, where he sold eyeglasses and lenses after starting with pots and pans on the coast.
He explains there were few kosher or Jewish eateries in the city of Lexington, with the major exception of Reverend Goller’s butcher-shop. This led to a sub-culture of eating from home or the synagogue within the Lexington Jewish community.

Keywords: Appalachia; Baltimore, Maryland; Bankers; Board of directors; Board of directors, BB&T; Board of trustees; Central Kentucky; Charlie Rosenberg; Dunn's Drug Company (Lexington); Dunn's Drug Store; Eyeglasses; Finance; Financing businesses; Flea markets; Food customs; Fourth Street (Lexington); Guller's butcher shop (Lexington); Harry Miller; Harry Rosenberg; Hymson's Tots and Teens Store (Lexington); Irv Rosenstein; Jewelers; Jewish communities; Jewish eateries; Jewish economic niche; Jewish merchants; Jewish restaurants; Jewish-owned businesses; Joe Rosenberg; Julius Rosenberg; Kashrut (see also Kosher food); Kosher delis; Kosher food (see also Kashrut); Lawyers; Lena Skuller; Local elites; Locals; Main Street; Mike Ades; Peddlers; Phillip Gall; Phoenix Hotel; Reverend Guller; Sam Milner; Sidney Gall; Sidney Meyers; Skuller's Jewelry; Steve Kuller; Stoll Keenan; Upper Street; Vine Street [new name of Water Street]; Winniker's (store)

Subjects: Discrimination.; Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Jewish leadership; Jews--Identity.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

01:45:46 - Social makeup of business clientele in downtown Lexington / Jewish agribusiness and equine industry

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Partial Transcript: So, uh, one other, uh, area that we had talked about a little bit the other day in preparation for today, um, is, uh, that the, um, kind of social class composition of Lexington...

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg describes how stores and businesses in downtown Lexington intentionally cater to different kinds of social classes, primarily through the pricing of their inventories. He contrasts the products and practices two Jewish-owned businesses which served clientele of different socioeconomic groups, while noting that the more “elitist” businesses utilized connections to the horse industry. From here, Rosenberg transitions to the topic of Jewish agribusiness in Lexington, noting that Jewish families were largely absent from the local horse industry before the mid-twentieth century, although he is unsure of the reason.

Keywords: 1970s; Agribusiness; Agriculture; Balton family; Ben Snyder's store; Business clientele; Cattle industry; Customers; Equine industry; Interstate 75; Jewish economic niche; Jewish-owned businesses; Jews in civic/social scene; Joe Levy; Levy family; Local elites; Main Street; Mikler family; Retail clothing; Richmond Road; Sheep industry; Sidney Meyers; Sidney Meyers' store; Social divisions; Tobacco industry; Wheel family; Wolf Wile; Wolf Wile's store

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

01:49:09 - Rosenberg family and Lexington real estate

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Partial Transcript: You also mentioned that, uh, your father got involved with some real estate development.

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg speaks on his father’s connections with real estate and urban development in Lexington, describing the residential projects which his father partook in through the 1970s. He speaks a fair amount of his father’s involvement and pride in developing the Oakwood subdivision of Lexington, a historically black neighborhood in the northwestern part of the city. He maintains that his father’s “seasonal” work-calendar enabled his involvement in residential real estate, whereas his own involvement in the city’s development has remained commercial in nature.

Keywords: 1950s; 1970s; Affordable housing; Building businesses; Construction; Home insurance; Housing; International Business Machines Corporation (IBM); Joe Rosenberg; Julius Rosenberg; Kingston Road; Lansdowne Merrick; Lansdowne Shopping Center; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Oakwood Drive; Property insurance; Real estate; Regency Road; Relations with African Americans; Residence; Shandon Drive; Stores closing for holidays; Subdivisions; Tates Creek Road; Town and Country Builders; Town and Country Insurance

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

01:52:45 - Joe Rosenberg’s connections with governmental and business organizations

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Partial Transcript: Well, one last question, and, uh, and then, uh--thank you for your time.

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg lists and describes his present-day connections with Lexington’s government and business organizations, noting that although his involvement is “weaning,” he believes it is important to be involved in his community. He notes his past involvement in boards and initiatives for legal, financial and health services within the city and describes his forthcoming commercial program as Lexington’s “next great project.”

Keywords: Bankers; Board of directors; CentrePointe; Chamber of Commerce; City Center; Community development; Community involvement; Department of Social Services; Downtown; Jewish economic niche; Jewish organizations; Jewish-owned businesses; Joe Rosenberg; Local elites; Senior citizens' centers

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership

01:54:29 - Visual walking tour of downtown Lexington with Mike Ades

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Partial Transcript: The, uh, corner building on this block was the, uh, Meyer's store.

Segment Synopsis: Lexington native Mike Ades takes viewers on a "walking tour" of locations and buildings that were historically owned and operated by Jewish persons and families. Ades describes the businesses and architecture planned for the upcoming City Center while describing the historic Jewish businesses that were once in their locations. He notes that some of the city's downtown architecture has changed since the 1970s, to the point that some of the historical architecture has been completely removed from the city's landscape.

Keywords: 1912; Ben Snyder's store; Bourbon County Government building; Bourbon County, Kentucky; CentrePointe; City Center; Downtown Lexington; East Main Street; Family businesses; Hotel Lafayette; Jewish-owned businesses; Joe Rosenberg's store; Lafayette Hotel; Limestone Street; Main Street; Marriott; Michaelove family; Michaelove family drugstore; New Way Boot Shop; Odd Fellows Lodge; Ohavay Zion Synagogue; Phoenix Hotel; Phoenix Park; Residence; Residence Inn; Skuller; Skuller's Jewelry; Skuller's street clock; Urban planning; Vine Street [new name of Water Street]; West Main Street

Subjects: Entrepreneurship; Families.; Jewish businesspeople; Jewish families.; Jews--Identity.; Lexington (Ky.); Small business--Kentucky; Small business--Ownership