Page 447-448

Joseph Brown

Joseph Brown is the president of the corporation conducting business under the title of Brown-Graff Company, and the concern is one of the most important of its kind in Grand Rapids, with facilities and service of the most modern order. Mr. Brown has made a record of success in the salvage business, and much of the business of his company is in the buying and dismantling of factories. In the extensive operations of the company an average of one thousand tons of material a month is handled; electric balers have capacity for the handling of bales weighing from fifteen pounds to 2,500 pounds, and the corps of employees average from twenty-five to fifty persons, according to the season. The company was formed in 1921, obtained land on Lexington avenue, and there erected the present large building that serves as the headquarters of the prosperous business. Mr. Brown was born in Russia and was three years of age when he came with his parents to the United States, the family home having been established in the city of Chicago, where he was reared to adult age and received his youthful education. In 1900 Mr. Brown came to Grand Rapids, and within that same year was here solemnized his marriage to Miss Dora Goldman, who was born and reared in this city. Ambitious and industrious, Mr. Brown has never failed to find opportunity for profitable business activity. Shortly after his arrival in Grand Rapids he engaged in the salvage business, with an equipment consisting of a horse and small wagon. He worked assiduously, was fair and liberal in his dealings, and soon his business assumed an expanding tendency. In 1914 he became associated with John Boter and, after wrecking the old Pantlind Hotel, organized the Grand Rapids Salvage Company, a concern now known as the Grand Rapids Steel & Supply Company, and with this concern he continued his active alliance until 1920, when he sold his interest in the business, the following year having been marked by his forming a partnership with E. H. and S. L. Graff, under the firm name of Brown-Graff Company, which has been retained since the incorporation of the business. Mr. Brown is also chairman of the board of directors of the Kent Laundry Company, located at 516 – 700 Letellier street, southwest, of which his son, Manuel Brown, is president. Mr. Brown is a loyal and appreciative American citizen, takes deep interest and pride in his home city, and is always ready to aid projects brought forward for its general good, and is an active and valued member of the local Association of Commerce. He is affiliated with the Elks and the Masonic fraternity, including the Mystic Shrine, and he is a life member of the Masonic Country club of his home city. He and his wife have three fine sons, Manuel, Louis and Gilbert. The eldest son, Manuel, was afforded the advantages of the Webb Academy, at Grand Rapids, and Louis attended Ferris Institute, at Big Rapids. Both are now associated with their father’s business, and Gilbert, the youngest son, is still attending school.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 24 March 2005