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Sam's Sibling Rivalry

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Aug 20, 2007 2:30PM

2007_08_sams.jpgThis month's issue of Inc. Magazine has an amazing article detailing the years of infighting between brothers Darryl and Brian Rosen for control of Sam's Wine and Spirits that's a little bit sibling rivalry and a lot of "you don't have my the best interests of the company in mind." According to the article, the root issue over control of the company was one of vision: Darryl, the older brother, was the more conservative of the two, treating Sam's and its employees as family and opting to absorb the recent growth of the company before expanding further, like the Rosens have done for three generations. Brian was the more aggressive brother, emphasizing continued expansion as he became more involved in the family business.

The contrast in business philosophy led to the two brothers - and their families - not talking to each other, Brian's accusations of shady dealings by Darryl in their partnership agreement, and eventually Brian Rosen buying out Darryl, then selling a majority share of Sam's to Arbor, a local private equity firm, in January. Caught in the middle is their father, Fred Rosen. The elder Rosen is technically no longer an employee, but he still comes in at 5:30 every morning to load boxes at the front customer service desk (and still keeps a gun in a paper bag handy) in his seventies. Meanwhile, none of the Rosens has a majority share in the company started three generations ago.