To Harold Jaffe, a thriving business community was as important as the success of his own enterprise.
So as he built Jaffe Stationers into an early office-supply superstore, he led the North Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce toward alliances with chambers in adjacent areas and promoted the idea of cooperative advertising.
“The small chambers throughout the area need to meet together on a regular basis and exchange ideas,’’ Jaffe told The Miami Herald after becoming the North Miami Beach group’s president in 1977.
He “believed in networking,’’ said daughter Ellen Jaffe, afternoon host and Community Affairs Director for 101.5 LITE FM. “He was a good capitalist and believed in supporting people in the community.’’
He always advertised in nearby high schools’ yearbooks, and got each school’s supply list so he would have everything in stock that students needed.
The Flatbush, Brooklyn native, a son of Eastern European immigrants, opened his original store, at 735 NE 167th St., in 1962, then added printing plants in North Miami and Opa-locka.
By the time he expanded into Oakland Park in 1978, Jaffe’s was one of the largest printing businesses in South Florida, with $5 million in annual revenue.
Born on Jan. 6, 1927, Jaffe died on July 12 at the home of daughter Barbara Russ in North Miami Beach. He was 85, a U.S. Army veteran who served stateside during the final months of World War II and held a music degree from Northwestern University.
Daughter Ellen said he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009, three years after the death of his wife, Sara Baumgarten Jaffe.
They married in New York in 1951, and relocated to South Florida 11 years later.
Ellen Jaffe said her parents made the decision on a plane returning home after visiting one of Harold’s brothers in North Miami Beach: the late Dr. Edward Jaffe, who had a busy family practice with Dr. Leonard Cremer, and Dr. Joseph Allison, who died in May.
“They looked at each other and said, ‘Why are we going back?’ They put the house [in Oceanside, Long Island] up for sale and moved,’’ she said.
The Jaffes shared three daughters, and a love of opera and classical music that was “one of the first things that drew them together,’’ daughter Ellen said.
Sara was a concert pianist. Harold played and also composed and conducted. They remained lifelong supporters of the arts.
Jaffe’s became a cornerstone of the North Miami Beach commercial district, along with Corky’s Restaurant, Louis Stohl’s Coney Island — a hot dog and burger joint — and Sandy’s Drugs. Customers went there for fancy wedding invitations and personalized writing paper, school supplies, and office products.
At some point, everyone in the family worked for the business: Jaffe’s wife at the store, the girls at home, where they learned how to print customized greeting cards and logo pencils on a “hot type’’ mini-press.
Jaffe, who sold the business in 1981 to Abitibi-Price Sales Corp., worked several years for the new owners, who folded what became a seven-store chain in 1990. He moved briefly to St. Petersburg, then back to Oakland Park, where he opened Copymasters USA, then into daughter Barbara’s home as a widower.
He was active in the Democratic Party, the Exchange Club, and an early incarnation of Young Israel synagogue.
In addition to daughters Ellen and Barbara, Jaffe is survived by daughter Susan Roberts, of Baltimore, brother Richard Jaffe, of New York City, seven grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 9604, Washington, D.C., 20090-6011; or Hatzalah of Miami-Dade, 1110 N.E. 163rd St. Suite 2N, North Miami Beach, Fl, 33162.
A funeral was held.