1950s Housewife Transforms Edina Realty Co.

1950s housewife transforms Edina Realty.
Emma Rovick transformed Edina Realty into a multimillion-dollar company.

Emma Lind Rovick was an average suburban housewife in the 1940s, when she and her husband, Odd, were busy raising two sons and a daughter. But in the early 1950s, when daughter Janice wanted a piano, Rovick went to work as a secretary in a real estate office to earn a little pin money. By 1955, she bought the then struggling Edina Realty with a $2,000 loan. Her timing couldn’t have been better: She bought the company just before Southdale mall opened in 1956, bringing Edina new residential and retail development. Within a year, Rovick turned her investment into $2 million in sales. Rovick inherited three associates when she bought the business, then located at 5010 France Ave. Within 15 years, she was managing 100 salespeople in five branch offices. At a time when most married women didn’t work outside the home, Rovick was a leader in the male-dominated industry and earned the respect of her colleagues. She received the first-ever Outstanding Businessperson Award from the Edina Chamber of Commerce in 1978 and was posthumously inducted into the Shenehon Center for Real Estate’s Hall of Fame in 2011. In 1978, Edina Realty became the first real estate company in the Midwest to reach $200 million in sales volume in one year. In 1984, Rovick retired, selling the company to sons Roger and David. Rovick died three years later, at age 77, but she left a lasting legacy. Thanks to Rovick and her Edina Realty sales signs popping up in yards throughout the Midwest, the small village of Edina became known nationwide. Marci Matson is executive director of the Edina Historical Society. Visit edinahistoricalsociety.org for information.