by Karen Alberg Grossman
Star merchants Isabel and Eliot, before social distancing

He’s always been a fighter and a genuine trailblazer. Many call him colorful, even a bit crazy (who else speaks in spontaneous rhymes?) but no one denies that Eliot Rabin, a former U.S. Army captain and recent candidate for NYC’s 12th Congressional district, is among the most creative and talented merchants in our business.  

And so, what if his Upper East Side store opened weeks before non-essential businesses were officially sanctioned to open their doors. “Why is a liquor store more essential than I am?” he demands to know. “I’m not forcing anyone to come in; I’m just here trying to save my business by offering beautiful clothing while giving out hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves to whoever needs them. And we’re doing business! We sold 480 ties in just a few weeks! Ties, can you imagine? Our ‘Comfort Corner’ features not just stylish masks but also all the ingredients for my special Peter Eliot Comfort Cocktail.”

His early opening (limiting customers and enforcing social distancing, of course!) generated considerable press (Tucker Carlson, Neil Cavuto, WABC news) but, he insists, only one summons. “So far, we received six police visits, 6000+ emails, 175 letters, 325 phone calls, and we’re answering everyone! And in this city of liberal Democrats, 95 percent of these emails and phone calls have been supportive. I feel incredibly humbled by all the love: a woman from Texas just mailed us $5, a couple tried to hand us $100 but I wouldn’t take it, a customer from London placed an order for our $75 cologne and insisted on paying $100.”

I explain to him that it’s about containing the spread, that many people like me are terrified to leave their homes, let alone jump on a train to go shopping in the city. “Listen, I’m 78 years old with high blood pressure, seven angioplasties, and four stents… and I’m not afraid! All I want to do is save the soul of our business. Please, let’s just open the damn stores!”


  1. I think we know somethings about the virus. Social distancing, gloves and masks will help tremendously in containing the spread of the virus. New York has to reopen. We cannot continue to remain closed. If supermarkets and pharmacies can be open there is not reason to start opening these stores.

  2. I look forward to seeing both you & Isabel when the next trade show takes place in NY city.
    Have a great holiday weekend & a wonderful spring & summer season.

  3. You are a common sense businessman, you provided masks, sanitizer, gloves etc….and you used them. WE set a standard for our clients in safety while in our businesses. You set a quality standard for your business, and , to protect your clients. They are…the reason that we are in business. I am though one of those liberal crazies….(but some are truly crazier than others, and they did not spend millions developing a business as we have). Please keep up the great work…i commend you. (oh and this liberal crazy, did business with my regular clientele all through this, with all of the proper safety precautions) My best to you.

  4. Stay strong Elliot and Isabelle! Not only does it take commitment, passion and great style sense in this wonder filled industry of ours, it takes immense strength and courage! Thank you for keeping all on the forefront. Wishing you all the very best!

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