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!”