THE HEADWEAR INDUSTRY LOST AN IMPORTANT HAT RETAILER - ARNOLD HATTERS

We just found out that Arnold Hatters (a retail hat institution for many years) closed their doors this month at 535 8th Ave in New York City. If you remember, this is the hat retailer that was forced out of their original NYC location (after many years) by The New York Times Company.

It seemed that Arnold Hatters never regained their retail footing. We are sorry to see them go – and hope that someday we will see them again.

This is what was on their website:

To all of our dear friends and customers,

Due to the worsening condition of the economy, we have had to close our doors and go out of business. We're very grateful for your patronage over the years.

God bless you all,

Arnold, Peter and Mark Rubin
Arnold Hatters

We also found a wonderful blog (Lost City) that talks about the demise of Arnolds Hatters at: http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/2009/06/take-off-your-hats-arnold-hatters.html

Here are some excerpts of the blog-story about the store closing:

“Getting the week off to a gloomy start is Jeremiah's Vanishing New York absolutely abysmal news that Arnold Hatters, one of the oldest and last remaining haberdasheries left in the city, has closed its doors for good, after 83 years.

Arnold Hatters was a personal favorite of mine among the old-time businesses in New York, partly because I am a hat-wearer myself and frequent such places at JJ Hat Center and Worth & Worth on a fairly steady basis. I've spoken to Arnold Rubin, and his sons Mark and Paul Rubin, on many occasions. All very nice, salt-of-the-earth people.

In retrospect, the shop's fate was sealed when they were forced to move from their longtime perch on Eighth Avenue across from Port Authority. The block was seized for the New York Times' new tower, and the Rubin's were sent packing. They landed in a far-less-visible storefront further down Eighth, near 37th. The Rubin’s were philosophical about the hand of cards dealt them, but were also fairly vocal about their anger against the Paper of Record. Mark told JVNY: "I'm positive if I was still in the old location, I'd be weathering this economy. Instead, with three kids and a mortgage, I'm writing the first resume of my life....

Some history. Arnold Hatters was always a family business. It was founded in 1926 by Mark Rubin's great uncle, Irving Garten. He opened his first store in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and soon after opened additional stores in Manhattan. Garten got out of the business when Prohibition ended, and he learned he could make more money selling booze than hat. He gave the hat business to his brother-in-law Sidney Jacobson. Sidney opened more stores, eventually moving the whole business to Midtown. There was once a store right on the corner of 42nd and Seventh Avenue.

Arnold Rubin didn't intend to sell hats all his life. He went into ship repair and worked for the Navy. But in the early '70s, he went to work for Uncle Sidney. The Eighth Avenue store opened in 1960. In 1990, it, too, almost disappeared when Sidney decided to throw in the towel. But Arnold gathered some loans and credit and reopened the Eighth Avenue store.

For most of its life, the store had a sign over it that said, not Arnold Hatters, but Knox Hats. Explanation: Uncle Sidney had a deal with Knox Hats, once a hat manufacturing concern, to stock a certain percentage of hats from the company. In exchange, Knox paid part of the rent. The arrangement was common at one time, resulting in Stetson stores, Dobbs stores, etc. The Rubin’s never changed the sign over the years, because they didn't want to confuse customers.”

Mark and Arnold Rubin in the previous location in the theatre district