In the 1920s my grandfather Ralph Jabbour came to the United States. An expert in textiles, he specialized in fine lace, very much in fashion during this time. He sold his lace door-to-door to manufacturers. Among the manufacturers he met and forged a lifelong friendship with was John Matouk, founder of John Matouk & Co., Inc., one of the world's foremost manufacturers of linen products whose products we still proudly carry today.
In 1931, he decided to start selling to retail customers and opened his first shop in New York City on the corner of 5th Ave and 59th Street in the Savoy Plaza hotel building, directly opposite the Sheery-Netherland hotel. The store featured the finest imported handmade linens, ladies lingerie, and housecoats, and the store served the top in New York society.
Fifteen years later my father Edmond returned from naval service in World War II and left law school to join the family business. By now the store had moved two doors east to a larger storefront in the Savoy Plaza. As the United States was rebuilding after the Great Depression and the War, so were the businesses in Midtown.
As shoppers’ habits changed after the war, so did the store's offerings. Handkerchiefs with lace trim were popular among the new surge of upscale tourists from Europe staying at the Plaza, the Pierre, the Ritz Carlton, and other area hotels. Fine table linens were a big seller as more people started to entertain in their homes; these were in demand not just by local residents from the upper East side, but even overseas tourists, who would pack suitcases full of our product to bring home.
At around this time other stores like Gucci and Lenox Home Table China were also getting established along Fifth Avenue. It was a much simpler time, as each of the store owners were friendly with each other, communicated, shared ideas, and helped each other out. It wasn't uncommon to see a store window with settings loaned from R. Jabbour & Sons.
Over the next 30 years, the store relocated to various other locations, from East 55th to East 56th to East 58th Streets, always between 5th and Madison. Because of these central locations, the store attracted customers from all over the United States and Europe and built up a clientele list of some of New York City's most prominent residents, from founders of giant corporations, to famous politicians, to top celebrities, to a who's who of New York society, many of whom we still serve today.
As I grew up, I helped in the store, but later I went on to pursue a career in nursing. I spent years as a nurse at New York Hospital working with heart and lung patients and then as a staff registered nurse in the ER.
In 1989, I took over the business from my father. He turned the store over to me under just one condition: that I move it to Long Island so I could both run the store and be a mom to my seven children, his grandchildren. And so I moved the store to Locust Valley, NY in Long Island.
Today, we are proud to continue to represent international designer linen and accessories manufacturers of the highest quality and reputations. The manufacturers that we work with take great pride in the quality and workmanship of their products and produce their linens and accessories with exquisite detailing.
For the past 31 years I've had the privilege of serving our clients and customers throughout Manhattan and Long Island, including some of the area's top designers and owners of some of the most beautiful mansions and cottages along Long Island's Gold Coast. We've outfitted main homes, vacation homes, and even luxury jets and yachts with the best linens available anywhere. Through the years I've worked hard to carry on the tradition of knowledge and care that my father and grandfather run the company with. I invite you to explore the site, to visit the store, and to contact me with any questions. Thanks for visiting!
- Anita Jabbour