1924: Morris Rubenstein, the son of Russian immigrants who operated a dry goods store at 418 S. Rampart St., opens neighboring corner haberdashery named Rubenstein’s Men’s Store at 102 St. Charles Ave. Shop carries shirts, ties, handkerchiefs and separate collars. Six months later, Elkin and Sam Rubenstein join their brother as financial partners. Haberdashery is renamed Rubenstein Bros.
1927: Rubenstein Bros. begins expansion and leases second building on Canal Street.
1929: With stock market crash, the Rubensteins request rent decrease from building owner Abe Minus in order to stay afloat. He agrees.
1937-38: Prospering, post-Depression, Morris and Elkin acquire the corner building at 638 Canal St. to make room for more clothing, furnishings and sportswear collections.
1940: Legendary neon “Rubenstein Bros.” sign is raised on corner façade. Store introduces credit accounts. WWII shortage of men’s merchandise prompts Rubensteins to sell women’s apparel too.
1941: With full renovation of the expanded store completed, Rubensteins celebrates its grand opening — on Dec. 7.
1945: With the war over, women’s apparel is discontinued to make room for more men’s merchandise. For burgeoning workforce, Rubensteins reserves white button-down shirts, fit to size, for returning soldiers opening new credit accounts.
Early 1950s: Incident is avoided one Mardi Gras when Memphis’ “Boss” Crump and New York mobster Frank Costello, entrenched in a feud, are kept from glimpsing each other on the store’s parade-viewing balcony.
Late 1950s: After meeting fledgling designer Ralph Lauren, Rubensteins begins carrying his neckties. That relationship continues today.
1958-59: Prep-wear and original “Mad Men” look of the day find a home in Rubensteins’ newly opened Madison Shop, a young men’s stand-alone shop. The shop, which remained open through the 1970s, gets a separate Canal Street entrance.
Early 1960s: Elkin’s sons, Andre and David, begin working full-time on floor and in management.
1960: Live mannequins pose in window displays, modeling London Fog; sidewalk frenzy ensues.
1964: During renovation, workers discover loaded antique gun in concrete mortar. “We haven’t found the body yet,” says David.
1971: David and Andre launch All American Jeans sportswear label. Flagship store opens at 622 Canal St. Seven regional satellites follow.
Early 1970s: Rubensteins becomes first store in U.S. to carry Italian designer Ermenegildo Zegna; fashionable men make pilgrimages to New Orleans for Rubensteins’ European-cut suits and apparel. Andre and David purchase founder Morris’ interest and become partners with father Elkin.
1974: Jumping on exodus to suburbs and decline in city-dwellers, Rubenstein Bros. opens a location in Lake Forest Plaza mall. It closes in the late 1980s.
1987: Kenny Rubenstein, Andre’s son, joins staff.
1999: Rubensteins officially drops “Bros.” from its name.
2005: Rubensteins is named “Gold Standard” for first time by Esquire magazine’s Best of Class List. Eight more honors follow. Hurricane Katrina devastates city and region. Eight weeks later, Rubensteins, spared extensive flood damage, reopens for business.
Present day: Rubensteins encompasses seven adjacent buildings at Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue, including P.J.’s Coffee Shop and the Art of Shaving, opening in May.