As I was repacking one of the closets in the basement, there was a hat box and not mine from Jacobson’s. Jacobson’s if you weren’t aware of the chain was what one would call a “Carriage” store, meaning that they catered to a better clientele, not that they were that expensive, but they had a cachet that appealed to plenty of people. I was in the retail industry all of my life and there was an old adage “in three generations shirt sleeve to shirt sleeve.” What that meant was what the first two generations worked so hard to achieve, the third generation allowed it to fall away. I worked in a store that was in the middle of two Jacobson’s stores and they made for great competition.
Jacobson’s was a class act in their day and I remember getting those beautiful Rothschild coats for my favorite daughter when she was just a little girl. I didn’t need to shop there for men’s clothes, but I was probably there at least once a day and sometimes twice a day and that was to eat. They had a wonderful restaurant on the second floor and it was just perfect. It was always clean and the staff in the restaurant was just as attentive as the sales staff at the registers. I think that the restaurant was underwritten by the store to make the meals great bargains as a way to keep the customers in the store longer. There was always a fixed menu and a couple of specials for lunch and two specials for the two evenings that they stayed open late. It sure beat brown bagging lunch and when they had Braised Short Ribs as a special, I considered it a “Red Letter Day.”
Some of the other Jacobson’s stores sold wine, but the one in Dearborn did not, and perhaps it was the politics of getting the license, which was an impossibility in the old days, as a liquor license carried a very hefty surcharge for anyone that wanted to secure it. For a short period of time, there was wine in the restaurant, they had about six different bottles to choose from; and the rumor was that the license was a resort license that was transferred from another part of the state, and like I say, it was only for a short time. One of the wines that I would enjoy during dinner in that short period was Chateau Roubaud. This particular wine from France carried the VDQS stamp, which stood for Wine Delimited of Superior Quality or a better “table wine” back in the day. The winery was established in 1900 in the southern most region of the Rhone and in 1950 they were one of a few wineries that were allowed to carry the Costieres du Gard on the label, which eventually changed to the Appellation Controlee of Costieres de Nimes. The winery grows Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Clairette and Ugni Blanc and today the wine must be at least sixty percent of a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. It was a most pleasant of wines and I have been partial to Rhone wines almost from the beginning of my wine appreciation days. Even after they lost the ability to sell wines in the restaurant I continued dining there until the end of their days. I guess that the current generation could not maintain the vision that they were given.