Whether you want to be Ann Boleyn, Henry VIII, a Russian folk dancer or Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, there is one place in Richmond Hill that can make it happen.
Rubies Costume Co., located at 120-08 Jamaica Ave., the headquarters of the largest costume company in the world, has been providing customers with everything from candy to rubber chickens to new identities for more than 51 years.
I think its quite an accomplishment, said Rubin Beige, 25, grandson of Rubin and Tillie Beige, who started the business with $500 of Army savings after World War II. I dont think its common anymore for businesses to be handed down from generation to generation.
Rubin and Tillie Beige opened their original shop in 1951, where they sold only newspapers, comic books, and novelty items, according to a company history. After much success and experimenting with selling novelty hats, makeup, mustaches, and wigs, the couple decided to go into the costume rental business.
The Beiges also decided to design and manufacture original costumes and officially changed the company name in 1969 to Rubies Costume Company.
And it has remained a family business since then.
The younger Beige is only one of four grandchildren who helps run the family business, said he enjoys working for the company with customers around the world. His father, Marc Beige, is one of four children, who together also help run the company.
Its like play, he said of the company, which now has more than 2,500 employees worldwide, and makes costumes for children and adults. Weve been here forever and we plan to keep doing what were doing.
Rubies now offers everything from standard ghost costumes to the modern Star Trek and Star Wars lines. The firm also produces original lines of costumes and owns the licensing to popular cartoon characters, said Executive Assistant Francine Robinson.
We are the umbrella organization for numerous other products, she said.
Rubies has spent the last few decades expanding its business, opening manufacturing and warehousing facilities in Germany, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico and Hong Kong.
Its a great place to work, said manager Fran Cinicola, who has been employed at Rubies for more than 19 years. We have lots of staff that have been here over 25 years.
Cinicola said customers from surrounding counties, like Orange, Westchester and Sullivan counties, come in to buy costumes for all holidays, not just Halloween. She said people are familiar with the Rubies name, whether they come to the original store or another retail outlet that sells licensed products.
Were very well-known in all the five boroughs, our reputation precedes us, she said. Were here for all holidays, like Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Purim and the Fourth of July, she said.
Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 156
©2002 Community News Group
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