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  • Mamaroneck Observer

Robert’s – A Mamaroneck Treasure

By Kathy Savolt -

Great quality, fair prices, and excellent customer service. These hallmarks of a good business have kept Robert’s Department Store on the Avenue since 1931. Add flexibility and responding to what the customer needs and wants and it is even clearer how Robert’s has stayed in business for 92 years.

Robert’s was founded by Albert Lombino as a fine men’s store and named after his son, Robert. Financial realities of those times forced Lombino to pivot to buying military surplus clothing by the pound and selling the clothing inexpensively to local residents. Robert’s became an Army Navy store and at one point, Lombino had four such stores in the area: two in Mamaroneck: on the Avenue and in the Flats, and one each in Rye and Harrison.

This was all before there were large department stores which didn’t start to arrive in Westchester until the 1950s. People shopped where they lived, and shopkeepers knew their customers by name. Some even kept house accounts with monthly billing. Credit cards were in the distant future.

Today, Robert’s is owned and operated by Manuel (Manny) Enes, who started working there part-time in 1980 while attending Iona College (now University). Enes came to the United States from a farm/vineyard in Spain in 1972, at age eleven. His father had immigrated the year before with the plan that Enes, his mother, and sister would join him a year later. Tragically, Enes’s father died before the year was up. Undaunted and anxious to leave Franco’s dictatorship, Enes’s mother made the journey and settled in Mamaroneck.

Enes graduated from Iona in 1981 with an accounting and business degree. He took a job in the accounting field but after a short time, realized it wasn’t for him. In 1986, Lombino, age 86, decided to sell Robert’s, still a thriving business. There were many interested buyers beside Enes but Lombino, confident Enes would carry the values and traditions started fifty-five years before, selected him as the next owner.

Over time, Enes transformed Robert’s from an Army Navy store to a men’s department store, providing what is called “good basics” in the trade. Slacks, shorts, jeans, collared shirts, T shirts, hoodies, underwear, socks, and more fill the racks and shelves in the main room. In the adjoining room, boots of all kinds, sandals, and men’s shoes fill the space. (Here’s where women can find items for themselves as Enes has a great selection of national brand sandals.) Stock is rotated seasonally, and each Fall the store has a great selection of cold weather items.

Enes has also expanded Robert’s line of work clothing and footwear. He has several contracts with municipalities (including our Village) to supply work clothing, all obtained through the government competitive bidding process. This line of business helped sustain Robert’s during the pandemic as they were declared an essential business. The store stayed open, but customers stayed home. They were able to shop on line and by phone with local curbside pick-up. Surprisingly, Enes also received many orders for the American-made work boots he sells (Robert’s is an authorized dealer) and he was soon shipping boots around the country.

Today, Enes’s family includes his wife, three children, in-laws, four grandchildren, and, of course, Enes’s mother, Dolores, whose courage and sacrifice made all this possible.

Nostalgic for the “good ol’ days” but want today’s casual look? Go no further than Robert’s Department Store at 342 Mamaroneck Avenue. You will be greeted warmly and find quality merchandise for yourself and/or the men in your life. If the store is not that busy, you might notice others stopping by just to say hello and shoot the breeze. Introduce yourself to Manny, who is usually at the register behind the counter, and join the conversation.

And don’t forget -- Father’s Day is Sunday.


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