What, you need a zipper? O.K., Eddie Feibusch is going to sell you a zipper. Brass? Nylon? Swarovski rhinestone crystals? What color? Mystery orchid? Big or little zipper? For a purse? Or a hot-air balloon cover? How many? One? A thousand?
Doesn’t matter. Mr. Feibusch is sure that he has the zipper for you. It’s somewhere in his store, ZipperStop, at 27 Allen Street between Hester and Canal Streets, among three floors of shelves with boxes of zippers in 502 colors.
How many zippers does he have? “One million, millions, I don’t know — more than a million,” said Mr. Feibusch, 86, a zipper man going on 70 years. His Web site plays Sinatra singing “New York, New York” and says, “Unzipping America since 1941.” Of course he has a Web site. This is 2010.
Anyway, he can find you a zipper. “Tell me what size and what length and I’ll give it to you within 30 seconds,” he vowed.
He sold a zipper for Margaret Truman’s wedding gown when Miss Truman, the president’s daughter, married Clifton Daniel in 1956, he is proud to say. He sold zippers to Nike for Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. And a prison in North Carolina called for a zipper for Bernard L. Madoff. Why? He doesn’t know.
New York City’s garment industry once had lots of zipper shops, some bigger than his, Mr. Feibusch says. But little by little they relocated, to China, India, Costa Rica. Then came the Sept. 11 attacks. “They couldn’t get their goods in,” he said. “That was the end of the business.”
But not for Mr. Feibusch, a prewar refugee from Vienna who overcame not just the Nazis but also Velcro, and opened his business on Dec. 7, 1941, of all days. Yes, a Sunday. He is Jewish; he takes the Sabbath off and works Sundays. Today, he says, he is the last big New York zipper man standing, or at least the last to exclusively represent the Japanese-owned but made-in-America YKK zippers (slogan: “Little Parts. Big Difference”) — the best, to hear Mr. Feibusch tell it.