The store was started by Jacob Rosenstein in a strip mall. It was named after Rob Petrie, the TV writer played by Dick Van Dyke in the TV show named after himself. Rosenstein always liked that show. When he had grown the store to a chain of thirteen stores in the Southern California area, it was too much for Rosenstein to handle. He sold out in 1992, for a handsome profit, to the Matsutoya Corporation, a huge Japanese conglomerate that saw the chain of stores as a place to sell its many consumer electronics goods in the U.S. Matsutoya aggressively expanded the chain to 218 stores nationwide by the time they sold the chain in 2002, for a handsome profit, to Sam and Harry’s, a maker and seller of ice cream. Sam and Harry’s was looking for a way to diversify and invest the considerable cash they had made creating and selling ice cream, with flavors named after actors and actresses, like their best selling Lime Neeson and Jim Carrey-mel. Sam and Harry’s brought in... [continues]
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