Joseph Rabinovitz (1878-1967) was thirteen when the family arrived in Boston, sent by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society from New York. Working in the family’s North End grocery store and peddling housewares, he saved enough money to go into the wholesale grocery business. He then joined forces with his older brother Max, and in 1898, along with three other companies, established the Standard Grocery Company.
Joseph’s brothers, Jacob and Julius, started the Economy Grocery Company in 1913. After his discharge from the Marines, Sidney Rabinovitz, Joseph’s eldest son, joined the company, becoming General Manager in 1919 and rising to Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer in 1930. By the end of 1919, Joseph also became actively involved in the company. Norman S. Rabinovitz, Joseph’s second son, came into the business in 1925, the year the company incorporated and issued its first shares of general stock. In 1935, Irving W. Rabinovitz, Joseph’s third son, joined the company. All three brothers attended the Boston Latin School and went on to Harvard before going into the family business.
The company grew rapidly from the 1920s to the mid-1930s, opening new stores and acquiring existing stores and store chains. Economy opened its first supermarket store in 1935 on Memorial Drive, in Cambridge, Mass., under the name R.H. White Food Mart. By 1937, noting the store’s success, the company began opening self-service supermarkets under the name Stop & Shop. With the shift to self-service supermarkets, the company began gradually closing the Economy stores and in 1946 changed the name of the company to Stop & Shop, Inc. In 1946, the three brothers also changed their name from Rabinovitz to Rabb.