The pre­mier de­part­ment store brought the world’s best to our shores. It’s not just about shop­ping, it’s about en­trepeneurial dar­ing, oldfash­ioned cus­tomer care and build­ing a her­itage.

Preview (Philippines) - - Preview November - WORDS BY LEAH PUYAT

Fun facts you need to know about the lux­ury re­tailer as it cel­e­brates its sap­phire year.

Ev­ery great cap­i­tal has a grand store or two. Paris: Le Bon Marché, which touts it­self as the world’s first de­part­ment store; and the tourist mecca Ga­leries Lafayette. Lon­don: Sel­fridges, which mer­ited a tele­vi­sion se­ries on the founder’s col­or­ful life and the be­gin­nings of the great store; and an­other trav­eler mag­net, Har­rods. New York: the big Bs Bergdorf Good­man, Bloom­ing­dale’s and Bar­neys. There may be ar­gu­ments whether Manila counts as a great cap­i­tal, but we cer­tainly have a store that has the gen­teel at­mos­phere and leg­endary cus­tomer ser­vice to ri­val its in­ter­na­tional coun­ter­parts.

Rus­tan’s started as a gift shop in the home of rec­og­nized re­tail roy­als Am­bas­sador Bien­venido Tantoco and the late Glice­ria Rus­tia-tantoco, with Glecy in charge of choos­ing mer­chan­dise and Benny do­ing fi­nance. From that hum­ble be­gin­ning, the lit­tle gift shop be­came a de­part­ment store in San Marcelino, Manila, that moved to what is now our CBD, Ayala Av­enue in Makati City, and is now a ver­i­ta­ble em­pire that in­cludes Rus­tan’s Su­per­mar­kets, Stores Spe­cial­ists Inc., Rus­tan’s Cof­fee (the lo­cal part­ner of Star­bucks), Sta. Elena Golf and Coun­try Es­tate and Adora. Now on its 65th year, Rus­tan’s still de­fines up­scale shop­ping, and to mark this mile­stone, we sat down with the el­dest grand­son of the Rus­tan’s pi­o­neers, Don­nie Tantoco, to learn more about the lore and his­tory of this in­sti­tu­tion. He is now the pres­i­dent of the Rus­tan’s Com­mer­cial Cor­po­ra­tion and his in­fec­tious pas­sion and pal­pa­ble ad­mi­ra­tion for his grand­par­ents, par­ents and aunts are clear mark­ers that the next 65 years of Rus­tan’s will be just as il­lus­tri­ous and ground­break­ing as the past.

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