I’VE been saying the word “Rustan’s” for at least two decades now, but I didn’t know until the store’s 65th anniversary party a few weeks ago where the word came from. It originates from the names of Glecy RUStia and her husband, Benny TANtoco, who together started the Philippines’ most luxurious department store from an elegant display in their own living room.
Rustan’s completely changed Philippine retail for discerning Filipinos in search of luxury goods, which tended only to be available to those who shopped abroad. Rustan’s was the first retailer to encourage customers to handle merchandise, instead of just admiring it in a glass case. The first gift certificate, first bridal registry, first gift wrapping service, and first loyalty card for shoppers were all born in Rustan’s.
Loyal Cebuano customers were enjoined to celebrate Rustan’s sapphire anniversary last month. One level of the store in Ayala Center Cebu became the venue for a fashion show done in nearly every imaginable shade of blue, featuring Rustan’s exclusive brands. Professional models wore Ricardo Preto, U, Criselda Lontok, Jill by Jojie Loren, Lady Rustan, and Oleg Cassini, while cute little models in the making wore Rustanette, Kiddos and Rustan Jr.
Guests then enjoyed canapes and free-flowing champagne while checking out the many special promos in store, themed 65 Facets of Extraordinary. SSI Group Inc. president Anton Huang said of opening the store here in Cebu in 1981: “It was an alluring promise of progress and quality. We are gratified that this vision has found its fulfillment.”
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on October 21, 2017.
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