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Selling shirts 110 years ago: the story of the 87-year-old merchant who sets a record with his family business


It is Antoine 'Tone' Aon (87). His father and his grandfather, Lebanese immigrants, founded the La Reina store when they arrived in Argentina.


Lorenzo López at 600

, in the heart of


, Antoine "Tono" Aon (87) continues to run the oldest business in the district: 

La Reina

, the clothing store created by his grandfather and father, two Lebanese immigrants, and that has just turned 110 years working in the neighborhood.

"I'm not a kid and at the same time I'm a young man," Antoine highlights with a laugh at the beginning of the note.

And one of the main reasons why Tono feels this way is to continue taking care of and improving his valued business, which permanently comforts him.

"I'm always with some creation or something to include in what I sell. I'm restless," says the emblematic merchant.

The emblematic northern zone merchant no longer serves the premises, although he continues to deal with the purchase and promote the business guidelines.

Behind the counters, customers can meet Jorge, Marcelo, Nacho or Facundo, Antoine's grandson.

The curious thing is that in times where permanence in a job is not something common, the employees of La Reina make the exception to the rule.

La Reina: the clothing store opened in 1959 and has been in operation for 110 years.

Jorge has been working in commerce for 40 years, Marcelo, 30, Nacho, 20, and Facundo, 15. "They are all top-notch. Perhaps it is luck or the training that one gives them. I also give them independence for work, so they are part of the I think that's why they're still here after so long," says Tono, proud that his grandson has also taken an interest in the trade.

Another thing that makes the 87-year-old merchant proud is his neighborhood.

Since he started in the business in 1959 -he recalls-, Pilar had 30,000 inhabitants while now it has between 400 and 500,000.

"My dad always had the vision that Pilar was called to be a satellite city."

"Route 8 passes inside. Route 7, a few kilometers away and Route 9 on the other side. All the railways are nearby. We have the best industrial park in

South America

and one of the highest lands in the province of Buenos Aires. All of that He gives his kindness to Pilar, so it is no coincidence that we have been here for so many years".

Antoine Aon, or "Tone".

He has been in charge of the clothing trade for 64 years.

Pilar and her parents' place, two of Antoine's passions

Antoine -practically- was born in the premises located on Lorenzo López.

During his childhood he spent there with his father José Juan and his mother, Rosa Rahaim.

This is how Tono's sense of belonging to the business grew, which he has been serving for 64 years today.

So much so that his father wanted him to study a university degree and yet, he already knew that what he wanted was to take over the reins of the place.

"Foreigners instilled in their children work and study. I tried dentistry and engineering but I was crawling in business, so my life was there," highlights Pilar's well-known neighbor.

Historical photo of La Reina, year 1940. In it, José Juan Aon and Rosa Rahaim, Tono's parents.

And he adds: "I think my mother's tendency influenced me, who was very active in the business. Even more than my father in terms of tastes and renovations. Some gene must have passed me by. I was so interested that I have taken courses when I was young in the clothing camera and today I keep trying to be updated"

In fact, Antoine's dedication to his business has allowed him to overcome various adversities, including the arrival of shopping malls in the neighborhood.

"At the time they caused me a concern, but it empowered me a lot since there is a totally different way of marketing," he explains.

"We try to serve the client, show them and give them everything we can offer. The attention of the shopping malls is a little lighter, and we must add the difference in prices for things. Having higher fixed expenses than mine, they It makes the product more expensive. Also, I try to sell what's around the malls, so people start comparing the two options."

The "family" of The Queen.

Its employees, including Tono's grandson, have been working here for decades.

Today, Antoine continues to ensure that the place satisfies all customers (from those who want to wear a pacifier or stretch shirt to those who are looking for something more traditional) and does not rule out that footwear is part of the stock in the future, always and when he can convince his wife to expand the premises.

"It's difficult," he closes with a laugh.

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-24

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