When the announcement was made that the celebrated Tony Shoes would be closing, the reaction was swift and plentiful from numerous patrons who had turned to Tony Shoes for generations of service. The sadness was tinged with much love in the messages for the Fargnoli families, who for three generations kept the well-heeled of Westmount well heeled. The decision was taken by Tony Fargnoli and his wife Kathie to call it a day with a retirement sale and was one that Fargnoli had been mulling over for the past couple of years. “It has nothing to do with COVID-19,” Tony Fargnoli said. “There’s so much demand in a family run business. You can’t always be there and at this point in our lives we (he and Kathie) have good health and we want to have time to spend with our granddaughters, time to travel and play some golf.” Family business even impacted Tony and Kathie’s marriage back in 1976 as the couple was wed on Thanksgiving Monday as stores still closed for that holiday. “We knew we would have to look at getting married on a holiday,” Fargnoli said. “You just didn’t close shop on a business day, especially a Saturday which was the busiest day of the week.” The three-generation, 83 year run was started by Fargnoli’s grandfather Giantonio Fargnoli in 1937 making and repairing footwear. Fargnoli’s father Eddie along with his wife Sandra next took the reins, continuing the hallmark level of customer service while adding footwear and related products. From the age of 10, Fargnoli was helping out in the store, learning the family trade then finally he and Kathie took over to continue the run of this renowned retailer. Over the years Tony Shoes has served the Trudeau and Mulroney families as well as celebrities, including Peter Falk who appears on the wall near the cash in an autographed picture. Numerous Habs, Expos and Alouette players have been clients of Tony’s, generations of weddings, grads, back to school and camp kids have all been seen to by Fargnoli and his caring staff. Now a few weeks into the retirement sale, Fargnoli keeps busy to not think about that day, maybe in September, when the door will be locked for the final time. “There is still a lot to do,” he said. “Especially with the COVID-19, we keep sanitizing, every morning before we open to make certain the store is clean and organized for our customers.” As each day is a day closer to a well-earned retirement for the Fargnolis, it does get emotional for Tony. “It is amazing to think of the 83 years of service,” he said. “It’s been an honour and a privilege to take care of not customers but friends; so many relationships and trust we have earned over those many years.”

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