Tony Shoes is a shop where the owner, Tony Fargnoli, and his wife, Kathie, remember the brand and size their customers like, much the same way Tony’s father, Eddie, and his grandfather, Giantonio, did too. A Montreal landmark, it has occupied the same small storefront on Greene Avenue since 1937. But not for much longer.  

The 83-year-old shop first announced it would be shutting down in June and kicked off an "everything must go" sale.   

“We’ve been very lucky and blessed with the clientele we’ve had and we’re happy to be retiring,” said Kathie. “We’ll be able to play golf and play with our grandchildren.”  

The sale is huge, with discounts of up to 85% off. 

On Tuesday, Kathie said they still had about 3,000 pairs of shoes left in stock, which might sound like a lot but they’re going fast.  

“A lady came in yesterday and bought 17 pairs,” she said. 

Though 2020 has claimed many of our favourite businesses, Kathie said they’re not closing because of the pandemic even though COVID-19 has affected the shopping habits of customers in surprising ways.  

There are plenty of dress shoes but winter boots have been selling out fast “because a lot of snowbirds who haven’t spent a winter here in 15 years or more,” are about to do just that.  

Tony Shoes began with Giantonio Fargnoli, an Italian immigrant who opened the store on Greene and specialized in shoe repair.

Since then, the family has run the store for three generations. 

Giantonio eventually passed the shop over to his son, who transitioned into the retail business in the 1950s. Tony and Kathie carried on the tradition.  

“We’ve known generations of customers,” she said.  

They carried shoes in both very small and very large sizes and widths and their knowledgeable staff would help people with hard-to-fit feet find pairs that would look and feel good. 

Two staff members have 80 years of combined experience at the shop, said Kathie. 

“We can’t just hire anybody,” said Kathie. “You must know how to fit shoes. It’s not like a chain store. It takes time.”  

Celebrities and politicians including the Mulroneys, the Chrétiens, and the Trudeaus, would shop there, she said.   

“It’s been fun selling shoes and meeting people,” she said. “The outpouring of appreciation from our customers coming in, it makes my husband feel pretty proud.”

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