Since 1995, has occupied one of the most enviable retail spots in Forest Hills. Almost exactly on the corner of Austin Street and Continental Avenue, the shop likely sees as much foot traffic as any in Queens — so it's a good thing the mannequins in the window always look so sharp.
Owner Jorge Guzman is every bit as snappy a dresser as the mannequins, and he's passionate about making sure his customers walk out the door looking the same.
"If you need a garment, then you need a boutique," Guzman said. "That's the thing about customer service. I'd rather not sell you anything than sell you the wrong thing."
The Core Of The Thread
A quick glance around Anthony Men's Shop reveals the owner's love of fashion. Racks of suits, each elbowing their way into the space above the showroom floor. Hats, ties, pocket squares and shoes jockeying for shelf space up to the ceiling. Every flat surface in the place is wearing a garment that looks like it could have been in Milan a week ago. And in some cases, it has been.
"I'm always a trendsetter in terms of fashion," Guzman said, proudly. "I'm always going to Europe and bringing the latest design, the latest fashion, the latest fabric. I'm ahead of the curve in the industry, so the people who come here always come back."
What the boutique lacks in raw space it makes up for in style. Leave no tie tack unturned, because Anthony is full of opportunities to make your look your own.
Guzman is happy to demonstrate the difference between a well-cut European jacket and a suit that originated in a department store or discount shop. He's even happier when a customer sees the value in that distinction.
"I have a passion for clothes, I like to dress, it's one of my hobbies, I always like to look the best every day so I love clothing," Guzman said. "I understand it from the core of the thread."
A Trendsetter With An Eye For Business
Guzman's guiding principle is simple — drill down to the essence of what the customer needs, then deliver. He said taking a few minutes to establish a relationship with everyone who walks through the door is a key part of earning repeat shoppers.
"The main core of my business is understanding the needs of the consumer — of my client — and provide them with what they really need," Guzman said. "I want to service them to the fullest potential and give them the most for every dollar they spend here."
Guzman is so confident that customers who buy will come back again and again, he offers free alterations on products he sells, for the life of the garment.
Since his first day open for business in October 1995, he's had up and down cycles. He confided that 2012 has been a bounce-back after tough times in the two previous years. The boutique is just now closing out what he characterizes as the busiest part of the calendar.
Spring and summer are his best seasons, when people want to look their best, go to weddings and parties and impress friends and colleagues.
Finding the will — and the capital — to stay open hasn't always been easy, he admitted, but dressing his customers will always have the same allure.
"Taxes are always going up, rent's always going up, so managing the resources is always the biggest challenge,"Guzman said.
"One of my biggest rewards is when I dress someone up and they come back and tell me 'everyone loved it.'"