Nedy Tantoco's Enduring Legacy

Zenaida “Nedy” Tantoco, the chairwoman of Rustan Commercial Corporation, SSI Group, Inc., and Rustan Marketing Corporation has passed away at 77 years old, leaving an enduring legacy of retail excellence. 

The eldest daughter of Ambassador Bienvenido “Benny” Tantoco, Sr. and Gliceria “Glecy” Rustia-Tantoco, Zenaida “Nedy” Tantoco is known as retailer, philanthropist, patroness of the arts, loving mother and grandmother. Sadly, the 77-year-old chairwoman of Rustan Commercial Corporation, SSI Group, Inc., and Rustan Marketing Corporation passed away on February 8, 2024 at 11:42 P.M.

Nedy Tantoco
Photo from the Rustan’s Library

Looking back at her meaningful life, it is noteworthy how huge an impact her mother’s mentorship and guidance had on Nedy. In her written work for Ateneo Journals Online, she speaks about her exposure to the wonderful mix of effortless elegance, the eye for beauty, and personal charm which she referred to as the “Glecy touch.” In addition, she kept in mind her mother’s belief that “retailing is detail,” elaborating that Glecy’s attention to the nitty-gritty was simply contagious, grateful that she inevitably acquired it herself. 

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Passing on her gifts

Nedy further states, “For so many years, until the year 1983 when my father assumed the position of Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican, and my mother went with him to be his hostess, (the Italians had a word for it: Ambassatrice), I served as Mommy and Daddy’s eager apprentice. When I finally made my mark in the industry as Philippine Retail’s well-rounded manager, I knew that I made them the proudest of parents. With their relentless mentorship, I have acquired their marketing savvy, strong impulse of the market, and skillful reign of the organization–gifts that I intend to pass onto the next generation of Tantocos who are interested and gifted in retailing.”

Zenaida "Nedy" Tantoco
Photo from the Rustan’s Library

It wasn’t surprising that Nedy would take the helm of the family business as the president of International Specialty Fashions, Inc., Rustan’s Marketing Corporation, Stores Specialists, Inc. and Rustan’s Marketing Specialists, Inc. She would end her illustrious and meaningful career as chairwoman of Rustan Commercial Corporation, SSI Group, Inc., and Rustan Marketing Corporation.

It was a unique childhood, no doubt, having grown up in the first store that Glecy opened in San Marcelino, Malate in 1952. It was right here in their family living room that her parents showcased to their friends, beautiful products they have curated from their travels all over the world. The Rustan’s website narrates, “As more and more people visited their home to view Glecy’s exemplary product selections, the couple decided to open their very first story in Old Manila’s San Marcelino Street. Seven decades later, the humble shop evolved into the retail giant we now know as Rustan Group of Companies (RGOC), or what we simply as Rustan’s, a combination of the couple’s surnames, Rustia and Tantoco.” Today, Rustan’s department stores are in five major locations and licensed more than 2,000 international brands to the company.

Official Statement

The Tantoco Family shares their official statement:

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Zenaida “Nedy” R. Tantoco. The retailer, philanthropist, patroness of the arts, loving mother, and grandmother passed away last night, February 8, 2024, at 11:42 p.m. She was 77 years old.

She is survived by partner Patrick Jacinto; her three children: Anton with wife Nina and daughters Nikki and Isabelle; Michael with wife Kathy and children Kenzie and Kameron; and Catherine with husband David Endriga; and her family of dogs Sabrina, Tricia, Tessa, Katlinka, Skippy, Bocelli, and Tequila.

The Rustan Commercial Corporation, SSI Group, Inc., and Rustan Marketing Corporation Chairwoman leaves an enduring legacy of excellence in the luxury retail sphere founded by her parents, Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco, Sr. and Gliceria Rustia-Tantoco in 1952. Nedy is the couple’s eldest daughter.

Like her siblings Rico and wife Nena Tantoco, Menchu and husband Jun Lopez, Marilou and husband Eddie Pineda, Marilen Tantoco, and Maritess and husband Renato Enriquez; Nedy uncompromisingly upheld the sacred values taught by their parents in running a family enterprise. Although known in the industry for her astute professionalism, Nedy will always be better remembered as a nurturing force in fostering family empowerment and unity. These, she believed, were key to their family’s future generations to thrive.

The wake will be held at 25B Tamarind Road, Forbes Park Makati City, 11 A.M. to 10 P.M. from February 10-12; then at Heritage Park, 9 A.M to 9 P.M. from February 13-14. The funeral mass will be held on February 16, 10 A.M. at Santuario de San Antonio Parish.

We appreciate your thoughts and prayers.”

Banner photo courtesy of The Rustan’s Library.

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