It is an end of an era for Regina Gift Shop, a famed, family-owned independent gift shop in Greenhills. After 43 years, the store that has been a go-to for novelty goods among San Juan residents will now close its doors for good.
Regina Gift Shop, or Regina’s to some, has been a must-visit for Greenhills shoppers. It’s that small corner space in Shoppesville that’s almost always crowded—a la newly opened shop. Alive through seven Philippine presidents, Regina's closure announcement via Facebook thus broke hearts—with many turning sentimental.
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'The go-to place'
At Regina's, the most random things thinkable would be found lying: Trapper keepers, cute stickers, quirky dinnerware, board games, party decor, wigs, Nenuco cologne—name it. It's the “source of everything ‘uso’” as Facebook user Maan SG commented on the shop's saddening post.
In the same post, Ernesto Fernando Q. Manalang III wrote of his beloved treasure trove of knick knacks. "The store where you go to even if you don't need to buy anything but you never leave empty-handed. There is something inside that will always catch your eye."
He then mentioned how "A lot of relationships started with gifts bought from this store... Regina's will always be a piece of Philippine retail history. I hope your closing down will just be temporary."
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From generation to generation
But beyond just a thriving business that supplied many, Regina's—many customers now remember—defined their childhood. On its goodbye post were Gen X or Baby Boomer parents who grew up frequenting the store then—and, guess what, even until recently with their Gens Y kids and Z grandkids.
Facebook user Marie Claire Carlos wrote, “For us who grew up in San Juan, Regina's was our go-to-place. Yes it's a happy place and and even my 4 kids grew up to go to Regina's ALL THE TIME when we are in Greenhills. I'd say Regina's is almost ICONIC to Greenhills regular mall goers. We wouldn't go home w/o checking out what's new at Regina’s.”
User Rain Rejano seconded, “My granny used to bring me here a lot and she'd always let me pick a toy I'd want. Glad I was still able do the same to my daughter. The look and feel of the store never changed. Thank you for the happy memories!”
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A forever inspiration
Yet to other customers, Regina’s was more than just a shop—it also supported and inspired other small businesses.
In the post, customers couldn't help but thank owner Mickey Paterno (whom you could find almost every day behind the counter) for however Regina's bettered their lives.
“You will be missed. Your family had been really nice in giving small business (supplier) a chance to be a part of your business. I wish you all the best going forward. Greenhills will never be the same without your great store,” user Bette Trespeses wrote.
Ricky Andres also shared the same sentiment saying, “Oh my God, Mickey! You helped Bubu & I during out startup years. we are forever grateful! Regina’s was so much a part of our life, we had to name our eldest daughter Regina.”
Then college girl Ola Trinidad also remembered how Regina’s helped her in her art. “I will never forget the time when I used to consign my feather pens during my college days. I just stepped inside the store and showed the pens to the person manning the counter and I would get a call every week that I have to replenish because they were selling like hotcakes. Thank you, Regina’s. Thank you, Mr. Miguel Paterno,” she wrote.
Personalized paper brand PostScript Designs also joined in, “Thank you to the Paternos for being a huge part of my childhood and also for inspiring me to build the PostScript brand. Regina’s is not just a store to me, it’s where my creativity was cultivated while I spent my after-school free time digging through your stack of stationeries. Regina Gift Shop, you will always have a special place in my memory.”
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There are many more stories worth going through in that disheartening post—very personal and wonderful memories that all agree on one thing: A trip to Greenhills will never be the same without Regina Gift Shop.
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Photos from Regina Gift Shop Facebook page and from the author