I was shocked to learn from the Toronto Star that Tom Hargitai, the friendly scruffy-ish-looking doorman at the Holt Renfrew store on Bloor has been let go. People in this city familiar with him either love him or they don’t. Some like the fact that he is very friendly and welcoming – a brand ambassador so to speak – while others find him a little TOO welcoming. I have even heard of shoppers who enter from other doors just to avoid his greeting. Going a little too far, I think.
The Holt Renfrew Store on Bloor Street
Tom being let go may have to do with changing trends. According to the Star article, Tom believes that younger people – the 20-something and 30-something children of the shoppers he encountered when he started in 1990, are “less interested in his personal touch.” While that may be true, many of us still think of him as an icon of the Yorkville/Bloor Street West area (well this one does, anyway). Tom *IS* Holt Renfrew, though the store may want you to think that the “concierge staff” – young women (mostly under 30) wearing grey suits with pillbox hats. But really, is that look a good way to represent the brand? The uniform is reminiscent of flight attendant outfits of yesteryear. While yes, that was supposed to represent something very glamorous back in the “Mad Men” era, we are no longer in the early 1960s nor is Holt Renfrew an airline (the reason why similar-looking uniforms work for Porter Airlines was because the staff were hired to be flight attendants). It is in fact much “classier” to wear basic black.
Tom may not “look” like someone who’d shop at the store, but he was definitely part of the Bloor Street Holt’s brand. I will miss him.