Anton Gonzalez: The Boy Wonder By Chris Nieto-Lopez
...Anton Gonzalez: The Boy Wonder By Chris Nieto-Lopez
...Anton Gonzalez: The Boy Wonder
It's a wonder there are still people like Anton
- handsome, rich, hardworking, humble and principled.The only thing is, he
does not fly.
We are walking around KIDZ Station, Rockwell, looking for the ultimate spot to shoot the resident "Boy Wonder."Spiderman is dangling from the ceiling.A brilliant thought comes to mind.The fantasy is immediately interrupted.I am reminded that our "Superman" cannot fly.Minor detail-considering, he
can do everything else - 13 Nike Stadiums, seven Planet Sports, and 16 The Athlete's Foot stores, shareholder of California Pizza Kitchen plus Street.com, New Balance Shop and KIDZ Station to add to his
growing collection of exploits.
Jose Antonio Sevilla Gonzales, or simply Anton
, walks into our precarious set-up of miniature bikes, blow-up pools and playhouse rooftops.We unleash a mob of adorable little children to attack him: Ignacio Escaño, Natalia Matute, Matteo Cu-Unjieng and Miguel Lopez all take turns roughing him up.The coolness is admirable.The smile never wavers.He
takes every pow, boom, kablam and what seems to be an endless series of shots like a pro.Even after the abuse, Anton
, the consummate gentleman that he
is, thanks us for the experience.We are all impressed.Our superhero has a heart of gold - not to mention unyielding patience.
We are led to the next set-up at the other end of the mall.Midway, we look back and deliberate on the massiveness of KIDZ Station."It's a coding nightmare sometimes," Anton
explained earlier.That's not hard to imagine, with over 100,000 toys and merchandise to sort out."It can get crazy trying to get something like that to work," he
had added.No small feat, but he
did it, anyway.At present, there are four KIDZ Stations in the Philippines, with seven more planned in the future.With Anton
at the scene, you can expect great things to come.
We get to Nike Stadium and Anton
is in his
shows us around, it's clear to see that the sports business is closest to his
heart."It's where I started," he
points out.He recalls the day his father, the celebrated CEO of Mondragon International Philippines, Tony Gonzalez, called him in from the US to run the Nike business in 1993.He then left his position at Dial Corp. to be the marketing director for Nike, which was more of a distribution business at that time.
, it was just the beginning.He
had big plans for Nike
in the Philippines and the mild-mannered demeanor changed to an animated, child-like excitement when the conversation centered on setting up the "Nike
stand-alone" stores. He
borrowed money from his
parents and started building his
dreams as soon as he
got the go-signal from Nike
International.A year later, he
borrowed more money to buy the master franchise of The Athlete's Foot, around P15 million which he
managed to pay back in just two and a half years."With favorable interest rates, of course," he
says with a wide grin.Naturally, he
was successful in all of these endeavors - and more.The brand new KIDZ Station, Nike
Stadium and Planet Sports outlets at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell are a testament to that.The man has a golden touch and he's
is humble about his
success.Too modest, in fact, to take an ounce of credit for the phenomenal growth of his
businesses."I had help from a lot of very good and competent people."Like his
father, who Anton merits for bringing out the best in him, "I've paid my dues since I was 10." Anton
dad sending him on a shuttle bus at 7 a.m. for one month every summer to work the packing lines of their businesses in FTI."It was hard work," Anton
describes."Especially when you know that all your friends are out there enjoying the summer."Despite the sacrifice, Anton
admits that the difficult training paid off in the long run."It teaches you discipline," Anton
specifies, "and respect for the people who work there," he
adds, while citing the importance of knowing and helping the people who work for you - and with you.It's an Anton Gonzalez standard that the elder Mr. Gonzalez
should be very proud of, particularly since it was inspired and encouraged by him."We have different working styles," Anton remarks, while pointing out the contrasts between his
conservative, cautious nature to that of his
father's big risk-taking approach.
"But I'm like him when it comes to respecting people," Anton
explains."I have 300 people in my organization.They are the building blocks of business.They are the true MVPs."
Anton stresses that no matter the difficulties, his
father's employees have always remained loyal."He
takes care of his
people," Anton reaffirms.
has not missed a single Sunday mass in over five years because of this."(You have to) go to mass every Sunday, or else feel the wrath of Mom," Anton
warns.Oh yes, confession is also a must.
Heard enough of his
good side?Well, brace yourself for more.On a professional level, he
maintains a highly principled outlook.Anton
cannot stop emphasizing the virtue of never stepping over people or compromising your principles in whatever you do."It's not all about money," he
sees no need to be a Donald Trump.He's
in no hurry to be a magnate, no urgency to build a conglomerate."It's the fulfillment you get from doing something you enjoy," he
pronounces.The personal values are unbelievable as well.We're talking about a man who formally sat down with his
parents to apologize for all his
rebellious and mischievous acts in the past.It's true.He
did so when he
was 25.It may seem profound yet completely unnecessary for some people, but to Anton
, this was a moment to be praised - an opportunity dealt with integrity and courage no matter how outlandish it seemed.For Anton
it was a significant gesture to make.It mattered to him.I'm sure it meant a lot to his
Our day ends and the perfect finale would have been to shoot him dramatically flying or at least walking off into the sunset.The fantasy is once again interrupted.I am reminded that Anton
is not the flashy type.Instead, he
exits without fanfare while professing undying gratitude, with discount cards affixed.
BLURB:"I've paid my dues since I was 10." "I have 300 people in my organization.They are the building blocks of business.They are the true MVPs."