St-Antoine Importations
By Chris Riddell

Reflections of Mexico

Irma Roman immigrated to Montreal from Mexico City in 1977, but it wasn’t until 2004 that she opened St- Antoine Importations on the cobblestone streets of Duluth Avenue. Here you can find household decorations and fixtures that can’t be found anywhere else in the city because they aren’t even made in Canada. They come straight from the artisans in her home country.

“I noticed there was a lack of really interesting handcrafted pieces from Mexico, especially the quality ones,” says Irma. “So my partner, Gilles Bedard, and I decided to open a store, but at the same time we wanted to have a fair trade with the artisans.”

Every single item at St-Antoine Importations is handcrafted in Mexico, and Irma prides herself on the sound business relationships she maintains with the artisans. She never goes through a middleman, and dealing directly allows her to pay a reasonable price for their wares while also allowing her to charge her customers a reasonable price as well.

I noticed there was a lack of really interesting hand crafted pieces from Mexico, especially the quality ones. So my partner, Gilles Bedard, and I decided to open a store, but at the same time we wanted to have a fair trade with the artisans. - Irma Roman, store owner
Handcrafted goods, imported from Mexico, tiles, sinks, vases, garden pots, dishware, cups, mugs, household goods

Bold and Stylish Colours

Mexican art is very flamboyant and complex. It features a stunning variety of colours, shapes, styles, and images that make it immediately recognizable. The tiles are one of the biggest selling items at St-Antoine Importations, and they come in a stunning array of styles with an equally large number of uses.

Irma says, “You can do a backsplash. You can do counters. You can put it on risers on the stairs. You can create furniture or even coasters. There are a huge number of applications for the tiles.”

Several times a year Irma and Gilles fly down to Mexico to meet the artisans face to face, and to discover exciting new items. “The good thing about the business is that the creativity of the artisans is uncanny and it allows us to share new discoveries with our clients,” Irma says. “People are always interested to discover new pieces, but they are also curious to learn about the history behind those pieces.”

The ceramic sinks are also very popular, and they are definitely things that you won’t find in most people’s houses. The unique designs, vibrant colours, and cultural resonance are what make them so interesting.

Handcrafted goods, imported from Mexico, tiles, sinks, vases, garden pots, dishware, cups, mugs, household goods

Sharing the Culture

Irma loves sharing the culture of Mexico through her business, and it’s one of the main reasons why she founded St-Antoine Importations.

“People travel to Mexico and want to bring stuff back but can’t because of travel restrictions, so here we are able to provide them with those items that are difficult or impossible to travel back with,” she says. “People want to have something different. They don’t want to have what everyone else has. They want something different, good quality, and most of all unique.”

Irma and Gilles have customers from far and wide. People from all over the country hear about what they have and place orders. Their location on Duluth Avenue is great for business because it’s a popular tourist destination, and tourists often want to take home something memorable. For that, St- Antoine Importations can certainly provide.

Handcrafted goods, imported from Mexico, tiles, sinks, vases, garden pots, dishware, cups, mugs, household goods
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