Sunday, 10 May 2009

RPs 1st SARI-SARI STORE CHAIN

The much-loved and dependable local "sari-sari' (variety) stores will finally get a needed facelift, thanks to Microventure's pioneering "Hapinoy" project. 

Inspired by the reliability of the Ministop stores, coupled with the mass appeal of Jollibee and the community work of Gawad Kalinga, the Hapinoy store is aimed not only at generating more income for the microentrepreneurs but also at "alleviating poverty" in the country. 

Microventures Inc. president Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV said the project involves the mutually beneficial partnership of local manufacturers and microentrepreneur owners. 
"[The company,] a social business enterprise, initiated the Hapinoy project to empower sari-sari stores by linking them directly to partner product manufacturers, through capacity-building and through the community support generated by the network," Aquino said Friday in a press conference in Makati City. 

Currently, Aquino said that several Hapinoy "lead stores" are operating in some parts of Batangas, Laguna and Quezon. 

A lead store serves as a mini-depot of wholesale goods where sari-sari storeowners often buy items before selling them as retail in their areas. 

Under the project, members of an existing microfinance institution like their partner, Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Inc. (CARD), can apply for a Hapinoy package provided that they have an excellent credit history. 

After CARD grants the loan to the storeowner as capital, Microventure will then train them on money management, especially because most of small entrepreneurs lack the proper expertise in terms of getting back their investments. The training will also suggest to owners ways of evolving their stores to other income-generating businesses like an internet cafĂ©. 

Each Hapinoy store will be directly linked to partner manufacturers like Unilever, Nestle, and Oishi, among others, as well as telecom giant Smart Communications to provide the lead stores with goods and services at "better discounts." 

This aims to increase the profit of the sari-sari store and at the same time serve as a channel for the manufacturer to reach more people in the market. 

On top of this, the existing lead and sari-sari stores will be refurbished, thus finishing the new branded look of the Hapinoy store (visit www.hapinoy.com for the store design). 
Interestingly the design of the Hapinoy store also provides free ad space for values-formation posters. 

Aquino said the group found the inspiration to give the stores this unique feature so that it will also extend positive attitudes to the community, which the sari-sari stores cater to. 
"We aspire for the Hapinoy store to be the light of the community as well," Aquino explained. 

By the end of October, Aquino announced that they will finish the "make-over" of 1,000 stores in South Luzon and target 8,000 Hapinoy Stores owned by the microborrowers of CARD by the end of the year. (Source: www.goodnewspilipinas.com)

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