Social development with a smile
Whether it be around the corner (or around every corner), in a barrio that time forgot, or atop a mountain, the sari-sari store has come to symbolize micro-enterprises in the service of the consuming public. Customers not only avail of goods and services (such as cell phone loads) from the sari-sari store, they also use the premises, or the benches in front of it, as a gathering place to trade gossip or small talk. The store owner thus becomes the community’s source of information on everybody else’s whereabouts and doings. And for families in a crisis or temporary slump, the credit line (“lista”) extended by the store owner becomes a crucial means of survival.
or neighborhood stores around the country, making up 30-40 percent of total retail sales in the Philippines. And most—perhaps even all—of them are owned, managed and supervised by women.
Which is why the “Hapinoy” is most probably a woman. “Hapinoy,” coined from a combination of the words “happy” and “Pinoy” is a program and social enterprise that focuses on sari-sari stores and endeavors to tap into the entrepreneurial power and potential for social change inherent in these neighborhood outlets.