The Sari-Sari Store: Philippine Symbol of Entrepreneurship Culture
When you travel to the Philippines, you would see a lot of mini convenience stores or what we call sari-sari store in a particular neighborhood. Sari-sari from the repeated word sari means mix, so you would see a lot of different items. Think of 7 Eleven but smaller and the goods are far within your actual hands' reach. The products are handed to you by the cashier, instead you just point or mention the item you want to purchase.
A sari-sari store is an extension of a house. The owners or renters would build a room sized space or more where it's situated near the road.
Now the funny thing is in every neighborhood sari-sari stores are located very close to each other.
How close you may ask?
Well in my particular street alone, there are 3 stores approximately 25 to 30 meters apart from each other. So in my street view, I have illustrated the distance of the 3 sari-sari stores.
And in some places, the next door neighbor is the competition and so far it is not regulated. So anybody can put up a store if they want to and it's up to the business owner how he or she will level up his game. Some may even combine the store with an eatery, an internet cafe or a karaoke bar to dismiss the competition, another proof of the Filipino's ingenuity.
Posing infront of a videoke (karaoke) slot machine inside the store
Filipinos love to buy things in sachets, the size of travel packs and not in bulk, this is because of the economic situation and financial capacity of most Filipinos and the presence of sari-sari stores. They are readily accessible and some even operate 24/7.
When you buy into a sari-sari store one must say:
"Ayo! Palit ko."
So if ever you need anything, from shampoo to soy sauce, go to a local sari-sari store and they have it for you. They even sell school supplies and over-the-counter medicines.
Everything is handy and within reach if you stay or live near a sari-sari store.
As we all say when we invite customers:
Bili ka na! or Palit na!