A day after Christmas, my world turned bleak.
Kasi, naubusan ng Coke ang store sa tapat…
Uyy, drinking soft drinks is not my daily habit, ha, but you see, the family was at a resort over at warm Bacnotan, La Union to celebrate a cousin’s wedding. Since the weather was extremely warm (well, it seemed to be compared to cold Baguio City where we live), not getting our cold Coca Cola fix was simply tragic…
So I had to send the kids to look for open sari-sari stores, until they came home with this:
(#Happiness I ended up not drinking it. That is my name there, ano?)
I had to personally go to the sari-sari store and thank Manang. Ang tagal ko kayang hinanap ang Coke bearing my name!
And you should go thank Manang at your sari-sari store, too!
Because managing a sari-sari store is daunting, especially to first-time small business owners like Manang. Seeing her survive all obstacles to make her sari-sari store grow is simply inspiring!
Manang at the store in La Union told me her children finished college through the help of her sari-sari store. (I have a feeling she owns the resort as well.)
Running a business is difficult, she told me, especially if you have no business or financial background. She learned through experience and by attending short-courses on bookkeeping and business management.
She also told me how the local government and global brands like Coca Cola are helping emerging sari-sari store owners through business skills training courses and financial services to help them grow their business.
I was pleasantly surprised that Coca Cola is spearheading a campaign to empower women and turn them into successful entrepreneurs. It must be their way of giving back to the women who helped make Coca Cola the number 1 soft drinks brand.
Through Coca Cola’s STAR (Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources), a program designed to help the women entrepreneurs, the Ate’s and the Manangs are empowered to improve their lives, despite hurdles like failing to finish school and no technical know-how. Educating them on how to properly manage the store, giving them access to resources and helping them connect with peers and mentors will ensure them success in their business.
Coca Cola’s target is to train five million women in 2020, and with successful women like Manang leading the way, I am looking forward to a future of Sari-Saring Happiness in every sari-sari store in the country.
After all, nothing -not even a world-class supermarket or a convenience store, can compare to the warmth, familiarity and friendly gossip that the neighborhood sari-sari store can bring.
You run out of cooking oil, you go to the sari-sari store.
Your ballpen ran out of ink? Run to the sari-sari store.
Catch up with the neighborhood news? Hang out at the sari-sari store.
And who has not stopped over at the sari-sari store after work before heading to their houses?
Learn more about Coca Cola’s inspiring 5by20 campaign - http://www.coca-cola.com.ph/en/5-by-20/