Seventy-six-year-old Iluminada Brazil Violita from Tondo, Manila opened her sari-sari store in 2014 as a way to provide for her family’s basic needs and buy her maintenance medicine after she survived cancer.
However, as the pandemic tore through the country, Violita’s income decreased dramatically.
From earning P300 per day before the pandemic, her store’s take-home dipped to a mere fraction of what she and her family need to survive — around P20 to P50 per day. This was not enough for her five children and 22 grandchildren living with her.
“Walang halos bumibili, dahil wala rin silang mga pera, walang trabaho. O may trabaho man, tinanggal sila,” Violita said during the Sari-saring Pag-asa program aired on December 2, 2021.
(There was practically no one buying because everyone was out of money and out of work. Or if they had work, they were removed.)
Because they could no longer keep up with the bills, their household power was disconnected by the service provider.
She also experienced difficulties maintaining her store at her age because of the curfews on senior citizens. She had to rely on the help of her neighbors to restock products.
To help revive Violita’s sari-sari store, the Sari-sari Store program of former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and allies visited her on November 29, 2021 to give her an additional capital of P3,500 in cash aid.
Violita, affectionately called Nanay Luming, was also chosen as the recipient of a sari-saring makeover in which her store received a revamped look, a new signage, and a package of new products such as canned goods, toiletries, and other household items.
Violita also received tips on how to write down her profits, expenses, inventories, and loans. Rather than keeping it in her mind, she, as a small business owner, can use this tool to help her keep track of sales and expenses.
Violita herself also shared tips for other business owners, like stocking up on items with better margins, finding cheaper sources to purchase supplies, and building an inventory of items that sell well in their community.
With the makeover, Violita’s struggling store has a new shot at being a viable source of income to support her and her whole family.
On December 2, 2021, 100 more beneficiaries received additional capital from the initiative of the former House Speaker that aims to uplift Filipino microentrepreneurs and communities by revitalizing the humble and vital sari-sari store.
The featured store owners were selected from Dagupan City, Pangasinan. Mayor Brian Lim led the distribution event for the newly selected beneficiaries who received their P3,500 cash assistance.