Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Start Your Own Sari-Sari Store

My mama and I thought of putting up a little sari-sari store in our house. Since she would normally get bored when me and my brother go to work, she wanted something to do which she would enjoy a lot. Since the garage is already occupied by my dogs, my brother suggested if we can remove the plants in the garden, have it cemented and tiled. This is where we placed our store. At first, we were quite hesitant because of possible competition and imitation of the business, but for the sake of fun, we started it.

Carpenters prepared the steel matting screen outside the store for protection. They also did the cabinets, the rice containers, and other wooden platforms we can use. We had our electrician fix the electrical wirings such that it can support the voltage requirement of the refrigerator or freezer. We looked for supermarkets where we can buy items at wholesale prices and we asked if they offer free delivery, rewards points or loyalty cards.


Initially we thought it would just be a little store. Since we didn't know what the response would be in terms of sales, we actually thought of just selling the basics - groceries, softdrinks, load. We didn't know it will be a hit.

The secret is actually because of my mom - my mama has a general merchandise store in the province and we sell dry goods like orocan plastics, glasswares, plates, toys, etc. She has a deep mastery of personal relations for people from all walks of life - from the tricycle drivers, to the close neighbors, up to the people living outside the village. The secret is how she relates with people - she smiles at them, greets them, teases them and laughs with them. She is a joy to the neighborhood and I'm proud of her.

Another key idea I learned from my mom is to sell at reasonably cheap prices. Neighbors with stores would always wonder why we can sell Milo sachet (I think the 33-gram pack one) at Php5 while they sell it at Php6. (But due to price increases, we also needed to match the price to Php6). For my mom, it's not the profit at first; it's how fast you sell the goods, like how the Chinese does their business. No wonder why people keep coming back.

From the basic food stuff we decided to put some more goods people are looking for - water, charchoal, rice, sim cards, school supplies, medicines, ice cream and meat products. And the list keeps getting longer! Requests are never ending! You see, it's much pricey to get outside of the village, traverse the flaky street, transfer to a friendly jeep, carry goods and take special trike trip - it's much expensive that way. We sort of "streamlined" the grocery process by taking in the transportation cost when we do our buying and sell goods to people at reasonable prices. Whatever people need, we try to buy them and sell it to them, like Nestogen packs and other milk packs in boxes.


We then got Crystal (at first) then Aquabest (second) as our purified water provider. Opportunity came when Snow Joe Ice Cream trusted us with their ice cream freezer and we began selling ice cream. From 1 sack of rice, we have now more than 3 kinds of rice. To think that we only launched the store end of November!

It's exhausting actually to man the store due to customer traffic. But at the end of the day, when you see the sales, you are so much encouraged to buy goods again and refill the store! It is also one key lessons I learned from mama - never run out of saleable items.

At the end of the day, what matters is how we enjoy the store. Before, we just don't know any person in the neighborhood. Now, we know who we are interacting with, we know their needs and their stories, we understand how life is in our community - how it is to be an OFW, how to be a housewife, how to be a helper. More than the profits, it's how we become because of the business. 

How about you, can you share your personal experience in putting up one? Or are you planning to start your business? Share now at Comments Section below.

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  1. Wow..congrats, sis krissy! :) We all start small - and the sari-sari store you have will soon one day be a grocery store. \(",)/ Kudos to your mom and your family! =D

  2. thanks sis lyn-lyn ^^ whee!!!!! ^^

  3. congrats! ingat lang sa mga langgam at mga delatang mabilis kalawangin! hehe! wishing you more success from kapwa micro entrepreneur to future mogul (i wish).hehe!

  4. thanks rej! ^^ haha yup mag-iingat talaga ako sa mga yan! ^^ thank you! more success to you also from your kapwa entrep future mogul hahahaha! ^^

  5. i also have one but i entrusted it to my older Ate HAHA
    much smaller than what you have Hehe.

  6. Very nice details on how to start a small business like a sari-sari store. maybe I'll start one someday.

  7. thanks sir gil of FMB for visiting my humble blog ^^

  8. Hi krissy your sari sari store experience is so inspiring. I want to out up my own. Without going into specifics. How much do you earn per day? How do you sell the aquabest water per gallon?

    1. hi anna marie uy!
      thank you so much for the kind comment!
      i would think we earn around 2k-3k per day including capital, so that means it would depend on your mark-up, say your mark-up on load is 10% or as low as Php1 on one canned good..
      on the aquabest water per gallon you could sell it at Php30-35php depending on the rate within your neighborhood.. you can get it for Php15-20, depending on source (not necessarily aquabest)..
      hope this helps!

  9. Hi krissy, how much was ur initial capital for this biz?

  10. thanks Ms. Mia! =)

  11. hi sir jowee! just replied to your email =)