SM cel­e­brates long­stand­ing part­ner­ships with homegrown brands

‘My Story, My SM: The Back­story’ re­calls the hum­ble be­gin­nings—and con­se­quent growth—of Na­tional Book Store, Pen­shoppe, Yabu and 8 Cuts Burger Blends with the re­tail chain

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - LIFESTYLE -

Na­tional Book Store founder So­corro Ramos re­calls the time she and Henry Sy Sr. both had stores in down­town Manila. Hers was on Avenida Rizal, and his was on Car­riedo.

Ramos got to know Sy, who en­cour­aged her to be­come one of the first tenants at SM City North Edsa, SM’s first mall.

Ac­cord­ing to Golden ABC’s Bernie H. Liu, it was SM that con­vinced him to tran­si­tion his cloth­ing brand Pen­shoppe from a depart­ment store brand to a bou­tique by of­fer­ing a space at SM City North Edsa in 1991.

Liu re­mem­bers how “we opened our very first stand­alone bou­tique in North Edsa with a fire­works dis­play—on the very day Mt. Pi­natubo erupted. The move al­lowed us to of­fer a dif­fer­ent and fuller shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence to our cus­tomers.”

John Con­cep­cion of the Stan­dard Hospi­tal­ity Group (Yabu) also re­calls pre­sent­ing the “sin­gle dish” con­cept “to oth­ers, but they did not seem to un­der­stand.” He then met SM’s Steven Tan, who loved the idea.

“SM be­lieved in us and our vi­sion and gave us a prime lo­ca­tion even if we were untested,” Con­cep­cion says.

The first Yabu restau­rant opened at SM Mega­mall in 2011. Now, Yabu is the coun­try’s lead­ing katsu restau­rant.

El­iza An­tonino, Abba Napa and Jon Syjuco of The Mo­ment Group re­mem­ber pitch­ing hard for their first SM store, 8 Cuts Burger Blends, “in hard hats be­cause the space was re­served for big brands, and we were a small homegrown brand. We were no one in the in­dus­try, newly en­tered, and are so ap­pre­cia­tive that SM took their chances on us.”

Ramos, Liu, Con­cep­cion, An­tonino, Napa and Syjuco, all movers be­hind some of the coun­try’s best-loved brands, join in SM 60th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions by shar­ing their in- spir­ing sto­ries in the “My Story, My SM” se­ries, fea­tur­ing 60 lives touched by 60 years of SM.

With its roots in re­tail­ing, SM has over the years be­come part of the lives of mil­lions of Filipinos—cus­tomers, busi­ness part­ners, em­ploy­ees—each with a won­der­ful story to tell.

Their heart­warm­ing sto­ries high­light how their re­la­tion­ship with SM goes be­yond busi­ness through gen­er­a­tions. It traces how SM has been with them from their hum­ble be­gin­nings, and how they have grown as SM has grown through the years.

To­day, Na­tional Book Store is one of the coun­try’s best­loved brands with over 230 branches and over 2,500 em­ploy­ees. It has stores in over 50 SM malls, and Nanay Cor­ing, as Ramos is fondly called, con­tin­ues to work closely with the Na­tional Book Store team, in­clud­ing vice pres­i­dent Pre­senta­cion Ramos and man­ag­ing direc­tor Xan­dra Ramos-Padilla.

The suc­cess of Pen­shoppe has made Golden ABC a mul­ti­awarded fashion en­ter­prise that has brought Philip­pine fashion to the global stage, tap­ping some of the big­gest celebri­ties and fashion icons and open­ing sites around Asia. Its port­fo­lio of brands now in­cludes Pen­shoppe, Oxy­gen, Re­gatta, ForMe and Memo.

Liu’s sons, Bryan and Bran­don, are now on­board and play key roles in the com­pany, which he en­vi­sions to be­come the most ad­mired Asian fashion brand com­pany. He is also pre­par­ing to wel­come daugh­ter Amanda, who will join the fam­ily busi­ness af­ter fin­ish­ing her mer­chan­dis­ing course at New York’s Fashion In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy. Yabu sold its one mil­lionth

katsu in 2014, and is to­day the coun­try’s lead­ing katsu restau­rant. All of Stan­dard Hospi­tal­ity Group’s maiden branches of ex­cit­ing con­cepts like Ip­pudo Ra­men and Mighty Quinn have been in an SM mall.

The Mo­ment Group, af­ter five years, has grown to in­clude other homegrown con­cepts like Manam Com­fort Filipino, Ooma and Mecha Uma, as well as the Amer­i­can-Ital­ian restau­rant Lin­guini Fini, and the five-time Miche­lin star-awarded Din Tai Fung.

Visit My Story, My SM mi­crosite at http://mys­to­rymysm.com and https://www.youtube.com/ MyS­to­ryMySM.

So­corro Ramos (seated), with Pre­senta­cion Ramos and Xan­dra RamosPadilla: “When­ever a mall is in­au­gu­rated, Mr. Sy would ask me how busi­ness is. I would say, ‘It’s okay, sir. What book would you like to read?’”

Abba Napa, Jon Syjuco and El­iza An­tonino: “We’ve grown to­gether with SM. They keep of­fer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for restau­ra­teurs like our­selves. Their new de­vel­op­ments re­main rel­e­vant and com­pet­i­tive in the mar­ket.”

Bernie Liu (cen­ter), with sons Bryan and Bran­don: “Our part­ner­ship with SM re­in­forces our mind­set that busi­ness has to be con­stantly dy­namic, ever chang­ing, and can eas­ily adapt to the mar­ket. It has to be flex­i­ble and fast enough to re­act to the changes.”

John Con­cep­cion (left), with son Mike: “SM has al­ways been sup­port­ive, al­ways see­ing the big pic­ture. That’s why our maiden branches have been with an SM Mall.”

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