A boon to women’s groups, farmer cooperatives enterprising couple brings organic product store to QC

Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - May 6, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The bad news is organic products aren’t that easy to find. Yet, the benefits are real and the need is pressing amid this age of consumerism and processed foods.

The good news is people in Quezon City can now go to EchoStore Sustainable Lifestyle, a concept store and café at the strategic Eton Centris Mall in Quezon City, to buy    organic products.    

EchoStore, founded by the dynamic female trio Chit Juan, Jeannie Javelosa and Reena Francisco, opened its third branch in Centris through a licensing partnership with mom-turned-entrepreneur Sharon Chua and her husband Chris. 

The third branch comes only four years since EchoStore, opened its flagship branch at Serendra, Fort Bonifacio Global City.

In an interview with The STAR, Sharon Chua said she decided to open the EchoStore branch to share with other parents the benefits of consuming organic products.

 â€œIt’s trying to get my family shift to a healthy lifestyle and I thought I should tell other people about it,” said Sharon who saw the benefits of organic food in her seven-year old son, who is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Juan said the couple came to them asking if they could open EchoStore in Quezon City.

 â€œWe saw how passionate they were about living healthy and instilling in their three sons a healthy lifestyle and a green environment conscious mindset,” said Juan, president of EchoStore.

She said they saw this as a chance to answer the constant request of our loyal costumers who live in the Quezon City area to open an ECHOstore in their side of  town.

The newly opened branch, which has the same cozy ambience, gives the Quezon City community, the same fair trade products and healthy food experience.

There are popular hand-made items and organic products made by small groups around the country from the northern Philippines to faraway Sulu.

There are organic products as well as some fresh produce like organic salad greens, vegetables, herbs, artisanal cheeses and ice creams available.

In additional to all of these, EchoStore Quezon City has added a green kiddie interactive play corner that makes the branch very child-friendly.

Parents can leave their children to play in the play area, which is filled with books while they fill their baskets with organic finds.

The café section is an expandable space for small parties and gatherings and brings the healthy sustainable lifestyle to Quezon City.

Francisco, operations director who helped the Chuas set up the branch from scratch said the trio allowed the husband-and-wife team to put their personalities into the EchoStore brand.

 â€œWe wanted to make sure that our new partners would also be given more freedom to put their own unique personalities into the EchoStore brand. So we just guided them, trained their staff, and opened our community suppliers to them,” Franciso said.

She said what has emerged is a cozy open space in front, which can expand the café section to host small “sustainable” parties and gatherings – both for children and adults.

Javelosa, president of EchoStore’s non-profit Foundation, ECHOsi (Sustainable Initiatives) said the opening of the third branch has a direct impact on market access for micro and small enterprises, community groups, small producers like women and farmer cooperatives that EchoStore has been helping.

 â€œMarket access is ensured as the consumer base is also expanded,” she said.

EchoStore’s nationwide development directions has secured traceability of all products sold at the store, together with the collaborative efforts with government agencies, funding agencies and other private sector groups toward supporting fair trade and livelihood.

Through its Centris Walk branch, Chris and Sharon Chua takes on echoing “ECHO” – Environment, Community, Hope, Organization.


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