Freeman Cebu Business

Pinoy sari-sari store culture hits Canada

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman
Pinoy sari-sari store culture hits Canada
Canadian envoy David Bruce Hartman said that there is now an increasing number of sari-sari stores in different parts of Canada, mostly run by successful women Filipina entrepreneurs.
Ehda m. Dagooc

CEBU, Philippines — Filipinos residing in Canada are bringing the sari-sari store culture to the North American market, with the rising presence of neighborhood pantry businesses around the country.

David Bruce Hartman, Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines, said in an interview that there are now increasing number of sari-sari stores in different parts of Canada, mostly run by successful women Filipina entrepreneurs.

“We have sari-sari stores all over the country. In a small community in northern Ontario with 40,000 people, there are two sari-sari stores. Clearly, it’s a viable business [for Filipinos living in Canada],” the Ambassador said during his visit to Cebu gracing its partnership with Metro Retail Stores Group Inc., dubbed “Explore Canadian Flavors,” a month-long retail promotion. which will culminate on March 15, 2024.

The establishment of Filipino-owned sari-sari stores all over Canada is also one of the channels through which Filipino producers or exporters could capitalize, bringing more Filipino products to Canada.

The Ambassador mentioned the popularity of dried mango products, coconuts, and other dried and processed products from the Philippines, but he suggested that export of fresh products to Canada from the Philippines should be further developed.

He said it would be good if the Philippines were to export fresh agricultural products to Canada.

Hartman emphasized the establishment of good cold-chain capacity in order for Philippine fresh produce to enter the promising Canadian market, which includes a million of Canadian citizens with Filipino heritage.

“Some of our big retailers are importing mangoes from the Philippines, like Cosco,” he added.

With a growing number of Filipinos living and working in Canada, people-to-people ties and connection is one of the unique attributes that the two countries have to nurture.

The people-to-people ties is also very important for the Canadian government to protect, he noted.

“We are very proud of our Filipino community in Canada. It’s a community that we cherish. A lot Filipinos come to Canada are economic migrants. We really want to build the economic connections,” he added.

The Canada-Philippines ties will mark its 75th anniversary of their diplomatic relations this year. “We have good story to tell. We have this connection. But that like any relationships it needs to be nurtured.”

Meanwhile, the Ambassador said that while there is an ongoing Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement, the Canadian government is always amenable to explore trade discussions with the Philippines on how to deepen the two countries’ bilateral engagements.

According to the Ambassador, the partnership with Metro Retail Group is just part of the wider engagements that the Canadian government is planning to embark on beginning this year in the Philippines. — (FREEMAN)

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