Sari-sari store makes ex-employee a millionaire

[She set up a sari-sari store to make a living, but didn’t realize that the business would bring her a million pesos. 

“Annie,” a storeowner from Pasig City, won P1 million worth of cash and livelihood package at the recently concluded PLDT-Smart Amazing Ka-Partner retailers convention in Pasig City. 

The housewife, whose identity is withheld for security purposes, is one of the five lucky winners to be awarded the top prize in this year’s Smart Ka-Partner Rewards, a program that gives incentives to load sellers to help them grow their business and enhance their livelihood. 

Smart Ka-Partners or load retailers are owners or vendors at neighborhood sari-sari (small variety) or grocery stores, or roving individuals who sell airtime credits. To date, there are over a million Smart Ka-Partner retailers all over the Philippines.

When her husband was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2013, the then-accounting officer had no choice but to resign from her job to take care of him. 

She thought of opening a sari-sari store to earn income, but after 15 years of being an employee, she had no idea how to run it. But she studied the trade, persevered, and added more items to her inventory as customers’ requests piled up. 

The requests included Smart Load, as the number of mobile users in her neighborhood increased.  

She never gave up. Finally, after three years of treatments and prayers, her husband was fully healed. She felt relieved and thought the sacrifice was worth it. “Life must go on no matter what happens. Just work hard and you’ll be fine,” she said.

Her business has since become bigger, and apart from the usual sari-sari store fare, she also sells rice, liquor, fruits, shaved ice desserts, and a variety of snacks. She also continues to help neighbors with their mobile and connectivity needs by retailing Smart Load. 

Retailers can join the Smart Ka-Partner Rewards raffle by redeeming points from load sales and converting these to entries. “I really pushed myself to sell more so I could collect more points for the raffle,” the winner said, adding she learned about Smart’s various data offerings so she could suggest them to her buyers. 

Through her store’s earnings, she was able to afford medical treatment for her husband while sending their three children to school. 

She maintains a bright disposition after all that she’s been through: “Just believe that whatever you decide on, it will have a positive impact on you.”

The winner is congratulated on stage by PLDT-Smart representatives led by senior vice president and consumer business-customer development head Alex O. Caeg.


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