in photo: Edna Malaca Relacion, in front of her sari-sari store.

In the fascinating tale of Edna Malaca Relacion and her husband Cornelio Relacion, two security guards working in separate companies in Makati, an extraordinary journey unfolded. It all began in October 2020 when the couple, determined to augment their income, embarked on a business venture fueled by their hard-earned savings. With a capital of Php40,000.00, they secured a store location in their hometown — Pakil, Laguna, paying a month’s advance and a deposit, while also acquiring initial supplies.

Their store originally specialized in rice and chicken feeds, catering to the local community’s needs. However, their ambition led them to expand their offerings by December 2020, encompassing a wide range of grocery items. Edna’s mother took charge of managing the store, overseeing its day-to-day operations, ensuring its smooth functioning.

However, as with any endeavor, challenges arose along their path. The shortage of capital and the persistence of borrowers who failed to repay their debts posed significant hurdles. Despite Edna’s mother’s kind-heartedness in lending products, these setbacks affected their cash flow, compounded by weak sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recurring lockdowns. Consequently, Edna stepped in to take full responsibility for the store, as her mother sought temporary refuge at her sister’s house.

Juggling her duties as a security guard, Edna bravely assumed the management of the store from March to April 2021. However, in May, after a decade of faithfully serving as a security guard, she made the bold decision to resign and devote herself entirely to the business. Determined to propel their venture forward, in mid-June 2021, Edna resolved to keep the store open 24/7, ensuring their availability to customers at all times.

Edna firmly decided against lending products to customers, maintaining a steadfast approach to their business model. They gradually expanded their product line, responding to the demands of their growing customer base. Demonstrating her innovative spirit, in May 2021, Edna even organized a raffle for their loyal patrons, injecting excitement and gratitude into their business interactions. Furthermore, Edna’s dedication earned her recognition as a beneficiary of the Department of Trade and Industry – Laguna Provincial Office Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) Livelihood Program and she actively participated in an entrepreneurship seminar and workshop, which bestowed upon her a sari-sari store package, further boosting their offerings.

Taking inspiration from vlogs and entrepreneurial wisdom, Edna absorbed invaluable tips on business growth and the pitfalls to avoid. With her mother-in-law joining forces, they formed a formidable partnership in managing the store, sharing their vision and responsibilities. As their reputation and customer base continued to expand, Edna found herself replenishing their supplies almost daily, an indicator of their rising success.

However, as their inventory multiplied and the physical space within the store became constrained, they seized an opportunity in November 2022 by opening a second store. Now, with both Edna and her husband Cornelio, a former security guard himself, working hand in hand, they oversee the operations of both stores. Determined to optimize their efficiency, they acquired a tricycle, for business operations and passenger transport.

Kung gusto po nilang mag negosyo, hingin nila kay Lord, dahil kung para sa kanila ay matutupad ito. Sa una mahirap talaga, madaming iisipin, gagawin at nakakapagod din, pero mag tiyaga lang sila, tuloy-tuloy lang kahit maraming pagsubok at gawing inpirasyon ang mga nakikita nilang successful na din sa pinili nilang negosyo at araw-araw ay magkaroon ng positive mindset. (If they want to start a business, they should first seek the guidance of the Lord, and if it is meant for them, the Lord will pave the way for it to come true. In the beginning, it can be really tough. There are many things to think about and do, and it can be exhausting. But they should persevere and keep going, even in the face of numerous challenges. They should take those who have succeeded in the same business they have chosen as their inspiration. And every day, they should maintain a positive mindset.)”

Edna and Cornelio’s remarkable journey from security guards to successful entrepreneurs stands as evidence to their resilience, determination, and unwavering spirit. Through their relentless efforts, strategic decision-making, and an unyielding commitment to customer satisfaction, they have created a thriving enterprise that continues to serve their community and inspire others to pursue their dreams. ♦

Date of Release: 17 November 2023