Meldan Sari-sari Store

Negosyo Center- Pandi, Business Counsellor Daniela Uy (in orange) provides business couselling to Ms. Mila Bunuan, owner of Meldan Sari-Sari Store (in red orange) during the monitoring and evaluation of Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) program at Barangay Bunsuran III, Pandi, Bulacan.

“What you sow, you will reap,” – the ever-famous line that Mila De Leon Bunuan, owner of Meldan Sari-sari Store, can relate to.

Mila worked as a domestic helper abroad for eight years, and after her last contract, she returned to the life she was used to in the Philippines. On her return to the Philippines, Mila looked for a job and immediately got hired in Manila as a canteen cook. Two years have passed and Mila resigned from her work to try and explore entrepreneurship. In 2012, Mila and her partner opened their Meldan Sari-sari Store. She used her savings from working abroad as initial capital for the business.

Business was running smoothly until competition challenged them as other establishments around them were established. In spite of the rising threat of competition, Mila did not budge. Instead, she persistently managed her small business to make sure she is always on top of her game.

After years of operation, Mila thought her business was already stable but the COVID-19 Pandemic hit, causing health and economic challenges worldwide. Her partner, a tricycle driver, could not operate due to the series of community lockdowns. This caused Meldan Sari-sari Store’s limited operation to be their bread and butter.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, it was business as usual for Mila. With limited income, she was still able to help her relatives. Bearing no child yet, Mila took under her care, her niece’s two-year old child, providing for the toddler’s basic needs. Mila has unwittingly imparted the values of love, care, and selfless giving, without attaching any conditions or expectations.

Her selflessness paid off when an opportunity came along the way. In 2022, Mila was endorsed by their barangay to be a beneficiary of DTI’s Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) program. The program grants livelihood kits to qualified individuals affected by calamities and health disasters such as COVID-19. Mila and her enterprise underwent a thorough profiling by Negosyo Center Pandi Business Counselor Daniela Uy. She was then awarded a package sari-sari store package worth ₱10,000.000 on December 16, 2022.

The PPG Program resulted in Meldan Sari-sari Store’s capital increase of 20% and sales increase of 10% by the end of 2022. These beneficial effects contributed to the expansion of Mila’s business the following year. The PPG Program introduced new, locally-produced items for sale, proving to be much more affordable for her market compared to her existing products. This, in turn, led to higher demand, increased sales, and a broader variety of products.

With the additional capital received from the PPG program together with Mila’s saved money, she was able to grow her capital by 100% in 2023.

At present, she still extends help to her relatives. She looks forward to sustaining her business and possibly expanding it in the near future.

“Maraming salamat po at nakatulong po sa amin ang PPG package ng DTI sa amin.” Mila said. ♦

Date of release: 12 February 2024