Milyonaryos in the Philippines gave a tribute to SM founder Henry Sy, recalling how their leap of faith and his words of wisdom helped them become some of the biggest brands and franchises in the Philippines today.
Cited as the few first tenants of the biggest mall chain in the country, founders and heads of Ideal Vision, Great Image, Toby’s Sports, Papemelroti, and Sportshouse shared how the Bilyonaryo played a huge factor in the success they experience today.
“Tatang would tell me, You have to engage the customers, you have to feel the senses of the customers. [Retailing] is not so much about the goods. They have to have an emotional experience,” Great Image president Robert Palomo said.
For Ideal Vision’s owners, their favorite piece of advice from Tatang was to “be patient, be patient.”
For his part, Enrico Dee, founder and CEO of the still-growing Foodee Global Concepts, can still vividly recall how Tatang would always tell him to “focus” on his core business, which was food, although he grew up in a family that was into construction.
“He said to stay focused on the business,” said Dee, whose company today has almost 200 food outlets, of which 85 percent are in SM Malls. His brands include Tim Ho Wan, Tusta, Kam’s Roast, Hawker Chan, as well as over 280 Sunnies retail stores.
“We will always be thankful to SM because they gave us the biggest break. So all our stores, our branches with new concepts, will always start at SM,” Dee said.
The Alejandro family of Papemelroti shared that they decided to open a branch inside SM City North Edsa instead of pursuing their option to move to another country. Papemelroti’s Patricia Paterno said the SM Group could be relied on to help tenants when they need help the most, just like how they suspended rent collection to help tenants at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“I will never forget that,” said Paterno.