He is no other than Henry Sy, the retail magnate who owns all established and also a banking magnate who owns Banco De Oro-EPCI Bank and majority share in China Bank. This is another inspiring story as we witness his rags to riches story on how he built all SM Malls and became one of the biggest bankers enabling him to become the richest man in our country surpassing both Lucio Tan and the Ayalas. Let s learn and be inspired from another successful entrepreneur story as his daughter Teresita Sy-Coson narrates the story of his father s success: Our company, SM, as many of you may already know, came from the hard work of my dad, Henry Sy, Sr. It is a rags to riches story that even myself did not realize until I went to trace his roots in China. His journey from the thatched hut I saw there to the shopping centers he has today is something that amazes even myself. Including us, his children. My father s perseverance during the different crises our country has gone through has made our active business pursuits possible for a half century.
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True, he was disappointed with the economy many times, but he never saw the reason to quit and instead pursued his goals relentlessly. He had many obstacles both external and internal in his business, and there were times he could not understand why things had to be so complicated for him to pursue his business objectives. It has been written and I can attest that it is true that Henry Sy started from the bottom. It was located on Echague St. , which is now Carlos Palanca Sr.
St. In Quiapo, Manila. There, he devised ways to increase his income by developing small portions of products much like the sachets we see today in the supermarkets. It did not take a long time for him to realize, however, that he can only do so much in a sari-sari store environment. WWII came and the sari-sari store was looted and burned.
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He did a lot of buying and selling of odd things during the war to enable the family to survive. This must have provided him the hands-on training for his stamina in business. At one time, he was hit by shrapnel while selling, and quite fortunately was brought to the hospital by his good friend in a kariton. Without that friend, he could have bled to death. After the war ended in 6995, he ventured into selling American shoes imported by enterprising Gis.
With the pleasure of a growing family while at the same time pursuing studies at FEU in the early 55s, he sought more ways to augment his income. For a time, he was selling a lot of shoes, accessories, and leather goods, hoping to change the way shoe manufacturers look at the industry. Sensing a lot of opportunities, he decided to open SHOE MART SM the first air-conditioned shoe store that merchandised shoes in a very inviting and classy format. With the success of that store, he went on to open more shoe stores, but he could not get enough suppliers. Many shoe manufacturers at that time could not understand why they had to listen to this shoe retailer who had very definite ideas on what he wanted to sell.
They did not cooperate by providing him with the volume he needed, and because of that limitation, he gradually shifted to apparel and thereafter other merchandise with the help of my mother. He was continuously learning from his customers, suppliers, and employees. This on-the-job research gave him enough confidence to expand to a department store chain. Many things in life grow out of needs, and to meet the needs, you become determined. With determination you will take extra challenges and do things differently which will most likely bring success.
We opened our first department store in 6977, two months after Martial Law was declared. The business had a slow start, but progressed steadily.