Henry Sy, Sr Died 01/19/2019 - BALITANG PINOY

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Henry Sy, Sr Died 01/19/2019

Marami ang nagulat sahil sa pagkamatay ni Henry Sy, Sr -ang pinakamayamang tao sa buong Pilipinas. Ang buhay nya ay naging inspirasyon ng mga tao lalo na sa mga gustong yumaman. Para sa kanya, hindi hadlang ang kahirapan para umasenso sa buhay. Hindi biro ang kanyang pinagdaanan sa umpisa. Dahil sa kanyang sipag at tiyaga, naging matagumpay ang kanyan mga negoyso.

Nagsimula siya sa pinakamaliit na tindahan noon at naging may-ari sa pinakamalaking mall sa buong Asia ang SM-Mall of Asia. Bukod tangi ang kanyang mga nagawa sa larang ng negosyo at siguradon patuloy itong maging inspirasyon ng lahat, hindi lang sa mga Pilipino at pati na rin sa kanyang mga kaibigan at kapamilyang chinese. Ating basahin ang kwento ng buhay ni Mr. Henry Sy, Sr.

Henry Sy, Sr. DIED 01/19/19
was born on 25th of December 1924 at Xiamen, China. He is a Chinese-Filipino. At age 12, his family settled in the Philippines. At that young age, he worked in a small retail store (called “sari-sari” store) owned by his father where they sell anything from food to basic items. He worked 12 hours each day to help his father. Back then, the store was located at Echague Street, now named Carlos Palanca Sr. Street in Quiapo, Manila.
Early on, Henry Sy’s business strategy was nothing fancy but brilliant. He wanted to find ways to earn more in that setup, thus he came up with the concept of selling items in small portions. It was a practical and fast way to sell products. This concept resembles the small packs or products in sachets we now see in supermarkets or small “sari-sari” stores. Most of his childhood revolved around selling in his father’s store rather than enjoying his childhood. Unfortunately, during World War II their store was destroyed. This event in his early years did not stop him from being business-minded and optimistic.
He got involved in buying and selling anything of worth in order for his family to survive. Sometimes it is during difficult times that we shine our best and we learn the true meaning of perseverance and optimism. Experience is also a great teacher.
One time, he was unfortunately hit by a shrapnel while selling. It was a good thing his friend, who was a pushcart vendor, saved him and brought him to the hospital. Because of this near-death experience, he valued that friendship. After the war, he made this friend his partner in a shoe business.
When the war ended (1945), he got involved with selling imported American shoes from business-minded American GI soldiers. This inspired him to open a shoe store with his friend. Eventually, he was managing three shoe stores with his business partner.
Meanwhile, as a student in FEU (Far Eastern University, Manila) and a family man at the same time in the early ’50s, he studied the market of his chosen industry. Henry Sy, Sr. wanted to find innovative ways to improve his trade.
Therefore he went to the US at the East Coast and found ideas and inspiration that he needed in selling shoes and other leather goods, thus the birth of a store called “Shoe Mart” or “SM”. “Shoe Mart” which was the first air-conditioned shoe store. This store was successful and thus more stores were opened.
His problem that time was lack of adequate supply of products to meet the growing demand of customers. This problem lead him to focus on selling apparels and other products with the help of his mother.
What is admirable about his approach to business was his common sense and open-mindedness. He takes time to listen to customers, suppliers and employees and then he learns from people’s opinions. Using this gathered information from different people and being observant of market trends, he was later inspired to start a department store chain.
The first department store was launched in 1972. At that time, it was Martial Law in the country and this presented a lot of business obstacles for him as it was a time of political and social chaos and economic decline. But obstacles and limitations did not stop Henry Sy, Sr. from pursuing his passion to expand his business. Despite the situation during Martial Law period, he continued to open more department stores in the country.
This, however, presented the problem of getting the space needed for the business.
As contingency plan, he had been considering a long-term goal of investing in properties for malls. To simplify it, rather than being a tenant of a space for a shop, there would be less problems if one would own the space itself where one’s shop is located. Further on, perhaps if one’s property is big enough, it can expand into offering rent space for other independent stores. The concept was simple and practical.
In 1983, there were more obstacles like the economic crisis that got worse after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. At that year, the first mall began its construction. It seems like a bad year to start big projects as many investors and bankers were skeptical to join or finance his projects. Once more, Henry Sy, Sr.’s optimism and determination remained his weapon and shield during hard times. In 1985, a new department store and supermarket were launched. It was on the same year when his company had to face labor problems and union strikes. This tested his optimism and determination further.
He had many reasons to give up on his venture but moral support from family, good employees and customers were there to keep him strong.

Further on, he continued his plans for business expansion with the construction of SM Sta. Mesa and SM Megamall. The plans were big and optimism was great but every step was slow and difficult. There were many factors that brought about construction delays like lack of supply of cement and the 1989 coup in Makati.

Despite all these opposing factors, SM City Sta. Mesa opened on the 28th of September 1990. It has 200 shops and restaurants and became a new social venue at Sta. Mesa, Manila.

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