A sari-sari store , or neighborhood variety store, is a convenience store found in the Philippines. The word sari-sari is Tagalog meaning "variety". Such stores form an important economic and social location in a Filipino community. It is present in almost all neighborhoods, sometimes even on every street. Most sari-sari stores are family-run privately owned shops and are operated inside the shopkeeper's house. Commodities are displayed in a large screen-covered or metal barred window in front of the shop. Candies in recycled jars, canned goods and cigarettes are often displayed while cooking oil, salt and sugar are often stored at the back of the shop. They also distribute prepaid mobile phone credits. The sari-sari store works with a small revolving fund, and usually doesn't have the means to refrigerate and store perishable goods. However, they may have refrigerators that can store other products such as soft drinks, beers and bottled water.
Sari-sari stores have higher prices when compared to supermarkets but provides several benefits to their customers. The sari-sari store allows members of the community easy access to basic commodities at low costs. Without them, villagers must go to the nearest market town which may too far from the village itself. In the Philippines, following the concept of tingi or retail, a customer can buy 'units' of the product rather than whole package. For example, one can buy a single cigarette for one peso (0.02 US dollars) rather than a whole pack. This is convenient for those who cannot buy the whole package or do not need much of it. Even though buying products through tingi can be practical for the buyer, its cumulative costs may be more expensive than buying the product's regular units. The sari-sari store also saves the customer extra transportation costs, especially those in rural areas, since some towns can be very far from the nearest market or grocery. The store may also allow purchases on credit to their customers. The stores may also act as trading centers in rural areas. Farmers and fishermen may directly trade their products to the sari-sari store in return for basic articles, fuel and other supplies.
In popular culture
- Pinoy rock band Eraserheads' song Tindahan ni Aling Nena (aling Nena's Store; from the album UltraElectroMagneticPop!) tells the story of a man buying food at a sari-sari store and his attempts to court the affections of the eponymous storeowner's daughter.
- Pinstrup-Andersen, Marito Garcia, Per (1987). The pilot food price subsidy scheme in the Philippines : its impact on income, food consumption, and nutritional status. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute. ISBN 0896290638.
- "Business at its most basic: putting up a retailing store". www.serdef.org. Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
- Schelzig, Karin (2005). Poverty in the Philippines: Income, Assets, and Access. Asian Development Bank. ISBN 9715615635.
- Schelzig, Karin (2005). Poverty in the Philippines : income, assets, and access. Metro Manila: Asian Development Bank. p. 131. ISBN 9715615635. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
- Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, Volume 35, Issue 2007. University of San Carlos. 2007. p. 257. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
- Technology and Home Economics i (worktext)2002 Edition. Rex Bookstore, Inc. p. 370. ISBN 9712328694. Retrieved 16 May 2016.