‘We go where you need us’:Alfamart opens 1,500th and first ever store in Pangasinan

Instead of travelling 20 minutes via tricycle and spending PHP60 for fare, Sheena Bautista, a resident of Barangay Nancalobasaan in Pangasinan, now has the option to visit the nearest Alfamart in their neighborhood that is only a few meters from her house.

Located near the town’s residential cluster in Urdaneta City, Alfamart, a part of SM Investments Corporation’s food retail businesses through its retailing arm, SM Retail, Inc., opens its 1,500th store much to the delight of Ms. Bautista and her fellow Pangasinense who are now within a few steps away from their homes to a mini grocery.

Harvey Ong, Chief Operating Officer of Alfamart ensures they go to the communities where they can make a difference by offering its wide assortment of products at competitive prices.

“We will go where we are needed,’ Mr. Ong said. “We will continue to look for communities in need of access to basic food products in both urban and hard-to-reach places to make everyday shopping more convenient for the families living in these communities.”

For Ms. Bautista, an assessor for the local government, and someone who frequently cooks for her family, convenience, and accessibility stand out the most.

“When you need to buy meat, you don’t always have to head over to the bayan to get some,’ she said. “Parang lumapit na mismo ang grocery sa barangay namin.” (It’s as if the grocery decided to come closer to us.)

Alfamart as a responsible community partner

Alfamart marks the first-ever store in the province. To date, they have opened 100 stores in line with their announcement to open 250 stores this year.

The journey to 1,500 stores started in 2014 when Alfamart opened its first concept store in Cavite. In just six years, the super minimart concept has achieved significant scale by blending two grocery formats of a supermarket and a convenience store into one. This unique service enabled the company to provide everything one needs at home such as frozen meats, vegetables, seafood, and more, in order to truly serve the immediate needs of every community.

“As Alfamart grows, we want the communities to benefit as well by creating more income and jobs,” said Mr. Ong. “We enter partnerships with local lessors and offer them rental income for the use of their land or building space. We partner with local contractors for the construction of our stores. We provide opportunities for local product suppliers by carrying their products in Alfamart stores. Lastly, we provide employment opportunities to the local community members.”

Growing with Alfamart is Pangasinan native and local lessor, Mary Joyce Sardeña. She shared how developments like this help the community elevate the value of an area.

It’s a major contributing factor, she said. Ms. Sardeña shared whenever there’s new development, particularly commercial establishments, others follow suit, which helps the community to bring in more trust and investments.

In addition, Ms. Sardeña noted the availability of fresh products, especially in the frozen meats section, benefits the surrounding community by saving them travel time and resources needed to head to the nearest pamilihang bayan. (local marketplace)

“Medyo malayo kasi kami sa bayan,” she said. Kung titignan mo mga 8-10 minute drive yun at mahal ang pamasahe. So, para dun sa di makakapunta ng bayan, malaking tulong na rin na dun sa Alfamart na sila bibili, lalo na mga frozen goods.”  (We’re located a bit far from the local market. If you look at it, it’s an 8-10 minute drive and the fare is quite pricey. For those who can’t frequently go to the market, it helps that they can buy from Alfamart, especially frozen goods.)

In this regard, Mr. Ong assures that frozen goods in the stores are delivered safely and in compliance with health regulations. Proper facilities like freezers, chillers, and aircon units keep their products secured and ready to cook by any Filipino household.

“We are always humbled and thankful to be a part of our community’s growth,” said Mr. Ong. “It continues to inspire us to reach others knowing it helps create a positive impact in people’s lives.”

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