Henry Sy: The Patriarch of Retail Business in the Philippines
SM malls all over the nation had fulfilled their business ideology and promise, that “They got it all for you in a one-stop shop”. As we all know, the man behind all these SM super malls, is no less than Mr. Henry Sy. This business related article will trace his simple and humble beginnings from a sari-sari owner to an unbelievable stature of a billionaire business tycoon. According to this gigantic name in the business and economic industries, “Success is not just good luck, it is a combination of hard work, good credit standing, opportunity, readiness and timing”. From his unprecedented triumph in the business world, let us all discover the other side of this Chinese merchant, who is known to be as the “Father of Philippine Retail Businesses”.
Henry Sy: The Inimitable Chinese Immigrant
Henry Sy was born on the 25th day of December 1924. He is considered to be as a Filipino businessman, with a Chinese ancestry. He is the founding chairman of SM Prime Holdings, which is considered to be as the “biggest retailer and shopping mall operator in the Southeast Asia”. As a college student, he had earned a degree in Associate of Arts, with a major in Commercial Studies at the Far Eastern University in the 1950′s. During his formative years, his father left him and migrated to the Philippines. His real name is Shī Zhì Chéng, meaning, to attain success.
Source of Strength and Inspiration
The father of Henry Sy, was a trader by profession. To test the waters in the Philippines, the elder Sy searched for a small store in Echague, Street, at the back of the famous Chinatown. Due to a hard life, his father decided to go to Divisoria for a much relatively cheaper price of wholesale goods. Meanwhile, the younger Sy, already knew the value of hard work at a very young age when he helped his father in their business from the wee hours of the morning till late in evening on a daily basis.
His love and quest for education began at the Anglo Chinese School, which is located in Quiapo. From scratch, he had learned the ropes of business the hard way. However, his inherent acumen for business was the ultimate reason why he took up a business course, which was aforementioned in this business article.
During the late 1950′s he had decided to change his real name to Henry Sy. This came soon after he was finally granted a Filipino citizenship. Meanwhile, his loving wife Felicidad, was also given the same kind of citizenship. On the other hand, before World War I broke out, all types of businesses went out of hand; and eventually closed down. As a result, this was the most difficult chapter in his colorful and successful life. Nothing was left of their family.
Henry Sy: The Hardworking Shoe Peddler
After the destructive war in 1945, he joyously peddled American shoe-brands. While doing business all by himself, he had effectively learned the said market, the hard way. In line with this, he had secured his first business credit in the year 1949 courtesy of China Bank. “Do you want to know how much was the said loan?” It was only 1,000,000.00 pesos. From the starting capital the first SM was born.
The Humble Beginnings of Shoe Mart
After the first Shoe Mart was conceptualized and born, his creative intellect pushed him to put up a new chain of shoe stores. As expected, it had gained insurmountable popularity; and branched out to three outlets. However, he was not satisfied and fulfilled with the outcome of his shoes business. Therefore, he had thought of some new business innovations to make his conglomerate to flourish.
This time, Henry Sy had added various lines of electronic appliances to his merchandises. In addition to this, the shoe stores of Sy had reached pioneer urban centers at the Makati Commercial Center in 1963. Likewise, the Sy business conglomerate had expanded to Cubao, Harrison Plaza and last but not the least, in Iloilo City.
The Birth of The SM Logo
As the years passed, the SM logo was already used as short cut for its full business name, “Shoe Mart”. Moreover, the said logo was designed by no less than Juvenal Sanso. As a result, the said business insignia became a phenomenal sensation, among its consumers, across the nation.
In 1975, SM became fully operational as department store. As a business approach, Sy added supermarkets inside the SM malls. Prior to the People Power Revolution, the SM branch in North Edsa became a reality. To describe, the said SM outlet, it had a closest proximity to a shoe box. Also, its fully-air-conditioned, which symbolizes the charismatic characteristics of modern shopping conveniences.
SM Conquers Cebu, Mall Of Asia: His Greatest Business Legacy
Meanwhile, an SM branch outside Metro Manila was christened. It’s name is SM Cebu. The said mall was officially opened to the public in 1996. But, Henry Sy, never stopped dreaming. On May 21, 2006, the SM Mall of Asia was finally inaugurated, despite of its controversies.
The said SM was established on a 19.5 hectares reclaimed area, conveniently located at the west part of Roxas Boulevard; and at the southernmost tip of EDSA. To attract hundreds of thousands of customers, the SM Mall of Asia has a huge roundabout at the facade of the mall with an equally fascinating bronze globe.
As far as the main attraction of the mall is concerned, the management of SM Prime Holdings thought of building the Pacifica Entertainment Plaza. Similarly, this “Biggest Mall in Asia has world-class bowling facilities, billiards and the first-ever IMAX Theater in the Philippines.
Henry Sy embodies the true Filipino spirit of a businessman who knows the quest of excellence in every talent, which has been given by the Almighty.