Small store, big dreams

Mothers come together to create a 240 member consumer co-op

December 03, 2020 | Be Informed

Mothers leading


Fifteen mothers started a small store out of a local Unbound office in Quezon City, Philippines. Now, five years later, they’re operating a consumer co-op with 240 members. 

While the store has evolved, its mission has remained the same: Uplift families in the community by offering goods at low costs. The group members saved for one year to raise the initial capital of 1,200 Philippine pesos (roughly $24 USD) each. 

Then, with a matching grant from Unbound, they were able to open the store and sell products at discounted rates, including food to sponsored elders and school supplies to Unbound scholars. 


These mothers never considered themselves entrepreneurs or leaders. However, they were determined to learn and attended local seminars and trainings, organized by Unbound, on how to start a
 co-op. After all, their futures depended on it. 


One

Two mothers of current and former sponsored children in the Unbound program in Quezon, Philippines, stock the store they own and operate together.

A vision of stability


“A cooperative is one of the visions of Unbound to have our own economic sustainability, so we can 
still have a business even when we’re not in the program,” said board member and co-operator 
Elenita Morales, whose daughter recently graduated from the Unbound program. “Just like me. I’m not in Unbound but I’m still here.”

Another advantage to becoming a legal consumer co-op, a milestone the group achieved last March, is that families can take out product loans. They can borrow up to 500 pesos (roughly $9.80 USD) worth of supplies at 0% interest, and they have a short amount of time to pay it back. 

“When we don’t have enough money we can borrow from the store, and then the store attendant will list our names and we’ll pay it back as soon as possible,” Elenita said.  

Elenita’s mothers group meets weekly and members take turns managing the store. They also host a general assembly every year and distribute profits equally among all 240 co-op members. Elenita says she and her fellow co-operators are just getting started. 

“Our dream is to have more investors and become a department store,” she said. “With the help of Unbound and the staff maybe someday, somehow.”
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Inventory ledger the mother-owners use to track items in stock.


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