Sarah’s Echo-A A +A
Sunday, June 1, 2014
SARAH Claudio along with her sister-in-law Elle had one thing in common, both are dynamic health-conscious young individuals. Their common passion had led them to open up a concept social enterprise, the Echostore.
ECHO is an acronym which stands for E for Environment, C for Community, H for hope, and O for organization. The social enterprise which is the first of its kind in the country was founded by Chit Juan, Jeannie Javelosa and Renee Francisco.
The store is a unique tri-partite partnership between the private sector, the non-government organizations and the communities pushing for sustainable lifestyle, ECHO stores sells a wide-range of products sourced from indigenous and creative communities, companies that espouse fair labor practices, farms that practice organic agriculture and among many other sustainable social enterprises.
Davao is the fourth ECHO Store across the country and the first outside Manila. Elle and Sarah had to undergo weeks of training in ECHO store in Serendra to prepare them for their Davao venture.
“Dabawenyos are more health-conscious nowadays. We see fitness centers sprouting all over the city, organic fairs and markets are more evident…people in Davao are simply seeking healthier food alternatives and “want” to adapt a healthier lifestyle. Locavorism and pinoy-centric advocates are emerging creating a specialty market for the food and retail goods we offer,” says Sarah Claudio during an interview at Echostore.
Sarah had been dubbed as a serial entrepreneur establishing new businesses since resigning from her job in Makati six years ago. She established the fashion brand SunLab a summer-theme fashion boutique in Gaisano Mall, invested in a franchise of Penongs- a popular chicken barbeque chain, and put-up For The Love of Prints a specialty print-shop.
“I’ve been wanting to put up a social enterprise. Being in the retail business for 7 years, I felt that Echostore would have been the perfect business model. I just chanced upon the flagship store in Serendra at the Global City in Taguig sometime March last year,” Sarah recalls her first encounter with an Echostore.
After attending a Gawad Kalinga Business Summit in Bulacan, Sarah saw the potentials of a business which pushes and caters to individuals following the principles of sustainable living, which Sarah says is a growing market.
With available space in a family-owned building, where her brother Paolo also maintains his office, Sarah and Paolo’s wife Elle got in touch with the Echostore founders and inquired about the licensing.
“I really felt that it was the perfect business to put up in a location that is off-downtown, making it a “destination” store.”
Located along Davao’s Diversion road which is a few minutes away from the Central Business District or the poblacion, the store attracts a growing clientele particularly a stream of diners wanting to indulge in Echostore’s organic food menu that consists of healthy salads, soups, sandwiches and pasta (this writer recommends pasta ala trio).
Sarah says Echostore is worth visiting as the tri-concept of a cafe, store and market that advocates sustainable lifestyle is a concept something new to Davao.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 02, 2014.