Dried fish, pasalubong store venture and Sinulog visitors

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo January 07,2018 - 09:44 PM

The Desamparado couple, Mely and Boy, continue to grow their 30-year-old dried fish and pasalubong store business Niño and Khristy Drief Fish and Pasalubong Store in the Taboan Public Market. CDN PHOTO/Rosalie O. Abatayo

Couple gears up for sales surge from Sinulog tourists of their 32-year Taboan business

As the Sinulog beat begins to fill up the air, the excitement for the festivities are beyond visible — from the crowded ports, fully booked hotels, down to the dizzying number of diners in mall-based restaurants. The crowd that Sinulog draws to Cebu brings opportunity for every entrepreneur before, during and after the Grand Mardi Gras on January 21.

Mely Desamparado looks forward to bountiful sales of dried fish and Cebuano delicacies as foreign and local visitors will shop for pasalubong items after the festivities.

They are looking forward to this month, the Sinulog month, which is one of the peak times for their business with foreign and local tourists as their target market.

Mely and her husband, Boy, manage their 32-year-old dried fish and pasalubong store in the Taboan Public Market which is named after their eldest children, Niño and Khristy.

Mely also said that aside from the Sinulog month, the Holy Week is also a good time for them.

How they started

Niño and Khristy were born in 1985, the same year that their parents started their store in the Taboan Public Market along Tres de Abril St. in Cebu City.

Their products include the renowned danggit (rabbitfish) from Bantayan Island, pinikas (drief fish, halved), dried squid, and Cebuano delicacies such as otap, rosquillos and dried mangoes.

Mely and Boy, who both hail from Bantayan Island in northern Cebu, have been in the dried fish business since they could remember. Boy was selling dried fish for his mother, who used to ship dried fish from Bantayan when he was still in his teens, while Mely was a store helper in one of the dried fish stores in Taboan then.

“Maningkamot gyod ka, kay kung di ka molihok di ka kakaon hasta imong pamilya (You really have to work hard because if you will not, then you could not provide for your family),” said Mely.

Consigned products

When they started on their own, the couple consigned dried fish from Boy’s mother, so they could pay for the cost of the goods when all of them would be sold.

With her experience in selling dried fish as a saleslady of a dried fish store, then 24-year-old Mely was confident and optimistic when she and Boy put up their own dried fish stall in the market.

“Sa negosyo, ang imong puhonan ra gyod kay kining guts nga di ka maulaw, kay kung maulaw ka, wa gyod kay mahimo. Kung di ka manghagad di gyod ka mahalinan. Naa gyod kay imong ambisyon (In this business, your investment is your determination to sell your products. If you are too shy to offer your products, then you cannot sell and make any profit. You have to have ambition and passion to grow your business),” said Mely.


For Mely, there is no certainty of success in any business.

“Di man gyod ka kasiguro sa panahon. Naa’y kusog, naay hinay. Naa ra gyod na nimo kung unsaon nimo pag-istorya ang customer nga mahalinan ka (There are times when our sales are high, but sometimes there are also times when our sales are low. But it will depend on how one will interact with one’s customers to close a sale),” she said.

In more than three decades in their business, Mely recalled some times when she was discouraged to continue because of losses.

She said that she used to give her goods for consignment but some could not pay her in time.

Overcoming challenges

“Ma-down baya ka ana kay balik napod ka sa uno, pinangita og puhonan para makabalik kag tinda (One would sometimes feel discouraged when faced with challenges in the business because one would have to be back to square one, where one would have to look for capital to sustain the business),” said Mely.

Her trust in God, however, helped her and her husband to persevere and overcome these challenges.

“Kung naay magpautang, mangutang ta pero siguro gyod nga bayaran. Di man ta moasenso anang utang nga di bayran kay makakita man ang Ginoo nga nanglupig ka (I used to borrow money to sustain the business, but I always make sure that I pay my debts. One can never succeed in business if one will not pay one’s debts because God sees that one is taking advantage of somebody),” she said.

Family business

Anchored by the couple’s persistence and faith, Niño and Khristy Dried Fish and Pasalubong has expanded and now occupies two store spaces in Taboan Public Market.

Aside from that, Mely and Boy has also expanded to supplying dried fish products to popular hotels and restaurants in Metro Cebu.

Their business had provided for their needs including the education of their six children.

The couple now have a business administration graduate, two nurses, two seamen and a police officer in the making.

During their free time, the children of the Desamparados also help in their store. Aside from that, Mely’s sister and nieces are also helping the couple to man the store.

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TAGS: dried fish, pasalubong, Sinulog Festival, store, venture, visitors

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