Henry Sy

1662 Words Jul 12th, 2013 7 Pages
Our company, SM, as many of you may already know, came from the hard work of my dad, Henry Sy, Sr. It is a rags to riches story that even myself did not realize until I went to trace his roots in China.
His journey from the thatched hut I saw there to the shopping centers he has today is something that amazes even myself.
His determination, his discipline and his thriftiness have produced an astute and street smart businessman who has influenced a lot of people. Including us, his children.
My father’s perseverance during the different crises our country has gone through has made our active business pursuits possible for a half century. True, he was disappointed with the economy many times, but he never saw the reason to quit and instead
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We opened our first department store in 1972, two months after Martial Law was declared. The business had a slow start, but progressed steadily. During the Martial Law years, he continued to open more department stores, reaching a point wherein he could not get space he needed in the existing shopping centers during that time. He then decided think long term, and invest in properties for malls, which were patterned after suburban shopping centers, which he had been studying for some time.
When we started the construction of our first mall in 1983, the Philippines was in the midst of a debt moratorium and experienced hyper inflation. The economy decline was further aggravated by the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. Many bankers predicted our demise because my dad came from nowhere – he may had a few department stores and shoe stores at that time, but he was not one of the financial heavy-weights at that time.
Unaffected by criticism, and armed with sheer determination and optimism, he persisted and opened in 1985 with our department store and supermarket and a few tenants. Many potential lessees were saying no to lease offers.
At about the same time, given the social unrest of the times, our own Shoemart Makati was faced with ugly strikes. He almost gave up, but through the encouragement of his employees and customers, he continued. At that time, he decided emotionally draining disturbances should not overpower

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