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Second chances: Inspiring stories from The Good Guys Bazaar

Published By: | May 6, 2021

“ Positive energy is like muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. The stronger it gets, the more powerful you become. – American author Jon Gordon ”

From the outside, The Good Guys Bazaar looks just like any other bazaar you would see in a mall: sellers selling different kinds of stuff, from food to plants to gift items.

Except that this one offers more than the usual bazaar fare. When you buy from these sellers, you are helping extend a lifeline to parents displaced by the pandemic. You give people the means to help others. You are helping displaced Overseas Filipino Workers have the means to stay home with their family. Meet two of these mompreneurs.

From OFW to baker: Suzzaraine Visda of Kiara’s Kitchen

Suzzaraine Visda mans her booth with her husband. Upon closer inspection, you’ll see she’s not selling heaps of baked bread. Her cinnamon rolls and banana bread are displayed artfully and properly-spaced in her booth. They are baked in small batches to make sure each bread is made with love — a fitting practice for a business named after her own daughter.

“I have Oreo ensaymada, classic cinnamon roll, banana bread with chocolate chips, and carrot cake with chocolate chips and walnut,” Suzzaraine tells us, pointing to each of the items in her photogenic spread.

Suzzaraine and her family are tenants of SMDC Field Residences in Paranaque. She is one of over 250 resident entrepreneurs participating in The Good Guys’ Entrepreneurship Program.

“We started by joining the market in our gazebo,” says Suzzaraine. “Then SMDC invited us to the market at the Two E-com Building in MOA and the bazaars at SMDC Jazz Mall and Grace Mall, with our booths free of charge,” she shares.

Suzzaraine became a resident entrepreneur out of a need to make a living. She was working in Saudi Arabia and decided to resign to be with her family. She came home to Manila, hoping to find a new job fast, and then the pandemic started.

“My job application did not push through,” Suzzaraine recalls. “So when SMDC offered this opportunity, it was like a new beginning for me. I am so thankful and grateful.”

As an entrepreneur, Suzzaraine says she is doing well. “Being present in a mall is good exposure. It also allows us to meet many customers, make new friends, and build rapport with them,” she says with a smile. “Best of all, I am able to help my husband.”

Suzzaraine pays her good fortune forward by working with other people as resellers — sharing with them the opportunity to earn an income from selling bread.

The sign you’ve been looking for: Maribelle Nervaez of His Staff On Us

Maribelle Nervaez is a resident of Jazz Residences in Makati. Her booth immediately stands out because it is brimming with signs you can display at your office desk, take home to your family, or give away as gifts. The signs showcase positive messages about hope, reminding all of us about God’s love and His promise never to forsake us. When you feel weary, this is what you need.

“SMDC asked us if we could join bazaars, so I came up with a business that can help people cope with the pandemic while also being an expression of my faith,” Maribelle says. “My business partner here is Jesus Christ. It is about sharing the Gospel and keeping hope alive.”

While she already had a food business, the inspiration to start her new business came to her during prayer and fasting. “I asked God what else I can do to help others,” she recalls. “Then I was directed to a supplier of these signs.”

When Maribelle pitched 3 different kinds of enterprises that can participate in The Good Guys Bazaar, SMDC approved His Staff. “We are so blessed that we don’t have to pay for our booth while we get to enjoy this opportunity to sell,” Maribelle posits. “This is a wonderful perk of living in SMDC and a big help for us.”

Maribelle’s business is her platform to reach out to others. She would ask her customers why they would buy the specific sign or message they choose, and then offer to pray for them and with them. “There is always hope,” says Maribelle.

Empowered communities powered by The Good Guys

The Good Guys Bazaar is more than the usual market or bazaar. It is a vehicle through which SMDC helps their home-based entrepreneurs in promoting their business and reaching a bigger market, under a project called The Good Guys Entrepreneurship Program.

Under this program is The Good Guys Entrepreneurship Academy which is a series of webinars on how to start a business, food safety, online selling and marketing (among many others). These webinars help educate these new entrepreneurs so they can start over from being displaced residents, business owners, and OFWs.

The Good Guys not only give their residents the skills to become entrepreneurs; they also provide the platforms so their resident entrepreneurs can prosper.

At SMDC, it’s all about good vibes, good deeds, and, yes, Good Guys. *Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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