The Metro stores’ 40-year legacy of making life easy

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Written by: Ruth L. Navarra

Metro Ayala Center Cebu made the headlines four years ago when a fire gutted the well-loved store. But just like a phoenix rising from the ashes, it bounced back looking better than it was before. Last year, it reopened as an ultra modern mall, becoming the The Metro Stores chain’s flagship store.

But the rise of the new and improved Metro Ayala Center Cebu is just one of the many success stories in the company’s colorful 40-year history.

Victor and Sally Gaisano built their first Gaisano Metro on Colon Street, Cebu, in 1982. It became Metro Gaisano and eventually renamed to what we know today as Metro Department Store and Supermarket. It has since expanded into key cities, including Metro Manila, in Ayala Malls Feliz, Market! Market! and Alabang Town Center.

The legacy of Victor and Sally continues through their children, Margaret, Jack, Edward and Frank. In an email interview with Lifestyle, Margaret Gaisano-Ang, The Metro Stores director, told us how they as a family have maintained a congenial working relationship through the years.

“Communication is key,” she said. “Understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, covering for each other and willingness to listen and adjust.”

The company is celebrating its Ruby anniversary this year, and Gaisano-Ang shared what she’s most proud of in their 40 years in the business. “It’s a homegrown retail store in Cebu, which we started from zero, and we have developed a loyal customer base that supports us and grows with us.”

Gaisano-Ang said that it’s the people who are behind the longevity of the brand. It’s the faith and trust of their loyal Metro family, customers, business partners and stakeholders that have kept them relevant through the years, she added.

“We are most grateful to our Metro family who were there with us through thick and thin. [We were dealt with blows from] earth, wind, fire and the pandemic, but they all stayed with us, giving us the strength and faith to continue and meet the challenges along the journey.”

Answering needs of the time

It is their customers’ needs and their ever-changing shopping habits that constantly challenge the Gaisanos and the Metro fam. The goal is clear to them: make life easy for their shoppers.

Metro stores
Manuel Alberto, president of The Metro Stores: “We thank our customers for their loyalty.”

“Business partners and customers inspire and motivate us to continuously seek to improve and be relevant to our customers and the community,” Gaisano-Ang said.

They’ve introduced several innovations to answer the needs of the time. Metro Pabili is one of them, according to The Metro Stores president Manuel Alberto. Metro Pabili is patronized mostly by moms who are used to going to the stores personally.

The Metro Stores’ personal shopper serves as their representative in the store, while the website serves their tech-savvy customers, usually the eldest child who’s in charge of the household’s budget.

Alberto said that these channels are still used even with the easement of restrictions. However, the behavior of the shoppers has also changed recently. They are excited to go back and shop in stores.

“Our customers want to go back to the old ways. What they miss in physical shopping is the excitement of the store. Online shopping is great for the basic things that we just want to keep buying. But in the store, you will see more offers or new arrival offers that are not easily available online,” he said.

Alberto added that Filipinos view shopping as one way to bond. “We are noticing the baskets they use are much bigger, which means they are coming seldom to the store, but they are buying more,” he said.

Another reason people keep coming back is the competitive pricing. This goes to show how much the Gaisanos understand the Filipino family—every family is always trying to find ways to stretch their budget.

Simple life

Margaret Gaisano-Ang, The Metro Stores director: “Business partners and customers inspire and motivate us.”

That the Gaisanos have a keen grasp of Filipinos’ need to save up wherever they can wouldn’t surprise those who know the family. After all, the Gaisano children were raised to lead a simple life.

“It is ingrained early on in our children’s minds to be frugal, to live a simple life and to follow the example of our elders. They did not have big allowances as students. They were taught how to save money for rainy days,” Gaisano-Ang said. “The pandemic and typhoons taught the children that they might encounter bumps and challenges, so it’s really important that they’re not financially compromised during tough times.”

Gaisano-Ang said that she and her siblings were raised to value the need to save. “Learn to substitute or do without if it is not absolutely necessary,” she said.

The Metro Stores have been trying to help find solutions for their customers to beat inflation. Enrolling in Metro Rewards Card is one of them. The loyalty program offers more discounts on top of what is already being given during sales or promotions. It earns points, too.

Anniversary deals and promos

The Metro Stores marks its birthday with one of its biggest sale events, the Super 40! Big 3-Day Happyversary Sale from October 14-16.

“Plan your shopping. Check out our promotions during our anniversary and Christmas sales. We urge our customers to plan around these promotions. They are designed to help our customers with their concerns for managing their budget,” Alberto said.

Customers might also want to take advantage of the deals and promotions for Metro’s 40th anniversary. One ongoing promo is earning a P150 gift certificate (GC) for every P3,500 single-receipt purchase from Metro Supermarket. Fresh n’ Easy and Metro Mart store buyers can also earn a P50 GC for every P1,500 single-receipt purchase.

Alberto suggested pantry loading, and to watch for bundle deals, especially for the essentials. This is crucial in the coming holiday season. Stock up on items that will not immediately spoil, he said.

It’s the perfect time to take advantage of The Metro Stores’ three-day sale that ends tomorrow. The sale is part of the month-long celebration of its Ruby anniversary.

Raffle tickets can also be earned for every P1,000 purchase from Metro’s 63 stores nationwide. Two major winners will win a P1-million shopping spree. The Metro Stores are giving away more than P5 million worth of prizes.

The sale this month is unlike any other sale that The Metro Stores have mounted in the past.

“This is all because it’s our 40th, a major milestone in our company’s history. And we really have to thank our Ayala customers for their loyalty,” said Alberto.

Recalling the Metro Ayala Center Cebu fire, he said that, typically, customers would have found another place to go to after years of absence. But “our customers were waiting for us. Our sales are better than before the fire.”

The Metro Stores’ dedication to keeping their loyal customers and employees happy extends to keeping them healthy. They will hold the [email protected] Ruby Fun Run on Nov. 6 at the Ayala Center Terraces.

Follow The Metro Stores’ social media accounts to keep updated of their promotions.