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Online store for heritage goods opens

/ 05:12 AM October 26, 2018

Escaba Sweets, which has been making preserved food items for almost 50 years, has also found it beneficial to join Barapido.

Gone are the days when one needs to travel far just to satisfy a certain craving, or wait for a traveling friend to bring you that “pasalubong” from Laguna you are craving.

That’s because an online store was launched to bring “heritage products” from the provinces closer to Metro Manila consumers, even promising same-day delivery of goods.

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Barapido, a play on the words “barato” (affordable) and “rapido” (fast), went online recently, offering shoppers a wide array of food and other products from Laguna.

These include coconut-based items, preserved food, sumptuous desserts, salted eggs and even essential oils.

“There are a lot of things you cannot buy online, for example, buko pie. How are you going to buy this if you’re not going to Tagaytay, or ask somebody going there to get you Rowena’s or Colette’s? Barapido will deliver it to your doorstep the next day. We also have same-day delivery service,” Barapido General Manager Hannah Crisostomo told the Inquirer on the sidelines of the launch held at the Logistikus Innovation Hub in Taguig City.

The company is currently offering products from 50 Laguna-based merchants.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is helping Barapido reach out to small-and-medium enterprises and trade organizations in the provinces, to boost the company’s merchant base.

“We are a new company, but the people behind it have extensive experience and are seasoned in retail, marketing, logistics and supply chain,” Crisostomo said.

She said the idea to bring an online portal carrying heritage products came about when they were operating an online grocery in Los Baños late last year.

“We saw interesting products not normally found in Manila in the grocery and supermarkets. We saw the opportunity to promote these products outside Laguna. So we decided to create a platform to take these products out of their provincial homes and make them accessible to more people across the country, not just in their area,” Crisostomo said.

Barapido seeks to provide that boost the entrepreneurs need to take their businesses to the next level.

Noting the difficulty small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) experience in expanding their operations, Crisostomo said Barapido seeks to provide that boost the entrepreneurs need to take their businesses to the next level.

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“We allow the merchants and producers to focus on what they do best, which is creating these amazing products. And we will take care of the rest—marketing, warehousing, delivery and payment,” she added.

Barapido accepts merchants who make the products themselves, and are registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the DTI and the Securities and Exchange Commission. “They should also have the capability to handle big orders,” Crisostomo said.

One of the SMEs that signed up with Barapido is John Lloyd Quionza’s Gourmet Kitchen, a two-year-old company that offers “Spoonful Desserts,” a line of different-flavored leche flan in jars.

“I was struggling to reach out to online customers,” Quionza told the Inquirer.

He added: “It’s about time for a portal to focus on heritage food. This will help us reach our online targets. We prepared for this, and we are ready.”

Spoonful Desserts, Crisostomo shared, is one of the fastest moving items on the portal.

But it is not only the new players that Barapido has attracted to the platform.

Escaba Sweets, which has been making preserved food items such as “nata de coco, “kaong,” “mongo” and other local ingredients for almost 50 years, also found it beneficial to join Barapido.

“We are not available in supermarkets. We would like to be known in the Philippines aside from our toll packs for big manufacturers. We want the people to be more aware of Escaba Sweets,” the company’s marketing and business development manager JC Tagula told the Inquirer.

Even those who have been enjoying global sales have also joined Barapido.

Phynne Barnett of Gold in Grass Corp., a company that produces and markets lemongrass oil products, told the Inquirer that it was the DTI which encouraged her company to tackle the local market.

“The DTI said we have had so much acclaim abroad and affecting the world on a global scale. So it’s about time the Philippines appreciates and tries the goodness of our Philippine-made products,” Barnett said.

The rebranded product geared for the local market was launched in 2017, and its Philippine expansion and promotion has taken a boost by going onboard Barapido.

Barapido is currently serving consumers in Metro Manila, but it plans to expand to the Visayas by November, and in Mindanao by the end of the year.

It also plans to expand its merchant base to 500, and tap even more SMEs manufacturing and producing heritage products from across the country.

Crisostomo said a Barapido mobile app is also in the works.

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