The famous business chronicle of any economic empire is geniial knowledge and competitive wisdom. These are the lasting inspirations of National Bookstore. It was considered a universal and domineering business chain that made the lives of students and career-oriented Filipinos more colorful as they are slowly becoming intellectually competitive and flexible through the remarkable legacies and contributions of this widely-renowned book hub in the academic field. For the sake of a profound intelligence this noble and first-ever bookstore in the Philippines had successfully braved the storms and challenges in business when it had magnificently resurrected itself from the rubbles of fire, storms, political upheavals and financial obstacles to attain success.

National Bookstore enriches the Filipino minds through the years.

National Bookstore enriches the Filipino minds through the years.

Humble Beginnings

National Bookstore was a wisdom of God to Jose Ramos and his beloved wife, Socorro Cancio Ramos. Initially, it was only a small store in Escolta which only markets some primal supplies and those best-selling GI Novels. Apart from these merchandises, the soon to be ultimate and colossal chain of bookstores in the Philippines had tried selling textbooks, too. Unfortunately, the sudden outbreak of a devastating Second World War abruptly allowed the unlawful banning of textbooks which was strictly imposed across the nation. As a result, they had resorted to sell other prime commodities such as soaps, footwear and some sorts of sweets. This type of business pursuit of the Ramos family, had furthered developed in them the immense capacity to gain more patience, resilience and perseverance to keep them going with a grateful heart. To sustain their only means of survival Socorro and Jose Ramos had bought their business supplies from wholesalers and then, reselling these goods in the not so big retail stores. However, another obstacle has tested the spiritual tenacity of this very admirable couple. This had happened when a particular vicinity in Escolta was mercilessly razed by a fire during the historic Battle of Manila. Nevertheless, this industrious and intelligent husband and wife team had decided to erect a shanty type of home which beautifully served as their stall. It was located along the busy streets of Soler and Avenida, Rizal in Manila.

After the war, they gladly returned to their textbook and school supplies business. Although the rivalry between businessmen was very stiff then, both Socorro and Jose Ramos was able to outlast their rivals by establishing the first branch of National Bookstore, Manila in 1947. After 12 months of unprecedented success, a storm surge had shattered their fondest dreams. All of their books and other school supplies were damaged; and none of their bread and butter were left. Perhaps, they have been abundantly blessed with limitless streaks of luck. With the guidance and generosity of the Lord, National Bookstore was at its feet once again. To begin with, they had simply built a dual-storey mezzanine wherein they had started to make their lives whole again through their on and off textbook business. On the other hand, the Philippines’ Golden Years had somewhat been a lucky charm for the Ramoses. Socorro had intuitively thought of selling attractive greeting cards, which proudly promoted the various and hard to forget tourist attractions in the Philippines and the most striking artworks of Filipino National Artists. Besides making good money in her latest passion and hobby, Socorro Ramos had perfectly exhibited the awesome Filipino culture so easily around the world.

The Birth of Hallmark Greeting Cards

Subsequently, their firm was able to gladly covet the prestigious franchising accord of Hallmark Greeting Cards. In that same year, they were able to make their dreams larger than life when they finally entered the world of publication, through a dynamic program. Of course, they were in close partnership with the biggest and illustrious names of the said industry. Among these are: The Mcgraw Hill, Prentice Hall and Addison-Wesley among others. Truly, these God-fearing proprietors of the leading bookstore in the Philippines have gone a long, long way. Over the years, they were able to purchase a prime piece of property from a business partner, after five long years. After that very momentous milestone, they had begun to build the Albecer Building. Interestingly, the name of their multi-million peso property was taken from the first two syllables of their siblings’ names.They are Alfredo, Benjamin and Cecilia. As far as the last letter is concerned, it overwhelmingly stands for their family’s business name.

National Bookstore: The Economic Metamorphosis

National Bookstore has gloriously relaunched itself by giving this business gem a new twist and meaning; to make their customers more satisfied and happy through the years. In 1996, the company had decided to modify its timeless lettering which paved the way for its most glaring popularity of all time. To date, the firm has hired the services of a Singaporean-owned business entity to enhance the lettering of NB.Therefore, a more modernized approach of branding scheme was excitedly introduced to the consuming public until now. Hence, the stores’ layout was also changed to provide its loyal patrons a fresher look and ambiance. Today, the different sections of NB are purposely coded with distinct colors in order to easily distinguish the needs of different people across the Philippines.

Today, there are now exactly 128 branches of National Bookstore all over the country and around the globe. These include the National Bookstore’s Bestsellers, Metro Books, which is incidentally a subsidiary outlet in Hong Kong that only began its operations in 2007. It also has Powerbooks and National Bookstore Express. In the coming years, the Ramoses book and school supplies empire is planning to venture into other business endeavors like wholesaling, publication, printing, distribution and manufacturing.

In closing, there is no such thing as a business lucky charm. It is the faith and a positive attitude that made what National Bookstore a phenomenal partner of the Filipinos in nation building.

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