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Weekend market inspires community spirit

Vernon Velasco

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Necessity and, of course, a lot of creative thinking are what allow social enterprises to thrive in a local community. At Primehomes, Capitol Hills, the challenge is simple: In a pandemic, where everybody is encouraged to stay home, how would it keep its residents safe and its community closer?
The property has spaces, and so its officers asked, “What can we build here?”

A weekend neighborhood market is basic — and timely. In lean times, especially the ones that compel people to be very skeptical about the people they rub elbows with, shoppers don’t just pinch pennies when making a run to superstores and wet markets. They now proceed with a copious degree of caution, say, when buying a jar of hummus somewhere within a convenient driving distance or, because one can’t wait for the pandemic to end, when driving across town to try a new roast beef sandwich.

The rationale is basic: A weekend market that moves its 257 residents of reasons to stay home, that becomes meaningful when it acquaints people in a community and adds a dash of flavor to the neighborhood.

Larossa’s neighborhood market is on a space the size of a premium parking area. Its 14 vendors and owners of independent businesses — all of them Larossa unit owners — deck their shelves with well-curated basic and essential choices.

Products at the Larossa weekend market awaiting neighborhood patronage aren’t remiss in telling their sustainability-minded brand story.

 

Kape Cordi, for instance, simply dreams of offering better coffee options other than the instant ones.

“We’re reselling some of the products from the Baguio, where we’re from, specifically coffee. Baguio coffee is underrated, which is why we resell to inform our customers in Larossa so that they shift from instant to brewed coffee, especially now that everybody has the time,” Che Grabador said. “Before, this was an online thing that we made during the enhanced community quarantine, and we’re thankful to Larossa because we’re not just able to earn more, we’re also able to make people support local especially on things they can do on our own, like coffee.”

Another vendor, Anikka Palaganas, said that, through the Larossa weekend market, they’re able to bring to the fore Pangasinan’s lesser-known, but best-in-the-world atchara or papaya relish.

“We take pride in the fact that they’re healthy. We noticed that there’s a lack of authentic Pangasinan food here so we wanted to bring the delicacies from Pangasinan to Quezon City,” she said.

 

Noriza Sadie, who owns a farm in Pampanga and the farm-to-table business venture Farmiza, said her business model fits Primehomes community-supported initiative, saying that Farmiza, like the Larossa weekend market, capitalizes on the time-honored connection between the consumer and the grower. Farmiza added that this paves the way for better customer service and helps in not just giving the neighbor/customers fresh local produce, but insights into their processes as well.

 

Sadie said putting up a store in the Larossa weekend market doesn’t require a participation fee, and thus it helps them find another source of income.

“I’m really grateful to Primehomes because they’re not just very patient understanding the situation of their unit owners, they also gave us a means of income,” Maritess Sagaran, a Batangas fresh-eggs supplier, said. “We are able to secure a community of customers and market built on connection and trust.

“We follow guidelines when it comes to the setup, such as sanitation installations and registrations. In other weekend markets they have the participant fee. Here, it’s free because we encourage ‘community,’” head of Primehomes Property Management Department, Architect Juris Valencia said. “All our vendors’ products are premium and local. We support local because, who else, in this pandemic, would?”

To inquire about Primehomes, Capitol Hills, visit www.primehomes.com.ph.

The Larossa weekend market that divests its residents reasons to go out also acquaints people in the community and adds to it a dash of flavor.
PHOTOGRAPH BY YUMMIE DINGDING FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

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