From Trash to Riches (January 1994, Kerygma Magazine)
by Patsy Alejandro-Paterno

  

1-1-94.jpg (5663 bytes)   "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." (Psalm 127:1).  This is one of my mom's favorite verses.  As a family we can truly say that the Lord built our business from a small hobby my mom has had since 1968 to the family corporation of today.

    When we were young, mom would often make use of what people would throw away: a scrap cloth from the clothes she sewed for us would become a Santa with a sack full of goodies, for example.

    We had our first shop along Tomas Morato.  It was named KORBEN after my parent's names, Corit and Benny.  We used to joke among ourselves: why not have one named PAPEMELROTI after OUR names?   PAtsy, PEggy, MELdy, RObert and TIna!

    In 1976, we opened the first PAPEMELROTI at the galleria level of Ali Mall.  It was summer and we did the selling as well as made some of the stuff to sell.  Tina was only 7 then and customers stared at her aghast as she wrapped their purchase.  One of them found this so unusual that she wrote about our family for a weekly mag.  Ever since, we've never had to advertise - God is our PR manager!

    He is definitely a working partner in our business.  He guides us in our decisions, big or small.  When we decide to open a new branch, we pray first.  It was a difficult decision to open in SM City North EDSA because of the uncertain economic and political situation at the time, but we clearly had a go signal from Him.  We've not regretted our decision to obey Him.

    Once, we were invited to get a space at the Harrison Plaza.  This was the only time the Lord indicated it was not His will that we expand.  We found out why a few months later when a fire broke out at that shopping mall and gutted a major portion of the building!

    Today we have 8 stores in shopping malls around Manila and are planning to open 2 more in Cebu.  We now have a factory in Bulacan, and our workers there are provided with housing.  Because we know that this is the Lord's business and He is the one who prospers the work of our hands, we really try to pay the riight amount of taxes.  Through all the political and economic ups and downs, it is the Lord's special blessing that our sales increase by about 30% each year!

    It is also amazing to us that we have, through no planning of our own, become one of the frontrunners in environment retailing.  We use kraft paper to make gift wrappers and stationery.   This used to be regarded only as fit for wrapping pan de sal (a kind of bread).   We now export our products to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan!

    In response to God's faithfulness and to thank our customers for their encouragement through the years, we decided to come up with a quarterly mini-journal.  Each had a different theme, but basically we wanted to share our love of God, family, and country.  It is wonderful that in our business we are only able to provide for ourselves and others, but that we enjoy it so much because we share in a little way, God's joy in making beautiful things for man to appreciate and treasure.  We recognize that without the Lord's blessing and guidance, our talents and skills could easily have been wasted, but once we put them in His hands, these loaves and fishes have been multiplied a hundredfold.

 

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