10 franchise brands you didn't know are from Cebu
Sam Christopher Lim
The island province of Cebu is known for many things: sumptuous lechon, sweet ripe mangoes, white sand beaches, ingenious furniture design, and fiesta-loving Cebuanos, among other things.
But don't let their laid-back and fiesta-loving lifestyle fool you; Cebuanos are a hardworking and entrepreneurial lot. It's no wonder then that the “Queen City of the South” has seen massive economic growth and infrastructure development over the past couple of decades.
Another testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of Cebuanos is the number of franchise brands that have come out of Cebu. Some of these franchise brands have not only achieved nationwide success, they are also setting their sights on the international market.
Before Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner ruled the city, Penshoppe already ruled fashion retail in the Philippines. Founded in Cebu in 1986, Penshoppe is the flagship brand of Golden ABC Inc., the apparel manufacturing company owned by Bernie Liu. As one of the early franchise players, Penshoppe expanded to a network of more than 300 stores here and abroad, with presence in Dubai, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and soon in Australia.
Founded in Cebu in 1992, Island Souvenirs took the idea of pasalubong to a whole new level. Its founder Jay Aldeguer wanted to elevate Cebu's souvenirs industry from a cottage industry to a full-pledged retail powerhouse that can compete in the major malls. Today, Island Souvenirs uses franchising to manage a network of more than 80 stores all over the Philippines, and has paved the way for an island-hopping experience called Islands Banca and a chain of budget hotels called Islands Stay.
Before Starbucks came to the Philippines in 1997, there was already Bo's Coffee. Founded by Steve Benitez in Cebu in 1996, Bo's Coffee has since grown into one of the country's leading specialty coffee shops. It also advocates for the promotion of Philippine coffee, and helps local coffee farmers by choosing to strictly source its coffee beans locally. Today, Bo's Coffee is spreading homegrown coffee goodness through its network of more than 60 stores.