ALONGSIDE numerous construction activities in the country today, a homegrown hardware enterprise is interested to expand its presence in Cebu in the next three to five years.

James C. Co, Cebu Home and Builders Center chief operating officer, said three more stores are eyed to open within the period. The official shared this to reporters on Tuesday during the opening of its fifth branch in the town of Minglanilla.

Locations being considered are Bogo City and Mactan, areas in Cebu where construction activities are on an upswing. Other areas for expansion are still being studied.

Currently, Cebu Home and Builders maintains five stores in Cebu. The first store, the Banilad branch, opened in 2002. The remaining stores are located in Lapu-Lapu City, Pardo in Cebu City, Consolascion, and the recently opened branch in Minglanilla.

“One store like this one in Minglanilla, (will cost the company) around P60 million, including the inventories,” Co said. The newly opened branch has 17,000 articles occupying a 2,000-square meter property in Barangay Tunghaan.

Co said the expansion is supported by the robust construction activities undertaken in Cebu. He said the company is bullish with its 2015 performance and is set to surpass last year’s.

“With most projects now delivered to homeowners, it’s now the homeowners’ time to do the furnishings,” Co said. Retail transactions make up most of the business activities in Cebu Home and Builders. They primarily cater to home owners.

“We’ve always felt that the construction industry is on an uphill direction. We are only but a few percent of the pie. Despite developers importing their own materials, there is still a market for retail,” said Cookie Abing, Cebu Home and Builders operations manager.

However, in some cases, the company also caters to wholesale transactions for developers and contractors.

Abing said 2014 saw a huge demand for construction materials as rehabilitation work less than a year after super typhoon Yolanda devastated central Philippines in Novemeber 2013. Abing said they dealt with international humanitarian organizations in supplying construction materials.

But even without the disaster, she said construction activity in Cebu started picking up in 2009 after the global financial crisis.

Expansions outside Cebu, according to Abing, is unlikely for now. She explained that the company already has an indirect presence in provincial areas because some of the hardware stores and depots source their materials from them.

Presently, the company has a network of 200 dealers nationwide.

Abing said 70 percent of the articles in Cebu Home and Builders are locally sourced while the remaining 30 percent are imported, coming from Thailand, Malaysia, China, and New Zealand among others.

Cebu Home and Builders and its with its sister companies under the Cebu Oversea Hardware Co., Inc. employ around a thousand workers.