HOW do you see yourself when you reach your 30s? Get married and build a family? Land an “okay” job?
At 34, Celine Velez Palomares is not your ordinary woman. She is currently running her own business that not only is after profit but also in making Kagay-anons fit and healthy.
Located along Velez Street, Celine owns the Cagayan de Oro branch of Echostore, a specialty store which earned its reputation sourcing and marketing eco-friendly products from all over the country, produced by communities or groups for their livelihood.
“I fell in love with Echostore when I happened to pass by it in Manila. For 8 years, I was with a real estate company there and it came to a point when I just really got tired of it, I wanted to go home,” Celine said.
After being employed for about eight years, Celine wanted to be her own boss, and she wants to do it for a good cause, that is, venturing in a business centered on communities, planet and profits.
“Cagayan de Oro has a very rich culture, it has everything from food to people. This business is perfect for the city and the whole of Mindanao, helping locals sell their products, contributing something to the community,” she said.
Unlike other stores promoting healthy living, Echostore has three unique features: Echomarket, Echocafe, and Echostore.
Echomarket is where customers can buy the local produce, such as the vegetables from Claveria, Gingoog, Bukidnon, wine and herbal tea from Zamboanga, Cacao from Davao, cashew nuts from Cagayan de Oro, banana chips made by a women group in Bukidnon, and handicrafts from Lagonglong, among others.
Echocafe is where customers can eat what food is sold at the Echomarket. Celine said, the cafe's best seller is its signature pasta with unique sauce such as malunggay sauce, tofu burger and mushroom burgers.
Echostore is where products that the Echo Foundation supports can be found. Products such as body wash, hand wash, and even shampoos that are 100 percent organic are sold there.
“At least we are sure that what we are giving to our customers are 100 percent without harmful ingredients, no artificial preservatives, no MSG, all are plain and pure, we just play with herbs then we cook it,” Celine said.
“When I started, I was really eating everywhere, I was not particular with what food I take, but later on I learned that it's different to live healthy, your body also undergoes transition, a good and better transition,” she added.
Celine said Echostore is catering to all people of all ages, but unlike any other store, she said they have customers who are cancer patients.
“This business is not just making money but making others happy and healthy. Once you eat here, you support everybody, you support yourself, the farmers, the Mindanao produce overall,” Celine said.