Socorro Ramos: The Woman Behind National Bookstore
National Bookstore is probably one of the most visited shops in the Philippines. From its humble beginnings as a school supplies and textbook store in Escolta, to its over 150 branches nationwide today – National Bookstore is clearly a part of every Filipino household. All thanks to the hardwork and perseverance of Socorro Ramos, also known as Nanay Coring.
NANAY CORING. From being a hardworking young girl, to being a successful entrepreneur.
Nanay Coring has always been in the retail industry. As a young girl, she helped her grandmother sell fruits at the local market in their home province. Life was hard and her mother decided to move to Manila to find better opportunities. She attended a public school and took on many jobs during summer vacation – from wrapping bubble gum to sewing buttons on shirts. After finishing high school, her family did not have enough money to send her to college. She then worked as a salesgirl at a bookstore. It was there where she met her would be husband, Jose.
They opened a stall shop in Escolta. They named it National Bookstore, after their cash register. But things did not go uphill from there. In the 1940s, a strict censorship on books was implemented. Nanay Coring had to put the books away and resort to selling soap, candies, and slippers. After the war, the whole of Escolta was burned down. This did not dampen Nanay Coring and Jose’s souls. They opened another small store. This time, they sold the books they had previously put away and whisky.
Gathering their earnings, the couple bought more school supplies and books. They slowly rebuilt National Bookstore. They ventured into postcards and greeting cards. They also partnered with international publishing houses and reprinted books at lower prices. Aside from selling products of well-known brands, National Bookstore also now manufactures its own school supplies – Best Buy. Keeping up with the times, they have teamed up with Kobo, a Canadian based e-book seller. National Bookstore is also visible on social media and customers can even shop online via their website. Students, office workers, and everyone else will find what they are looking for at National Bookstore.
In the words of Nanay Coring, “Work hard, very hard. There is no express elevator to success – you have to climb the stairs.”
Article by Manette Tuvida (Contributor)
“Nanay Coring – The Story of National Bookstore’s Socorro Ramos”
Written by: Yvette Fernandez
Illustrated by: Liza Flores
First printing, 2012
Published by Dream Big Books