Rep. Martin Romualdez and Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez (third and fourth from left, respectively) were guests of honor during the opening of Watsons’ 400th store in Savemore Tacloban. They are shown with SM Prime Holdings president Hans T. Sy (second from left) and SCMC president Annie Garcia (second from right) together with Watsons Beauty Trading director Reena Rodrigo and operation controller for Vismin Adel de Ramos.
MANILA, Philippines – In November 2013, the Philippines was taken by storm, as Typhoon Yolanda swept across the country, devastating everything in its direct path. The hardest-hit region is still working to rebuild what was lost.
But one year later, the resilient people of Tacloban have cause to rejoice as signs of progress, of growth, rise from the rubble. With this, Watsons Philippines has opened its 400th store in the city’s new Savemore Market.
For Watsons’ management, this one was special. It was a conscious and symbolic decision to open in Tacloban. “It’s been a year after Yolanda and we’ve seen a lot of rehabilitation efforts but a lot still needs to be done. Opening our 400th store in Tacloban makes the event more meaningful as we are given a chance to help in the recovery efforts,” said Robert U. Sun, Watsons’ general manager. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Mayor thanked Watsons for bringing jobs back to Tacloban and helping to reestablish commerce with new products and a new store.
The new Watsons store with 249 sqm. redefines the meaning of personal shopping through innovation and design. Shoppers are welcomed with the store’s modern, spacious, and well-lit interiors, lifestyle visuals, giving the area a sophisticated and contemporary look.
What’s more, shopping is made more convenient as Watsons’ wide range of products are presented using modern fixtures, arranged per zone and properly labelled by category to help shoppers easily find what they are looking for.
The store also offers an attractive Cosmetics area, where customers can try the latest products and get beauty advice from the accommodating shopping assistants as well as a Pharmacy where customers can get their health and wellness needs, including the recently launched Watsons Generics.
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Watsons had its own special way of greeting its new Taclobanon customers. Known for its promotions, everyone who came in for the opening was given a slew of special offers to help them purchase the goods they have been waiting for.
The first 400 visitors even received free gift certificates; and for Tacloban City – P2 million worth of medicine and personal care products donated to the Tacloban City Hospital. “Thank you for not leaving us,” was Mayor Romualdez’ message to the Watsons group during its turnover.
As Dra. Joedina Gumagay, the Chief of Hospital, mused, “This will go a long long way. With the products from Watsons, hindi lang kayo gagaling, gaganda pa kayo”.
Indeed, her assessment was exactly what Watsons would say. As general manager Robert Sun pointed out, “Watsons is about making people look good and feel great”. That’s what the 400th store celebration was really about – restoring beauty to a place that had been deeply scarred and health to people that had lost so much.