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Vancouver's go-to Filipino store to close shop after over 4 decades

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Dec 17 2021 01:58 PM

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A Filipino store is calling on their loyal customers to come as they close their doors for good for one last Christmas.

Victory General Merchandising has been a landmark along Fraser Street in Vancouver since 1979, and now, everything has to go. Its owner, Jane Planta, hopes they will be able to sell their goods by the end of the month. After all, everything’s on sale, including a barong tagalog that sells for $40 dollars, kimonas for $70, and Filipiniana ternos for $120.

"Mga kababayan, tulungan nyo kami, paubusin natin ito. Bumili kayo ng isa, isa libre. Mura na, may libre pa, bargain na bargain na (Fellow Filipinos, help us sell everything. If you buy one,one is free. It’s cheap and you still get a freebie, this is a real bargain)," Planta says.

Planta says it was her mother-in-law who started the store because she wanted to sell Filipiniana items and clothing. "Marami siyang kaibigang mga Pilipino, sumasayaw, yung mga sa Filipino association. Dun siya nagka-idea na magtayo ng ganito. At that time, walang masyadong Pilipino, siya yatang nauna (She had a lot of Filipino friends who are dancers for the Filipino association. That’s where she got the idea to open a store like this. At that time, there were not that many Filipinos, she’s seemingly one of the first)."

Victory's regular customers share that they will be sad to lose their favorite store.

"It's sad po kasi, dito, mura, tapos parang naging tradisyon na natin na laging pumupunta rito. Bibili ng pasalubong papunta ng Pilipinas, tapos ngayon, dahil sa pandemic, eto nangyayari (It’s sad because it's cheap here and it’s become a tradition. This is where we go to buy souvenirs for the Philippines, but now because of the pandemic, this happened)," customer Joy Koning says.

Planta admits sales have gone down amid the pandemic, but she notes that it’s mostly health reasons that have led to her decision to close shop after 42 years.

"Siyempre malulungkot, pero kailangan nang magpahinga (Of course I’ll be sad, but we need to rest now)," Planta says. "Tamang-tama, this year, 65 ako eh kaya tinaon na namin na mag-retire (It’s also timely because I turned 65 this year so we decided to retire)."

Some of Victory’s regulars are making sure to support their favorite store before it closes for good.

"Uuwi ako sa 18 so kailangan ko ng mga pasalubong (It’s because I’m going home on the 18th so I need to buy souvenirs)," customer Janice Tamayo says. Meanwhile, Koning asserts "halos every year, pag lalo na pag umuuwi o kaya may mga bisita from different provinces, from other provinces, dinadala po namin dito (almost every year, especially when I’m going home for a visit, or if there are visitors from different provinces, from other provinces, we bring them here)."

Planta says they have received offers from interested parties to take over the store but none have been considered at this time.