The Success Story of National Book Store’s Socorro Ramos

The name Socorro “Coring” Ramos may not ring any bells for some people. She, however, is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the Philippines for founding the largest bookstore chain in the country – National Book Store.

Back in 1940, she and Jose Ramos, her husband, established a small stall in Escolta where they sold supplies. They, however, did not have a steady road towards success. In fact, they endured many trials together that would have discouraged most entrepreneurs.

Photo credit: Phils. Star
Photo credit: Phils. Star

During World War II, the Japanese soldiers occupying the country considered many of the books sold in their store to be objectionable. What the couple did was to hide the books and then sell candies, slippers, soaps and other goods instead. The books they managed to save were later sold in their store after the end of the war.

Also, they had to relocate to Avenida because their first building was badly damaged by the war. Three years after that, their bookstore was struck by a heavy typhoon, blowing the roof and damaging many of their merchandise.

This, however, did not deter Coring. Like the mythical phoenix, she rose from the ashes and built the business back up once more.

In the 1970s, National Book Store became popular by selling reprinted versions of foreign textbooks for 75% lesser than the actual price. Parents and students loved the idea of being able to purchase such books for lower costs.

These days, National Book Store already has 160 branches throughout the Philippines along with some mini outlets (National Book Store-Book Express) and specialty bookstores (Powerbooks). As if that wasn’t enough, the Ramos family also operates three publishing imprints, a department store, a music store, plus several convenience and gift shops.

All three of Coring’s children are employed in high-level jobs along with several grandchildren and relatives.

After 70 years of running the business, Coring can really say that persistence is one of the most important keys of achieving great things.

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