National Book Store Success Story

National Book Store, the Philippine’s largest chain of bookstores is the featured success story for today as we witness the life story of the woman behind it, Socorro Ramos or more commonly know to her staffs as Nanay Coring.

Her story is truly an inspiring one as she built the business National Book Store from scratch with a lot of challenges and hurdles as she and her husband Jose Ramos literally built and rebuilt the business three times from scratch. That’s the true entrepreneurial spirit with enough courage and determination.

Nanay Coring or Maria Socorro Cancio in her early years was born in Sta. Cruz, Laguna on September 23, 1923. Ever she was young, she grew up in an entrepreneurial environment as one of the six children born to entrepreneur parents and grandmother. Her parents used to ran a store selling a lot of stuffs from slippers to clothes and a lot more while her grandmother had a market stall where the young Socorro got used to seeing customers withdraw items on credit. Unfortunately, her grandmother did not manage the business carefully not maintaining a list of those items availed on credit and their business fell.

After that event, they went to Manila. Her mother struggled hard to feed six children and the young Socorro considered herself as lucky if she got money from her mother. Her elder sisters helped the family by working in a candy and bubble gum factory and she spent her summer doing summer jobs too. In one instance, young Socorro was hired to peel off the paper used in old cigarettes so that it can be reuse to make new fresh cigarette sticks. She received 5 centavos per pack of cigarettes. But the young Socorro started her entrepreneurial skills and hired kids and their neighborhood paying them 5 centavos for every two pack of cigarettes leveraging her efforts. Since then, the young Socorro was on her way to become an entrepreneur as early as 10 years old!

Immediately after graduating from Arellano High School, she worked as a salesgirl at Goodwill Book Store owned by the family of her present husband Jose Ramos. Socorro’s brother Manuel married one of the Ramos children and in 1940, they needed someone to look after the branch they set up along Escolta Street, on the ground floor of Panciteria National. Jose Ramos took over it and asked Socorro to work on him in that branch. They renamed it as National Book Store.

Their love story began but her parents were against with it as Socorro was just 18 years old back then. She was told to stay in the province to keep away from marrying Jose Ramos. But as they say, true love never dies, the young Socorro with just 11 pesos in her pocket, struggled to went back to Manila to marry Jose. Because of this act, her family was so furious and angry that they considered her dead already. It was short-lived though lasting only until Socorro gave birth to her twins named Alfredo, who is now the President of National Book Store and Benjamin, now the Vice President.

As mentioned above, the business National Book Store faced a lot of challenges as it was built and rebuilt three times from scratch!

First, Socorro admitted that it was not easy to start the business from scratch. She recalled that during the Japanese occupation, they would look on each and every book title on sale. If they found questionable books, they would just tear the pages off leaving them useless. So instead of selling books, Socorro and Jose decided to fill their bookshelves with stuffs from candies, soap, slippers, papers, and cigarettes. During the war, she would transfer goods to her smaller stores.

Second, when the Japanese were driven away, it was now the time for the Americans. Their National Book Store stall in Escolta was damaged in the war. They recovered a bit by selling unused greeting cards and uncensored books, which they had hidden in their home.

Third, in 1945, they relocated their National Book Store previously located at Escolta to Avenida. The business is doing quite well during first few post-war school years but unfortunately, three years after, a typhoon blew the roof of their store and they were left with soaked books and stuffs that were worthless. Again, for the third time, they have to start from zero.

They struggled hard to rebuilt National Book Store for the third time. But since then, every centavo that they earned were used to buy the lot where the Rizal Avenue Branch of National Book Store stands to this day.

Today, National Book Store is considered as the largest chain of bookstores in the country. They have ventured into several businesses already such as a convenience-type store named NBS Book Express, publishing companies named Cacho-Hermanos printing press, Anvil Books and Capitol-Atlas Publishing, another book store named Powerbooks, music store named Tower Records and Music One, Gift Gate, the home of Hello Kitty and Swatch, and a department store named Crossings department store. Socorro’s children and relatives ran all these.

Socorro Ramos’ life and success story and the challenges that she faced with her business National Book Store business was another inspiring story. In fact, it was recognized when she was chosen as the Ernst and Young’s Philippine Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005.

Today, at the age of 85, Socorro Ramos or Nanay Coring acts as the General Manager of National Book Store. And she told that the core values in her success are to keep learning, being actively involved in the business, being able to read changes and act on them immediately, and most of all, never give up!

Credits: Go NeGOsyo

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Tyrone is a passionate financial literacy advocate. He started this blog on November 2008 when he watched The Secret which talked about Law of Attraction because he wanted to become a millionaire and wanted to know how a millionaire acts. At the age of 26, he achieved his first million. To find out more about him, click here or follow him at Instagram

30 responses on “National Book Store Success Story

  1. SANA po balang araw magkaroon din ako ng librong maititinda sa pamamagitan ng inyong bookstore. At swertihin din tulad ninyo. Salamat po sa inspiring story na ito.

  2. malapit na pong magkaroon ng katuparan ang aking pangarap na nauna ng nabanggit. Pina-polish ko nalang ng kunti ang manuscript ng aking munting nakayanang project. Ang question lang, tatanggapin kaya ng National ang aking libro? Ito po ay ang annotated version ng Part Three (Trademark Law) ng IP CODE.

  3. to vh1: kunting panahon nalang po. Nilalagyan ko nalang ng pages ang table of contents. Oras na lumabas ito from the press, full-blast promotion ang kasunod, through Internet, Facebook, etc. Target audience ko ang mga schools, from colleges and universities all the way down to elementary, as well as, legal departments of all private companies, LGUs, law firms, etc.
    4 years ko pong sinulat ito at copyrighted na ang manuscript. Meron na ding ISBN with me as author-publisher.

  4. I met her yesterday, I was waiting @ their office in Mandaluyong for a barcode to be done when she just approached me and asked “Has someone attended to you already?” Shocked, I just answered her “Yes Ma’am, thank you.” Then she nodded, smiled and walked away.

    She’s so sweet and really on top of her business, I really admire her. And knowing her age, she doesn’t look like 85 in person! 😀

  5. ang galing nyo po talaga,,, you dont really give up in your business,.keep up the good work and may God bless your business as always and dont forget to thank Him at all times and always put Him in the center of your business.,may your business will still expand,.. MORE POWERS 🙂

  6. nanay, what a great story. Kanina ive met lola at the lobby of nbs a lady full of humility ,humbleness and wisdom fr GOD shes full of joy and excitement and most of all serve us while getting at the elevetor which end my day an inspiring and meaningfull. And she is nanay coring .Godbless you always po.

  7. I’m really not interested with this company. kasi lagi mo syang nakikita kahit saan. sino ba nmnng pilipino ang hindi nakakalam ng National Bookstore. but when i started studying it as my course requirement, i looked deeper on it. from its start and what it is as of today. now that i know nanay Coring, I wish i could see you before i end my college days…..> Pinapangatawanan lang nila yung core value nila na …Having “Malasakit:… Pinagpapala ang mga katulad nyo..

  8. hello po sa lhat,gusto ko po sanang magkaroon ng sariling negosyo,katulad ng school suply,baka pwede po ninyo ako matulungan kong paano mag start nito,marami pong salamat

  9. hallo sa lahat ng tumatangkilik sa National bookstore. dati po akong empleyado ng kumpanyang ito. For 3 years po akong nagwork sa manila hanggang lumipat ako sa SM davao branch and work for 5 yrs. tumigil ako last 2009. Sa ngayon andito n ako sa germny with my husband at kahit kahit dito pinagmamayabang ko parin na nagwork ako sa pinakamalaking company sa pilipinas. at pagnasa pilipinas kmi lagi akong bumibisita with my friends n german sa store. kahit ang husband ko proud na proud sa NBS kasi alam nya ang buong story. I LOVE YOU NANAY CORING!!! salamat sa pagtitiwala nyo sa aking kakayahan. I’am proud to be part of NBS. Sana po magkaroon din ng NBS dito sa germany. GOOD BLESS po.

    • Minsan sa buhay natin, may mga tao talagang mapagbigay, mapagbigay sa mga impormasyon kahit hindi tayo nagtatanong. Kaya dapat lang natin silang pagbigayan din sa kanilang mga binibigay na mga impormasyon ukol sa kanilang mga buhay sagayon tayo ay magiging panatag na sila ay nasa mabuting kalagayan. Maraming Salamat po!

      Nanay Korang

  10. to nanay coring,

    nabasa ko po ang inyong istorya isa po itong inspirasyon sa bawat tao na ang istorya ng buhay ay aral ng bawat kabataan upang maging isang mabuting mamamayan.

    lumaki rin po ako na isang estudyante na negosyante alam ko po na bawat sentimo na kikitain ay masarap maitulong sa loob ng pinansyal na pangangailangan sa tahanan.

    at pag may sapat na kita pumupunta po ako sa national bookstore binibili ko po ng readers digest yun po kasi ang nais ko.

    salamat po nanay coring andyan kayo upang magpatuloy ang bawat pahina na mabasa ng bawat isa .

  11. nakaka-inspire po un story nio,,,almost books we used today is came from national book store,,,nanay coring you are very lucky enough through hardships and determination,,,you achieve your goal,,inspirasyun po kau sa lahat.

  12. hi po sa lahat, narinig ko po last night june 13, yung success story ni aling coring sa radio program ni Danton Remoto, ask ko lang po kung saan ko pwede mabasa yung “book for advice/tips” ni aling coring na…ang naalala ko lang po kasi dun sa narinig ko “huwag tumigil magbasa at mangarap” gusto ko po sana basahin at ulit-ulitin yun para naman hindi ako panghinaan hehehe…kung may info. po kayo about it or kung nabasa nyo na yung book ni Aling Coring please kindly share it naman po or email me kung anong title ng book, thank you po!

  13. Very inspiring story. A story to learn from. God bless to Nanay Caring & her family, and to National Book Store.

  14. Very inspiring po! I’m actually an ECE and I’m planning to have business in the future. I’m just reading articles regarding Filipino people who are successfully great in business like you. Thanks for your story that yoiu’ve shared. It means a lot on us. More powers and GOD bless you and your family. 🙂

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