Sticking to budget, Super8 chief’s warcry

Photographs courtesy of Super8 Super8 shifts to high gear this year by opening more stores in Luzon, where boundless expansion opportunities exist, CEO Alvin Lim said.

The recent inflation figures indicated an uptrend in the prices of goods, especially food items, which pose a threat to the expanding economy of over heating.

Consumers and small businesses now have the main concern of looking for ways to save money while sustaining basic expenses.

Alvin Lim, CEO of the Super8 budget grocery store, said the growing chain of supermarkets ensures consumers pay less for essentials through its sari-sari store network, firming up innovative partnerships, and tapping online delivery services.

“We’ve always been committed to giving the best choices, convenience and service to customers since they are more discerning on what they spend on now,” Lim told Daily Tribune.

Super8 offers agricultural products that are, on average, 40 percent cheaper compared to prices of other big supermarkets, helping its resellers also attract budget-conscious customers.

“Ever since Super8’s inception 18 years ago, we have always had resellers in mind. These are the small businesses in communities like sari-sari stores and carinderia, among others,” Lim stressed.

Lim shared sari-sari stores account for 60 percent of all Super8 customers, while the remaining 40 percent are low-income households belonging to classes C to E.

“They are always looking for value for money on their purchases,” Lim said.

According to the multi-stakeholder organization Asian Preparedness Partnership, there are over 1.3 million sari-sari stores in the Philippines.

Super8 has provided affordable prices for agricultural goods through its partnership with SariSuki, an online marketplace that directly links consumers to local farmers by skipping the middleman layer.

SariSuki helps bring down costs through its efficient farm technology, specifically a soil technology that determines the types of crops that thrive in certain months and helps farmers conserve water for irrigation.

“Our business also has a social impact at its core, which helps in how we approach our operations,” Lim said.

“Resellers are our target market, and it is part of our commitment to also help them increase their profitability. We believe that they are the backbone of the Filipino community,” he added.

Since its birth in 2006, Super8 has increased its branches to 80, with the majority in Metro Manila.

While Super8’s agricultural goods cost less, Lim stressed these are “high-quality” and “fresh” products as SariSuki owns post-harvest facilities and manages a digital database that shows real-time inventories while predicting the volume of goods needed by resellers for timely deliveries.

“We are opening more stores this year, prioritizing Luzon because we still see a lot of expansion opportunities in the region and we want to take advantage of them before we explore other areas,” he said.

Philippine Statistics Authority data showed 38 provinces in Luzon, with the majority of households concentrated in the CALABARZON and Central Luzon regions.

The data also showed the population growing by at least 1.6 percent yearly.

The indicators provide the impetus for further growth opportunities for the budget store concept.

Lim said the company seeks to assist small communities through discounts and even raffle events.

Super8 recently held its summer sale from 15 March to 16 at Filinvest Tent in Muntinlupa City, offering up to 30 percent discount.

“Apart from the discounts, we also prepared treats for our customers such as celebrity meet and greets, sampling stations, raffles, games where they can win products, and other activities from our vendors,” Lim said.

“For this year, our customers can expect two more big events similar to the Super8 Summer Sale. These will be for our anniversary and pre-Christmas celebrations,” he added.

Innovation push

Lim said Super8 is also enhancing its digital technologies to reach more customers, following the boom in e-commerce which shifted customers’ shopping preference to online services.

“In terms of services, we have streamlined our back-end process and supply chain to readily support transactions made through the Super8 website and mobile app, an integral part of our business strategy as a progressive retail grocery,” he shared.

Lim said Super8 has developed its in-house brands such as Great Buy which has lower prices to satisfy the most budget-conscious consumers.

“We consider Super8 as a progressive retail grocery, mainly because we believe we are an agile company that adapts to the needs of our consumers, considering the current economic landscape,” Lim said.


Before Super8, Lim worked for his family business Suy Sing Corporation which served big supermarkets as a wholesale grocery distributor for over 77 years.

“In my 10-year stay in the company, I amassed valuable professional experience from immersing myself in the various departments within Suy Sing Corporation,” he said.

Recognizing the contribution of small entrepreneurs to the national economy, Lim strived to dominate the resell market of sari-sari stores.

“This influenced me to make sure my business has a purpose, to operate with positive impact by supporting neighborhood stores,” Lim added.

Super8 was created when Lim decided to rent seven stores during its troubled times.

He still serves as Suy Sing’s managing director.

Lim also works as a director in NutriAsia Philippines and Del Monte Foods Inc., and is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of the Philippines Inc., and CIES The Food and Business Forum Asia Pacific.

He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of San Francisco.