La Tabacalera merchants advocate inclusivity, local sourcing


Jul. 08, 2021 ...

Some merchant-tenants of the La Tabacalera Food Park have been advocating for inclusivity and local sourcing to help other sectors cope with the pandemic by creating opportunities.

As part of the Provincial Government's economic recovery efforts, the Ilocos Norte Trade and Investment Office (INvest) opened the La Tabacalera Food Park on May 28, 2021, to provide a strategic location and affordable rent to small businesses harmed by the pandemic.

"We are happy that all our concessionaires are homegrown businesses with local supply chains. The 'Sam's Sugarcane,' for example, helps local sugarcane growers and producers," Ms. Rona Leigh Cheng-Bueno, Head of INvest, cited.

"Some tenants are observing inclusivity in their operations as they hire working students too," she added.

Meanwhile, the GCQ protocol in Laoag City has resulted in slow sales and limited foot traffic for concessionaires.

As of July 3, La Tabacalera Food Park has over 3,000 visitors, with an average of almost 100 customers each day. At the same time, the 11 merchants' combined revenue is almost Php 150,000.00.

"There are no plans of adding permanent food kiosks. This is to observe social distancing in the area. Should there be an opportunity to add merchants, we will make an announcement," Ms. Bueno said.

Moreover, the food park has a limited seating capacity, visible health protocol signage, and security officers to help with safety protocol implementation.

"One of our goals is to create a place where creativity, cooperation, enjoyment, and cultural appreciation are achieved during the pandemic," she ended.