Right in the Neighborhood: Business Success Stories to Inspire Your Own


Dreaming of having your own business someday? Take inspiration from two business owners, whose community-mindedness sparked them to start, sustain, and grow successful ventures. Know all about them here.

Meet the Business Owners Coffee Gus.to at Alea Residences and Calathea Place

Oly’s Mart at Arista Place and Asteria Residences

Coffee Gus.to

Meet husband and wife Mark and Charisse Macanas, coffee lovers, and owners of Coffee Gus.to. Their first branch is located at Tierra Vista Village in Dasmarinas, Cavite. The other two branches are based in two DMCI properties: Alea Residences, and Calathea Place.

Mark & Charisse Macanas

Coffee Gus.to Owners

How they started: Mark and Charisse’s first foray into business was selling clothes and bags online. Through Facebook, they found customers, and promoted and sold their products. Until there came a point when they were selling 200- 250 bags per day! The money earned here eventually became their capital for Coffee Gus.to.

How They Started in Business

How did Coffee Gus.to come about? Well, that’s an interesting story. Mark and Charisse loved frequenting coffee shops. “Pero dumating sa point na nagsawa na kami sa premium brands,” Mark shares. Instead, they started visiting smaller, lesser-known coffee shops, which had better products, better service. “Hindi kilala kaya mas pinagbubuti nila yung products nila.” This is especially true of neighborhood, community coffee shops.

Coffee Gus.to is an original and proud Filipino-grown concept and business.

When a friend broached the idea of partnering with them to buy a café franchise, Mark and Charisse were all-ears. But when Mark saw the business plan, he wasn’t happy. Instead, he had a crazy idea of creating their own brand, from scratch! And why not, they love coffee, they have business experience, and what’s more, they have the perfect location in mind!

Coffee Gus.to is an original and proud Filipino-grown concept and business.

That location is a garage. Specifically, the garage of Mark’s parents’ place. After finding a mentor who has years of experience in the coffee shop business, Mark, Charisse, and their partner wasted no time. In 2018, they opened the very first Coffee Gus.to branch.

Coffee Gus.to started in a garage in Mark’s parent’s house!

Mark and Charisse bought a unit for Charisse’ parents in Alea Residences as a gift. Visiting the unit, they noticed Alea’s empty snack bar sitting idly in the beautiful property. A light bulb moment. Coffee Gus.to would be perfect here! After a thesis-like defense presentation, DMCI Homes Commercial Leasing team awarded them the lease. With Alea, they sought to recreate the same neighborhood feels in a community café.

Coffee Gus.to finds a second home at Alea Residences.

Latte, or cappuccino? They opened their third branch in Calathea Place last year. In just four years, not only have they sustained their business – they’ve grown it too. Proof of the pudding? Coffee Gus.to stages coffee bars for events and…is now open for franchising!

And their third at Calathea Place. Latte or cappuccino, anyone?

Oly’s Market

Meet Oly Factor, owner of convenience store Oly’s Market in Arista Place and Asteria Residences.

Oly Factor

Oly’s Market Owner

Oly’s Market is a familiar sight to Arista and Asteria residents. Not only does it have its trademark bright and cozy green color, its shelves are stacked with nice goodies and quality finds. All thanks to Oly, who makes sure his products are always delightful.

Oly’s Market is filled with products that Oly himself hand-picked.

Says Oly, “I’m a perfectionist. Ayoko ng puchu-puchu. I like premium products. Ikaw din, pag hindi maganda ang products mo, hindi ka babalikan ng customers mo.”

How did he start this business? Truth is, Oly fell into it by accident or by fate. As a Sales Assistant in Duty Free Philippines, Oly has connections and has operational know-how. When a space opened up for lease in Arista, where Oly and his partner resides, some of the staff broached the idea to him.

It is more than a convenience store; it has a curated market feel to it.

A happy accident or fate? Oly did not initially set out to be a business owner.

They told him, “Duty Free ka naman, kaya mo yan. So ayun, sinubukan ko,” Oly shares with a wide smile on his face. After all, he’s never one to back down from a challenge. “Fighter ako, go lang ng go. Lagi akong positive.”

The staff urged him to open a convenience store, since they knew he worked in Duty Free.

RAVE REVIEWS. It’s the positive feedback from his customers that keep Oly inspired. “Natutuwa sila, minsan magpipicture pa sila sa loob ng shop.” That’s what keeps Oly going, despite the challenges of having a business and working his full-time, 9- 5 job in Duty Free Philippines.

The customers’ rave reviews continue to inspire Oly.

On why he strives to balance both aspects of his life: “Mahirap pero kinakaya ko. I love the challenge of multi-tasking. And also, what I learn from each, I apply on the other,” Oly gladly shares. In 2019, a second Oly’s Market branch opened in Asteria Residences. “The blessings keep coming, and I attribute it to my faith to the Lord,” Oly shares.

Oly balances his full time job with managing Oly’s Market.

Oly helped build a chapel in Arista.

One day, Oly realized there was no chapel at Arista. He knew people could benefit from a space like this. Using his funds from Oly’s Market, he built an altar or a mini-chapel at Arista. Everyone’s welcome to come over here to have some peace and quiet, and to pray and connect with the Lord.

Coffee Gus.to and Oly’s Market – two businesses which channeled community-mindedness to build original business concepts from the ground up. If you aspire to be a successful business owner someday, get business advice and success tips from Oly, and Mark and Charisse.

Coffee Gus.to

Alea Residences

Coffee Gus.to

Calathea Residences

Oly’s Market

Arista Place and Asteria Residences

Tips for starting a business from Oly

Oly Factor: “Hindi masama mangarap. ‘Pag may challenge, huwag kang susuko. Dapat laging positive. Lahat tayo may problema, pero dapat and thinking palaging positive. Kasi ‘pag negative ka, walang mangyayari sayo. Hindi ko kaya? Laging may paraan, laging kaya. Hingi ka ng tulong sa Taas. At palaging magpapasalamat sa kanya.”

Mark: “When you’re going to start a business, you need to have a business idea. If you don’t have a business idea, kahit may 10 million ka pa, it’s useless. Your big idea will spark you to have opportunities; capital is only the second step.”


Tips for starting a business from Charisse of Coffee Gus.to

Charisse: “Kailangan naiintindihan mo kung ano yung gusto mong pasukin. Us we started it for the love for coffee. Magkaroon man ng challenges, dahil gusto mo yung ginagawa mo, ipu-push through mo. Most important: choose a location that will complement your business.”


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