Magic @ 20

MAGIC Group of Companies celebrates its 20th year as the retailer of choice for consumers in Pangasinan and adjacent provinces. The journey on this momentous achievement can be traced back to the post war period when Dagupan City was in shambles.

How it started.

Artist's interpretation of article headline

Magic Group President Benjie S. Lim first displayed his entrepreneurial skill when he expanded the business established by his father Mariano, way back 1948, by adding RTW to the store named Mickey Mar, a variety of footwear retailer and wholesaler. The young Lim's initiative proved to be a successful foray as Marimar, a successful retail store for shoes and RTW that materialized along AB Fernandez Avenue in the late 70's. This had grown into a full-fledged department store by June 1983 when the second floor of Marimar became fully stocked and operational.

The unprecedented success of Marimar inspired Lim to aim further as he and Nestor J. Zabala, now General Manager of Magic Appliances, and five of his crew set up Marwood Home Furnishing in 1981. Marwood took the market by storm as it easily became a household name not just in Dagupan but the entire province.

In 1988, Magic was born from a fire, literally and figuratively.

Marwoods dominance however was cut short by a fire that gutted its entire production facilities in 1988.

This unfortunate incident however failed to subdue the resilient entrepreneurial skills of Benjie, hence, a business that was never thought to grow this big was born. An appliance store along AB Fernandez Avenue on the same year emerged -The 1st Magic Appliance Center.

The name Magic was chosen by Benjie who believed that "Magic" per se is something that produces something thrilling out of nothing.

The Trend Setter

Magic Appliance immediately carved its own niche. Benjie however did not sit on his laurels, enjoying success is too easy. With passion for growth, he, together with Mr. Jose Sy, Magic Sales General Manager, gave the city a business trend by housing three different ventures into one complex area. A department store with supermarket was opened in December 1988.

The opening was stormed by a sizeable crowd. People came to witness an innovative way of introducing a business. A motorcade complete with musical and screaming banners was something new for the city back then.

A fashion show with models from Manila complemented the already festive mood of spectators. The crowd was treated to spectacular show that showcased fashion style those years.

MAGIC. A name to brand.

Since embarking on other trades aside from selling shoes and RTW's, incorporating appliances, groceries and gift items into one convenient shop, MAGIC as a name was given a new meaning. Benjie Lim coined Magic as, M- Marimar, A- Appliances, G- Grocery / Gift, I-Items, C-Center.

Since then, consumers have been flocking to the store to obtain their household needs, including daily necessities, groceries, garments and clothing and home appliances. The coffee shop caters to customers who want to dine after hours at the shopping lane.

The name alone says and offers what consumers look for.

The Force behind the growth.

It was in 1978 when Benjie took the then Celia Chua as his bride. Together, they were a perfect tandem in running the business. As Benjie served as the front liner, Celia was responsible for establishing the office procedures and systems.

The husband and wife tandem became a dynamic duo that is clearly manifested in Magic's continuous growth.

Madam Celia, who prefers to be called "Manang", serves as the Chief Finance Officer and at the same time is on hand in operations, being the General Manager of Magic Supermarket and Department Store.

The killer quake.

In 1990, the newly built edifice housing Magic Supermarket, Department Store and Appliance Center was destroyed by the strong earthquake that struck the city on July 16, 1990.

The leader in Benjie came to the fore in the reconstruction efforts not just of his stores but of the entire city. The devastation that the city suffered made everyone believe that it would take many years before the city could recover.

Lim, the spirited leader, took the lead in the, "Dagupan Reconstruction" efforts and urged fellow businessmen to join hands in fast-tracking the efforts to rebuild a new Dagupan after the earthquake.

Manang Celia, on her part, spearheaded the rehabilitation of the damaged stores. The tragedy simply strengthened the bond of Magic management and staff that formed a formidable team altogether.

The Flagship Store

Magic undoubtedly became the household name for a worthwhile shopping experience for the people of Pangasinan. Since Dagupan is nearly covered by Magic and competitors, the potential of Eastern Pangasinan market was foreseen by Benjie as he took the bold move of developing a full scale shopping mall.

In 1999, Magic Mall at Urdaneta City was opened. The structure was furnished with state-of-the-art facilities that include escalators and elevators and centralized air-conditioning, which was at that time a novel feature in the locality.

Magic Mall houses a wide variety of brands from the very discerning crowd to the mainstream market. The spacious supermarket area can conveniently accommodate a large number of shoppers at any given time. Magic Mall commands daily foot traffic of 28,000 and boasts an average of at least 98 percent occupancy since 2001.

Magic Mall instantly became the premier shopping destination of families in the eastern part of Pangasinan. The fully furnished center is strategically situated at the heart of Urdaneta City ,a booming commercial area in the region. It is just a stone's throw away from the old city hall, right in front of the public market and adjacent to the crossroads leading to Manila and destinations in northern Luzon including Baguio and Vigan.

Continue: History 2nd Part