Fil-Am pop up shops in NY ingeniously stay above pandemic water
NEW YORK CITY – Ingenious Filipino American entrepreneurs at New York are riding the pandemic’s challenges by operating their businesses with minimum exposure through pop up shops in a shared venue.
Owners of Kabisera NYC Joey Payumo and Augelyn Francisco share their coffee shop with other retailers and home businesses, rotating on designated weekends.
Featured last weekend was Chocolatier Chef Daniel Corpuz, who won Best of Show for his four-foot tall chocolate showpieces at Netflix’s School of Chocolate hosted by world renowned Pastry Chef Amuary Guichon. For the pop up shop, he produced his signature bonbons in a variety of favorite flavors like matcha, cheesecake, pecan, vanilla and added Filipino-inspired ube truffles.
Corpuz hopes to open his own shop in New York City this year. The Netflix show enhanced his expertise at carving huge chocolate creations for showpieces. He graduated from Culinary Institute of America in 2019, and worked in fine dining restaurants around the city. Check out his upcoming Valentine chocolate creations available at his Instagram page @DanielCorpuz and his fancy bonbons at https://youtu.be/i3s6-JYOZKE .
Pandayo owners Tricia and Rachel Elazequi discovered making dinuguan-filled puto (steamed rice cake) last year at the height of the pandemic. They called it “Dinugpao.” They also tried pork asado, salted egg, cheese and a version of “putoflan.” Friends encouraged them to market their creations, which are now available through Facebook and Instagram @Pandayo.NY .
Chibundle offers curated gift boxes selected by owner MJ Yap. She offers a variety of Philippine-sourced products including 50%-100% Auro dark chocolate bars, Moringa chocolate latte with malunggay mix, pili nuts from Albay, kalamansi extract , mango chews, muscovado sugar, kimchi crisps and so many varieties from different provinces. Her website is fulfilling orders at Chibundle.com
Natibo Atbp, by popular designer Paulo Manaid, aka Hatzumomo, creates fashion and accessories from handwoven, handloomed fabrics from tribal communities in Kalinga, Apayao and Ilocos. He incorporates indigenous fabrics in everyday fashion like T-shirts, masks and hats. Owner Manaid emphasized, “By working with native artisans, we help keep these traditions, the art of our ancestors, alive. “ His website is Hatzumomo.com .
Another enterprising jewelry maker, Fleurenz utilizes gold-filled technique in her dainty ladies’ pieces. She underscores the importance of several layers of gold bonded to a metal; the filling process protects the jewelry against daily wear and tear, as compared with gold-plated fancy jewelry. Fleurenz assures her customers of a long-lasting 14k gold shine . Check out her designs at Fleurenz.com .
Kabisera Cafe host Augelyn Francisco, herself a native Igorot, continuously explores concoctions that will bring the flavors of the Philippines in new ways. Her ube taho (tofu curd with purple yam) and sapin-sapin (layered sticky rice cake) with a layer of matcha, offer a different twist to traditional native delicacies. On a Saturday morning, long lines await her shop at Allen Street, Lower Eastside, Manhattan. Her family-run cafe survived the pandemic and made “coffee-run” donations to health care workers.
Augelyn Francisco’s coffee shop also sells traditional Filipino spices and “sari-sari” style of canned goods. During the pop up, she present Filipino nursery books that encourages parents of American-born children to teach some basic facts about Philippine culture and history, like an alphabet book featuring national hero Jose Rizal. The author Adrianna Allen left copies for future pop-ups.
More shops are expected to show up in the coming months as Francisco collaborates with more than 200 vendors and charities.