Owner of the Sari Sari Store, Ruby Lubigan (photo: Jan Cox)

Everything store

The Sari Sari Store in Bloomfield

Way Up West | by Jan Cox

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Ruby Lubigan saw a specific need in West Prince and answered the call. She and her partner, Kent Clements, opened the Sari Sari Store (Asian food store) a year ago in Bloomfield. Sari means “everything.” And the “everything” store lives up to its name.

Ruby is an everything kind of woman, giving her customers variety, fair prices, excitement for the future. She’s a beacon in the community. “The store is in my home meeting the needs of my people, my countrymen,” says Ruby of her expanding business.

In fact, a new larger building has been built by the woodworking class at Westisle Composite High and is about to be moved onto Ruby’s property. She has outgrown the living room of her home. She and Kent and daughter Elijah will finish the interior themselves.

Ruby proudly became a Canadian citizen in August of 2018. “I came from the Philippines to PEI—my first and last province—eight years ago. I love this island, it’s so peaceful and quiet. Our community is growing. We are now more than 635 Filipinos in the community. We are staying on the Island. We are having families, buying and building homes, we are so happy,” she beams.

If it’s variety folks are looking for, they can find it at Sari Sari—from dry and canned goods, fresh veggies, soups and sauces to beans, snack food, candy and we cannot leave out, fish! “Fish is my number one best seller. Frozen Tilapia (white fish), Bangus (milk fish) our national fish, Tuyo Tunsoy (dried herring) and so much more.”

Ruby’s energy, ideas, love for her people, and creativity, just make you want to smile as she excitedly talks and shows you every package and every eggplant. She also provides her customers with a service that is so special and meaningful—The Balik Bayan Box. Clients purchase a sturdy cardboard box at the store, 22X24 and fill ’er up with, everything (not raw food). It is picked up monthly and shipped by cargo back home through a company in Ontario. Obviously very moved by this, Ruby said, “Not only do we help our families back home, but we help the homeless. It is a very very big problem in my country.”

Ruby voted in the recent provincial election. At the polling booth she wanted to take a picture to send back home. That wasn’t allowed but it didn’t stop her from smiling from ear to ear as she told me about the experience. “I was so proud,” she explained.

The Sari Sari Store is open every night from 4–9 pm at 38584 Western Road, almost opposite the Bloomfield Mall.

Jan CoxWay Up West
Jan Cox

My partner and I moved to the island from Ottawa in August 2003. We quickly became avid fans of "The Buzz". I would search out the monthly read at the liquor stores of West Prince! I retired in June 2015 and found myself one afternoon, on a weekday no less, outside The Buzz office in Charlottetown. I met Peter and the gang and after singing the praises of the publication, suggested they needed a voice from West of Summerside. Me and my big mouth - three years later I am still writing "Way Up West" every month and it has been a joy. It's a win win - I get to work with a wonderful group of people at The Buzz and I am thrilled to be meeting folks from up west and area.