by Echo Store on November 18, 2019

Written by Jeannie Javelosa


It was green love at first sight. Well, this is how Gina Lopez was when we opened ECHOstore in Serendra in 2008, calling us at midnight asking us why we had a micro-wave in our store. A month into opening ECHOstore, we threw out the microwave. Through the years, we would bump into each other at green events and stores. Even as we worked our way through our own “ECHOsystem” with the mantra of market access for community upliftment through sustainable livelihood.

Our work with Gina’s work, was always parallel, our visions and advocacies shared even as she cleaned up the Pasig River, spoke strongly against irresponsible mining, lived a lifestyle focused on health and sustainability, and did what she could to help open markets for community products. She opened G-Stuff stores. Meanwhile we had our ECHOstores morphing into ECHOcafe, ECHOmarket and even ECHOfarms.

In 2018, green advocate Gina launched “The Quest for Love”, a national search competition that aimed to transform marginalized communities into successful and sustainable agro–forestry, fisheries or through ecotourism sites. Through special segment on “G Diaries” on ABS-CBN, she featured social enterprises, cooperatives, people’s associations, foundations, NGOs, and other socially-oriented organizations in the country to establish sustainable community-based businesses. With Reena and Chit, we were high on her list to become national mentors. And we joined her to fully support this project so wonderfully aligned with us.

Because we always had fun with Gina, even if our ways of working were not always similar, our shared passion and advocacy kept us going. The last lunch we had where she laid out a scrumptiously healthy meal, we prayed, sang, laughed to a future of aligning her G-Stuff stores and communities, alongside everything we were doing under the GOOD (ECHOsi Foundation non-profit work) and two retail brands market access of GREEN products (ECHOstore), and eco-tours and GENDER (GREAT Women) work, specifically working with women producers plus textile and crafts artisans from indigenous communities.

Connecting the dots of community support, training and media alignment with G-Diaries and the ABS-CBN Foundation, the passing of Gina offered us an opportunity to manage the GStuff stores. In a meeting with her brother Gabby Lopez and the ABS-CBN Foundation team led by Susan Afan, it was clear that we all wanted to keep alive the legacy of an eco-crusader going. Gina after all, was a class unto herself. And iconic figure the likes of who we may not see for a long time in the Philippine scene. We bring her legacy building into the fold through synergy-G: GOOD + GREEN + GENDER + GINA as we empower G-Stuff Stores in Rockwell and Alabang Town Center, as well as continue helping her ILOVE communities.

This syner-G partnership will mean more success and sustainability for the many communities and partnerships involved. I truly feel this syner-G is the start of more good things to come to both retail brands while keeping the memory and legacy of Gina Lopez alive as she has inspired so many people to live well and to love the environment.

Today, the exchange of products between both brands have started. You will find ECHOstore products in G-Stuff branches in Rockwell (R3 level- third floor) and Alabang Town Center (Upper Ground level). Both stores will now also carry ECHOstore-branded products. ECHOstore branches in Salcedo, Serendra, Podium and Centris, and its online store are now carrying G-stuff products.