filipino
Marc and Sheila Hodgkinson have opened Sheila’s Mini Mart on Hylton Road in Sunderland.
Jane Imrie

New entrepreneurs bring taste of the Philippines to Sunderland

A husband and wife team have brought Filipino food to Sunderland with the launch of a new store.

Marc and Sheila Hodgkinson have opened Sheila’s Mini Mart on Hylton Road with the support of the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) and government initiative the New Enterprise Allowance programme.

Originally from the Philippines, former architect Sheila identified an opportunity to cater to the growing Filipino community in the area and set up the store, which specialises in Filipino foods and products, with joiner husband Marc.

Sheila explained: “I know what it’s like to miss a particular food from home and I’d struggle to get it locally or would have to travel. I researched shopping trends and various wholesalers and found products that would be attractive to the Filipino community.

“We had the idea in February and opened our shop, in a great location near the hospital, in April. Our adviser at the BIC has been very helpful, especially at the beginning when I didn’t know where to start.”

Shirley Hermiston, business support manager from the BIC added: “It’s always incredibly satisfying to see our clients going into business after working hard to equip themselves with the knowledge and know-how they need to make a commercial success of their business idea.

“We’re really happy for Sheila and Marc. They had an idea and they’ve gone for it. And now they’re enjoying the results.”

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