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Revelstoke’s Puso Pinoy is made of hard work and love

A column for Women of Inspiration
Mary Puso in her Asian food market, Puso Pinoy. (Contributed)

~Contributor: Rebecca Willson

No stranger to adversity, a Filipino native is now bringing the flavours and comforts of her childhood to her new home in Revelstoke.

In her own words, Mary Puso had a tough childhood. After losing her father when she was two, Puso’s family had to work hard to even make ends meet in the Philippines, a goal she said was difficult to achieve.

Her mother was an inspiration her whole life, walking long distances every day and carrying heavy loads of vegetables, fish and other homemade delicacies to sell to neighbours to make an income.

She added their house was poorly made and every time a strong typhoon hit it would rip the roof off, adding costly expenses to the family’s struggling income.

“My heart was open to hard work and doing business from a young age,” said Mary, saying it was the only way she knew to be.

Puso received a scholarship to attend school through the charitable program of the Sisters of Mary Girlstown in Talisay, Cebu, Philippines, which gives free education, clothing, food and housing to poor school-aged children. She believed in and followed the Sisters’ teachings but was also thinking of the future when she took the opportunity.

“When I graduated and was ready to become a nun, I did want to, but I didn’t believe I was destined to,” she said. “I had to follow my promise to help my mother.”

Puso opted to strive for a further university education, enrolling in a work-study program that had her out of the house from 7 a.m. to midnight while supporting her mother, who was sick at the time.

“I said to myself, ‘I can be whatever I want to be in life’,” she emphasized as she explained her rise from part-time worker to manager within the Filipino food and baked goods brand Goldilocks, the youngest person to achieve such a promotion at the time.

It came time for Puso to make a change and she applied to emigrate to Canada in 2014. She was denied at the time because of a government moratorium on immigration, but said she believes that was meant to happen because between then and 2019 when she did get approved, she got married and started her family.

“I believe God didn’t want me to come by myself, I was meant to have my husband and child by my side. It would have been very lonely because I was working so hard all those years.”

Landing in Revelstoke as her first stop in Canada, Puso has since stayed in the town she loves and worked her way up in various businesses before opening her Filipino and Asian food market, Puso Pinoy.

Managerial jobs at Tim Hortons and 7-Eleven helped her learn more about retail and sales alongside her knowledge of the food and grocery industry.

Puso was born as the family grew tired of having to travel to Kelowna or even Calgary just to find ingredients and foods from their home country, and as they heard stories of fellow Asian community members facing the same struggle.

“The idea just took off,” Puso said proudly of the only Asian market in town. She spoke of values she holds dear, including hard work and cherishing family, and having those comfort foods and the ability to make traditional dishes easily was a high priority for her. She keeps her roots close and still carries the Goldilocks brand in-store to this day.

As she works on receiving new stock in the coming weeks and exciting patrons with delicious baked goods, Puso’s belief that you can be anything you want to be is evident in the hard work and love emanating from her shop.