The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered almost all businesses vulnerable, with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) particularly hit the hardest across all sectors in the country. Many companies were forced to stop operations upfront, while some have declared bankruptcy after months of not being able to generate income and stay operational.
The Department of Trade and Industry reports that there are around one million entities that comprise the SME industry, accounting for 60% of the total revenue of Philippine businesses and responsible for more than 2.5 million jobs in the country. These companies continue to grapple with the public health crisis of COVID-19 alongside the country’s struggle to jumpstart and sustain the economy.
To help alleviate the impact of the pandemic to SMEs, convenience lifestyle retail chain FamilyMart has opened its doors and lent its store shelves to entrepreneurs to bring in and feature their products under the #WeSupportSME campaign. It seeks to bridge consumers back to these SMEs by connecting them through FamilyMart’s extensive and established retail network, while at the same time widening the store’s offerings.
“We want to help the local economy by promoting SMEs while also being of service to our customers. We consider suppliers and vendors as part of our ‘family’ as well—true to the spirit of our tagline #WeGotchuFam,” said Bernie Suiza, General Manager of FamilyMart Philippines.
One of FamilyMart’s bestselling products that suffered a setback during the initial enhanced community quarantine was their cookies, whose original supplier had to halt production. However, FamilyMart learned of insistent demand from customers for the baked treats, so management devised ways to bring the item back in their stores.
FamilyMart partnered with Aperitif, a local restaurant known for their iconic Cheese and Cold Cuts Graze Boxes, as one of their pioneer SMEs under the campaign to feature their popular Ooey Gooey Cookie selections in-store.
Aperitif owner and CEO Karla Zulueta welcomed the partnership as their main branches in malls were affected with the lockdown. While the company decided to maintain operations through home delivery and online orders, they are now able to sustain the same level of sales and production prior to the pandemic.
“Aperitif sales have always been driven mostly by catering, but during ECQ, it shifted to a la carte, but logistics was a problem. Thanks to FamilyMart, the business sustained its level of production and sales, and even made it higher,” said Zulueta. “We had to hire more people to sustain the demand. Now, we’re back to almost 15 staff in the commissary, coming from only two during the start of the lockdown. Through our partnership with FamilyMart, hopefully, the business will be sustained during these hard times, even without our catering services.”
At present, more than 30 FamilyMart stores are selling Aperitif’s sought-after cookies such as Classic Chocolate Chip, Reese’s Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate.
This month, FamilyMart is giving the #WeGotchuFam treatment to another SME and added Baked by Machew as its latest partner for the #WeSupportSME campaign. With this, the convenience store chain is now offering the Chef Matthew Lim’s famous Premium Kani Sushi Bake to more foodies.
“We are excited to be part of FamilyMart’s #WeSupportSMEs project since it has undoubtedly helped SMEs, much like ourselves, in these trying times. Valuing the same set of principles and mindset, we believe FamilyMart will help us grow further. Given their reliability, positive reputation, and vast clientele, it has set itself to be a stepping stone for SMEs out there, and we are grateful to be part of the growing fam,” Baked by Machew owner Chef Matthew Lim said.
As for FamilyMart, Suiza is excited to share that they will be offering more exciting food choices as they continue to partner with more local SMEs. “This is all in line with our goal to be part of the lives of our customers and patrons, in good times and especially now in this challenging period—to provide the comforts and conveniences of family,” he concluded.
FamilyMart products and those of partner SMEs may be enjoyed by ordering through GrabMart, through Facebook Messenger at m.me/familymartph, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, through call, SMS, Viber, Whatsapp, and Telegram at 09176216758, or by visiting the online store at www.familymartph.company.site.
Photo Credit: Facebook/FamilyMart Philippines