How is Maricar Reyes's cake business during lockdown?

by Justine Punzalan
Apr 2, 2020
Sound business principles enable Maricar Reyes to keep the pay of her staff rolling despite shutting down her small cake business during the Luzon-wide lockdown.
PHOTO/S: @maricarschocolatecakes on Instagram

Marami sa small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) ang nagbabantang magsara sa panahon ng lockdown na dulot ng COVID-19 crisis.

Just last week, may ilang SME owners ang nag-post sa kani-kanilang social media accounts ng isang open letter to the President na nagsasabing mabigyan sana rin sila ng financial aid, lalo pa't walang kasiguraduhan kung kailan matatapos ang enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) sa buong Luzon.

Sabi nila, "We need a bank interest subsidy for employers in the time of lockdowns.

"We need loan waiver for two months, at least the way you give it to farmers during drought.

"This is a dire time for businessmen, too. Big business can sustain, but small like us can't!"

May kaibahan naman ang pananaw ng aktres na si Maricar Reyes, na isa ring entrepreneur.

Although kinailangan niyang ihinto muna ang kanyang maliit na negosyo na Maricar's Chocolate Cakes, naniniwala siya na ito raw ang ideal time para maging flexible sa business.

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Maricar's Chocolate Cakes is into selling classic chocolate cakes, choco chunks, and coffee chunks sa stalls nito sa SM Megamall, Artisan Baking Institute, at Tea 18 Store. Available rin ang products niya online.

Sinabi ni Maricar na kinailangan muna nilang ihinto ang lahat ng ito kahit maganda ang kanilang sales.

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She said, "We stopped main operations on March 14 so no sales during the lockdown.

"But before the lockdown, we were doing well in spite of the COVID-19 spread...

"Our normal workweek is from Monday to Saturday. Deliveries were done daily except Sundays and certain holidays...

"But recently, store sales were a bit higher than delivery."

Nakausap ng (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Maricar on March 29, 2020, via Instagram direct message.

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Although temporarily closing Maricar's Chocolate Cakes means losing sales for a month, hindi naman raw naging mahirap for Maricar to decide on it dahil ang priority niya ay ang safety ng lahat.

Aniya, "First thought was health and safety. It's best to follow the government's directive strictly.

"On the first to second weeks [of the ECQ], we used minimal staff to provide some cakes for several frontliners in hospitals and military checkpoints; something to lift their moods.

"After that, we felt that everyone in our team should stop working.

"Our product is a non-essential commodity after all.

"And our staff want to be with their families."

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Kahit closed ang kanilang stores, Maricar sees to it na matatanggap ng kanyang crew ang kanilang suweldo ng buo.

On top of that, she also gave them groceries para siguradong may makain ang kani-kanilang pamilya during the lockdown.

"Thank goodness for online banking and Gcash, their pay was deposited to their accounts directly.

"We've saved a bit to give everyone their full pay, but hopefully this won't last too long that our savings will run out," Maricar said.

"We also sent them food assistance via our favorite Lalamove couriers.

"That's it unless a team member will need further assistance. Nakaabang lang kami."

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Crisis often comes unexpected, kung kaya't mula sa mga nangyayari ngayon, Maricar learned, "Emergency fund is life. Adaptability is lifer."

Sabi rin ni Maricar, nakakatulong rin ang pagkakaroon nila ng kanyang husband na si Richard Poon ng financial mentors.

"We learn from so many, but for business, it's Franklin and Ferdi Poon (Richard's cousins), Jayson Lo, Chinkee Tan, and Francis Kong."

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Asked what her advice is to other entrepreneurs, Maricar replied, "Same thing our mentors tell us—no matter how successful you get, always spend below your means and take care of your trusted team members."

And Maricar proves that she walks the talk dahil may plano pa raw ang Maricar's Chocolate Cakes to open more stalls soon.

"Yup, abangan very soon after this quarantine is over," she concluded.

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Sound business principles enable Maricar Reyes to keep the pay of her staff rolling despite shutting down her small cake business during the Luzon-wide lockdown.
PHOTO/S: @maricarschocolatecakes on Instagram
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