A mother’s touch proves to be a winning advantage
Entrepreneurs who have a motherly touch have proven to be successful. Take the case of National Bookstore founder Socorro Ramos who continues to be an inspiration not to only to her family but to her other ‘family,’ the people working in the iconic bookstore.
Cebu City, the Queen City of the South, also has a counterpart to Nanay Coring in the person of Julie Gandionco, the founder of Julie’s Bakeshop. Being a mother for all seasons, Gandionco, 81, also fondly called Tita Julie by her relatives and employees as well, brings her motherly touch to the Julie’s Bakeshop family because they are the partners to her success.
“Treat them well and your business will continue to grow,” says Gandionco.
Gandionco wasn’t born with the proverbial silver spoon. Being a mother, she was determined to get out of the poverty trap to enable her children and family to have a brighter future. Just like any determined mother, Gandionco bucked the odds of her challenging childhood and marginalized economic background to become a bakery icon in the country
In her autobiography, Gandionco says the family encountered rough sailing in her married life. They were living in a nipa hut in the center of a fishpond and she had to help her husband in raising the children plus helping her siblings during the initial years of her marital life.
A real loving mother shows determination, love, passion and skill to turn things around for the family. Gandionco initially ventured into selling fruits along General Maxilom Avenue in Cebu. After retailing fruits, Gandionco explored other business options.
She applied as one of the concessionaries in Philcadan, a Mandaue City-based rattan factory. Lady luck, so to speak was on her side, as she was accepted even without having a background in business. Thus, her second enterprise was born with an initial capital of P3,000.
The canteen business grew to three handing the food requirements of more than a thousand workers on a daily basis. Possessing very keen business acumen, Gandionco saw there was a huge demand for bread for the workers in their daily breakfast and merienda, she decided to embark on another business—the bakery business.
Investing her lifetime savings of P19, 000, Gandionco bought second-hand equipment for her bakeshop. Gandionco also used guts to open Julie’s Bakeshop knowing that she does not have any experience in the bakery business.
Even though without knowledge in the business, her husband Diego, a former salesman of Pepsi Cola, was there to give her support
When she turned 50, Gandionco opened the first branch of Julie’s in January 1981 in Mandaue City with less than five employees including Gandionco.
At present, Julie’s Bakeshop is recognized as the biggest neighborhood bakeshop in the country with more than 500 Julie’s Bakeshop branches operated by 130 franchisees.
In her book, Gandionco says poverty motivated her to overcome the challenges in life. “In a way, I was poor. I was hungry, maybe not for food but for self-achievement. I thought there must be something more I can do than just being a housewife. I was very determined to succeed, in whatever came my way,” she said in her book.
Despite her success, Gandionco remains grounded and attached to her humble beginnings. Gandionco and Julie’s Bakeshop are strong advocates of corporate philanthropy.
Feeding the marginalized and victims of natural disasters has become a main advocacy of Julie’s Bakeshop. Aside from being a good corporate citizen, this action shows the unconditional love given by Gandionco and Julie’s Bakeshop to people.
For all the milestones she has achieved, Gandionco epitomized that a mother can be a vital instrument to inspire, motivate, dream and hope. Every morning, a buyer of Julie’s Bakeshop products is reminded of the compassion and enthusiasm of Tita Julie.
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