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Small business owners take road to recovery

Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - March 7, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The slow vaccine rollout in the country has affected micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in the country as they struggle to recover amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

But the wholesale business is already starting to recover including wholesalers of Pepsi Cola-Products Philippines Inc. (PCPPI), which is the exclusive manufacturer of PepsiCo beverages in the country.

Alfredo Calma, a wholesaler of PCPPI,said that as a beverage dealer and owner of Alvi Store in Pateros, MSMEs owners like him are dealing with the challenges but are now seeing signs of recovery.

“It’s the first time that I see the business community experience a pandemic but I didn’t fear the challenges. Business owners like me must have the technical know-how to navigate through a crisis like this. It is also important to check on your employees and motivate them,” Calma said.

As with other MSME owners, Calma was not spared from the impact of the global health crisis. His outlet was badly hit and sales volume declined.

“When the lockdown started, many businesses pulled back and stopped their operations. That did not stop me from continuing my business. My employees couldn’t afford to lose their jobs at this point. I told them that we are in this together. The business is our daily bread,” he said.

His business has started to recover with volumes reaching 20,000 cases per month, which was close to his store’s pre-pandemic targets.

In the Philippines, MSMEs account for 99 percent of the country’s total enterprise.

But Calma said his business is now thriving with the right processes in operating the business.

As a hands-on owner, he oversees the daily operations such as bookings, outlet visits and financials. He also ensures that Pepsi’s push programs are implemented in the trade accordingly.

Apart from overseeing operations, he also ensures that his people remain safe during these uncertain times.

“All my delivery teams follow the IATF guidelines on health and safety protocols,” he said.

Calma expects the business to continuously recover with the rollout of the vaccines.

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