Business As Usual

A cool and best tasting graduation gift

Jennylei Caberte - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Young entrepreneur Eleonor de Leon Cruz had always dreamed to run her own business since she was a child. She had always wanted to operate an enterprise that would allow her to sell two of her favorite food items – ice cream and freshly brewed coffee. 

The dream of running her own business someday pushed her to take up Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) where she graduated last year.  As a reward for all her hard work and for doing well in school, her parents gifted her with the Fiorgelato/ Fior Cafe’ franchise in Malolos City, Bulacan. 

“I was delighted because I really loved ice cream and coffee.  The truth is, I frequently visited  the Fiorgelato/ Fior Café’ branch in SM North The Block for scoops and scoops of gelato.  Fiorgelato / Fior Café’ is the perfect franchise for me.  Fiorgelato with its signature gelato brand and Fior Café’ which offers pasta, sandwiches, pastries, and freshly brewed coffee mixes” 21-year old Cruz enthused.

Cruz shares that she inherited her entrepreneurial spirit and talent from her parents who run their own metal fabrication business in Calumpit, Bulacan. The venture was established in 1998 by her father who is an engineer.  While in college, she said she pitched in by doing clerical and cashiering work for the family business.

“I did simple tasks back then. That experience taught me how to run a business, but metal fabrication is not really my line,” she recalled saying that when she had her high school at Immaculate Conception School in Malolos, she heard that the food business is viable all-year round as everybody eats.  The idea then stuck to her mind and dreamed of having her own food business someday.

Her parents decided to go for a Fiorgelato/ Fior Cafe’ franchise after they visited Franchise Asia Philippines 2012 at the SMX convention Center.  They then started talks with the team of Milkin’ Corp. president and chief executive officer Richie Z. Cuna, owner of Fiorgelato Ice Cream/ Fior Cafe’.

“One of the major considerations the management team of Milkin’ Corp. insisted on was the outlet’s location. They wanted to make sure the venture would be viable and profitable for us. This is something that our family appreciates about Milkin’ Corp., it is not just concerned about making profits, it also wants to ensure that its franchisees would earn,” Cruz emphasized.    

It took a year before Cruz and her parents would find the perfect location where they can set up a Fiorgelato Ice Cream/ Fior Cafe’ outlet.  Eleonor admitted she was almost discouraged from pushing through with her plans because they could not find the most suitable site for the store. 

“I was almost tempted to accept the job offer from a posh hotel when the call came from the owner of a commercial complex in Malolos that a space had become available. I was ecstatic,” Cruz revealed.  

After a year of waiting, she finally got her long-awaited graduation gift.  Last July 23, their Fiorgelato Ice Cream/ Fior Cafe’ franchised outlet located at the Ground Floor of Twins Plaza Complex, McArthur Highway, Malolos, Bulacan, opened its doors to Maloleňos.  No less than Bulacan Vice Governor Daniel Fernando led its ceremonial ribbon cutting rites attended by special guests, friends, relatives and well wishers.

Despite the one-year wait, Cruz said she and her family truly appreciate how Milkin’ Corp. takes care of them and their outlet.  Richie Cuna’s team, she said, was with the family from day one up until now that the franchise is already up and running.  

“We’re very happy that Milkin’ Corp. takes care of our outlet very well, it really makes sure its franchisees earn.  Milkin’ Corp.’s insistence on ensuring the viability of store’s location shows that it really cares about its franchisees,” she stressed. 

Cruz revealed that Milkin’ Corp. continues to guide her and checks on her every now and then. She said no request seems difficult for the company when it comes to providing the needs of its franchisees.

“One time, we needed products delivered immediately to our store. The policy is to place the order five days before but the Milkin’ Corp. team managed to find a way to deliver what we need,” she said.

“Maloleňos are really excited and they do appreciate our products.  At first, they were curious and kept on asking what’s the difference between an ice cream and a gelato.  I told them gelato is made from pure milk. Now that they’ve known it, they keep on swarming our store since it opened,” she further shared.

For now, the young entrepreneur is focused on running and growing the Fiorgelato/ Fior Cafe’ franchise. But she admits she plans to expand, to put up Fiorgelato scooping stations in Malolos schools in five years.

“I’m very happy with our Fiorgelato/ Fior Cafe’ franchise.  I feel fulfilled.  Fiorgelato is a dream come true!” she ended beaming with pride.     

Fiorgelato is the country’s leading, home grown, best tasting and purest gelato made from 100 percent fresh milk and natural gelato ingredients and formula from Italy.

Milkin’ Corp. remains bullish in the domestic market and targets to open 20 stores to mark its 20th anniversary in 2013.                                   


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