Julie’s Bakeshop loves its neighbors

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When Julie’s Bakeshop opened its first outlet in 1981 on Hernan Cortes in Mandaue City, Cebu, its goal was to become the No. 1 neighborhood bakeshop producing quality fresh breads.

The goal later changed to having a Julie’s Bakeshop in every barangay, town and city in the Philippines. To reach this new goal, the Gandionco family, which owns Julie’s Bakeshop, knew communities had very big roles to play.

IF LOYALTY IS EXPECTED OF EMPLOYEES, JULIE’S BAKESHOP IS LOYAL TO ITS WORKERS AS WELL. THE BAKESHOP’S FIRST BAKER STILL WORKS THERE.

So every new Julie’s branch hires local residents. By creating jobs in the host community, Julie’s, which now has more than 400 company-owned and franchised branches all over the Philippines, helps it grow and develop and secures its customer base.

The successful bakery chain was started by a dressmaker. Julie R. Gandionco, the matriarch of the Gandionco family and the brains behind the business, became a canteen concessionaire to augment her husband’s income, as they raised eight children.

But bakeries could not give her enough fresh bread for her canteen so she decided to make her own. At the age of 50, Gandionco opened the first Julie’s Bakeshop on Jan 6, 1981. The bakeshop became so successful she had to give up her canteen and concentrate on the new business.

Three years later, 10 more Julie’s branches opened. As the business grew, the Gandioncos opened a bakery supply company, RJ Commodities, to service its branches. By the late 1990s, the bakeshop had 200 branches operated by family, relatives and friends.

As business continued to grow, the family decided to go into franchising. Julie’s Franchise Corporation (JFC) was registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1998, the first franchise opening in June that year in Camiguin.

With 400-strong branches, Julie’s Bakeshop continues to aim for having one in every barangay, town and city in the Philippines by engaging the community

JFC, which has offices and warehouses in the cities of Pasig and Davao (a warehouse has opened in Cagayan de Oro City), now has more than 300 franchisees nationwide. It has received awards for franchising and neighborhood bakeshop. From a staff of 8-10, Julie’s Bakeshop now has about 9,000 employees nationwide.

Michael Martinez Godinez, senior human resource manager, said Julie’s Bakeshop has several programs on inclusive business engagements, aside from the hiring of locals which it does in coordination with barangay officials who are asked to recommend people. Hiring locals helps the bakeshop adapt its products to the preferences of the community.

If loyalty is expected of employees, Julie’s Bakeshop is loyal to its workers as well. The bakeshop’s first baker still works there. Now 60, Vicente Ruiz was hired by Julie’s when he was only 23 years old. His more than three decades with Julie’s has made him a beneficiary of its housing program for loyal employees.

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“I have a future here. Ma’am Julie manages her people well. If we have problems, she won’t turn her back on us,” Ruiz said. Ruiz is now a baker technician who teaches new bakers how to do breads the Julie’s way and checks the quality of products in other branches.

“This job has really been a big help. My future and that of my family’s are secure because of this job,” said Ruiz.

Saying he owes a lot to Gandionco, who makes sure her employees are well taken care of, Ruiz has opted to continue serving the company instead of retiring. Besides, he said his job was easier now as he ensures quality standards are maintained.

JULIE’S ALSO HOLDS ACTIVITIES IN UNIVERSITIES TO ENCOURAGE GRADUATING STUDENTS TO JOIN THE COMPANY, WHICH IS STABLE AND GUARANTEES THEM A SECURE FUTURE.

Godinez said the company also sees the hiring of fresh graduates as part of its inclusive engagement. Julie’s taps mostly graduates of the Sisters of Mary Schools, institutions for underprivileged youth.

Julie’s also holds activities in universities to encourage graduating students to join the company, which is stable and guarantees them a secure future.

While Julie’s pursues its goal to have a branch in all barangay, cities and towns in the Philippines, it is also considering opening a bakeshop outside the country.

At the same time, Julie’s hopes to help another group of Filipinos—overseas workers. It wants to encourage them to sign up for a Julie’s franchise so they do not have to leave and be away from their families, assured that they will earn enough here

This story is part of a series of articles written by GO NEGOSYO writers being published by GoodNewsPilipinas.com as part of our support to Philippine businesses.

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