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Growing Together: A Tale of Two Businesses

Growing Together: A Tale of Two Businesses

The Express Clean branch in San Fernando, Pampanga was the first of many in a fruitful partnership with Alfamart, the first and only Super Minimart chain in the Philippines.

For a small business, growing at a comfortable pace can be tough. Not only do you have to worry about keeping yourself out of the red, you’ll also have to make the right amount of profit so you have enough to invest back into developing your business.

This was pretty much the reality that Arles Uy was faced with when he started Express Clean, a self-service laundromat, back in 2017. “It was a total risk with doubts and uncertainty involved,” Uy related. He added that starting his business was a gamble with whatever savings he had at the time. “As an entrepreneur, you need to be ready to take those calculated risks.”

But a chance meeting with Alfamart, the first and only Super Minimart chain in the country, changed everything. Fortuitously, Alfamart was looking for partners to grow with, by subleasing some of their space to small businesses. Express Clean began their partnership with Alfamart in December 2017, opening their first branch in San Pedro, Laguna, right beside the store.

The self-service laundry shop remained operational and lucrative even during the pandemic and ensuing quarantines.

Since then, Express Clean has expanded to seven branches; each beside an Alfamart store. “Alfamart provided us the platform to jumpstart our growth in the industry,” Uy said. “We saw remarkable potential in the concept of a self-service type of laundry. Our partnership with Alfamart helped us realize it,” he added.

Ever since its entry into the Philippine market in 2014, Alfamart has kept its development grassroots-focused, constantly looking for partners to grow with “When we brought the brand in from Indonesia, we didn’t just take the Alfamart name,” said Alfamart Philippines COO Harvey Ong. “We also brought with it the philosophy of starting from the bottom up, growing with the communities we serve and the partners that we engage with,” he continued.

Much like other small businesses, Express Clean was also affected by the recent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19) pandemic’s economic impact.

“Undeniably, this pandemic has tested the mettle of many businesses, including ours,” Uy said. “Fortunately for us, our operational system has already been established, hence, enabling us to withstand the situation. With the support of Alfamart, as well as the flexible arrangements they provided their tenants during this crisis, not only were we able to consolidate our operations, but we were also able to open up new branches during the lockdown period,” he explained.

“It is through the help of reliable partners that we were able to overcome the challenges of the pandemic,” Ong concurred. “We can rely on them, and they can rely on us,” he concluded.

For more information on how your business can work together with Alfamart, you may visit https://www.alfamart.com.ph/be-a-tenant/.


About The Author

Raymund Ravanera is an accomplished and experienced graphic designer with almost 20 years of creative expertise working in the graphic design industry. He loves the latest gadgets, food and movies. Currently, he owns and manages megabites.com.ph, an online technology and lifestyle blog since 2015.

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