Apolinar (Allan) Suarez, Jr. is not blindly optimistic of what lies ahead with the current situation of the export sector. Instead, he is realistic and was able to cope by making the most out of all the opportunities available for A. Suarez Sterling Corporation.
A. Suarez Sterling Corporation was established in 1996. It manufactures and exports sterling silver jewelry for a brand in Europe. According to Allan, although the company needed some financing prior to the pandemic, overall, their sales looked good.
“During the pandemic, the business barely coped. Good thing, our clients are still loyal and remained to us,” Allan shared.
The business had to close for three (3) weeks in April 2020 due to the uncertainties in the community quarantine . Despite this, he did not lay-off any of his employees. However, they were only paid during the days they work through the company’s own savings.
Allan acknowledged the needs of his employee so he gradually resumed operations . It started with a resumption of 20% production, and such capacity increased every two weeks until 100% of the workforce returned and the business started operating for five days.
“We strictly adhered to the health protocols such as using of face masks, face shields, and washing of hands. We made our employees aware of the consequences of having even only one case of COVID-19. Suarez shared. “We were fortunate to have the Department of Health visit our factory to do free swab-tests where everyone came out negative. They also did IGG tests after five months where everyone came out healthy,” he added.
In adjusting to the new normal, aside from complying to community quarantine protocols, A. Suarez Sterling Corporation also became prudent with their business deals. “Bayanihan CARES came in at a time when we need it the most. We needed a little push to restart our full production,” Suarez added.
Through the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT), Suarez was able to apply online to SB Corp’s Bayanihan CARES. The loan proceeds will supplement the company’s operating expenses as it fully resume .
“We remain positive but vigilant. We must make most of what we have,” he concluded.