Need a quick fix?

May 13, 2017

My apologies for last week's missed column. Another duty called, but I hope I can make up with this interesting story of how a uniquely Filipino brand started modestly with a simple business plan and is now a flourishing enterprise here at home.

Who does not know Mr. Quickie? I think every Pinoy recognizes the iconic logo of Mr. Quickie which is a familiar and welcome sight wherever there is much foot traffic-in malls, in busy corners, just about everywhere.

Our Business & Leisure staff had an interesting talk with Mr. Quickie's Chief Executive Officer,Emiliano Caruncho IV, orNino as friends call him. I remember Nino as one of our young (and good) badminton players back in the 90s at the Valle Verde Country Club, and now this young man calls the shots at this enterprise.

As Nino narrated, Mr. Quickie was started by his father, Emiliano III in 1981. His Dad was a real entrepreneur at heart, and like many others, he had a string of failed businesses. He went into frozen foods, even produced one movie. During one of his trips in Southeast Asia, he noticed a business model that was faring well, small stores providing service along the streets and in department stores. This was really was inspired him to duplicate it here, tweaking the concept a little to fit into the Pinoy lifestyle. Nino recalled that at that time, he and his siblings were growing and his father noted that there was no decent shoe repair stores to bring their "pudpud" shoes to for repair or sole replacement. Those fly-by-night stalls in the wet market were not reliable and, what if the next day they have fled with a good pair of shoes?

Nino graduated with a degree in Business Administration at the University of the Philippines in 1995 and took a Master's degree at the Asian Institute of Management, following in the footsteps of his Dad, and he immediately took over the growing family business. He grew up in an entrepreneurial atmosphere at home, and knew that he did not want to end up in the corporate world. In fact, as early as high school, he was already engaged in small businesses, importing badminton supplies back in 1987 when badminton was the craze and selling them here. He even had an online video store when there was still no broadband in the Philippines and the internet was much slower than what it is now. Those were failed businesses that served him well and prepared him for a more established business.

When his Dad started Mr. Quickie, he employed what he learned in business school and they called this back then as the Blitzkrieg Strategy. This simply means expanding as rapidly as you can in the shortest time possible. With this strategy, Emiliano III completely shut out all his competitors because there was a Mr. Quickie store in all the strategic places. The strategy worked.

When Nino took over, he continued the feverish expansion. It also bears mentioning here that the chosen brand name was catchy and with easy recall, two of the most important elements when choosing a brand name. They started out with basic services: shoe and bag repair and key duplication. He not only worked on expanding the reach of his brand, Nino also put a lot of weight on the need to innovate, his cardinal rule in business. They have since added more services like alterations, bag restoration, and leather conditioning. They even embroider logos on jackets and sweaters.

In the name of his cardinal rule that is innovation, he has also opened Mr. Quickie to franchises. Now this brand has no less than fifty (50) company-owned stores and about one hundred fifty (150) franchises spread out all over the archipelago. Nino wisely says that he does not want to have too many management branches to ensure stricter monitoring.

Now, he recently opened a new store, Royal Restore under the Mr. Quickie brand. Cognizant of how many millenials own and treasure their high-end bags and shoes, there was niche that he could fill. He has skilled workers who can handle these expensive shoes and bags with tender loving care to restore them to their former glory. Actually, when his Dad started the business in the early 80s, he sourced his workers in Marikina where there was a wealth of highly-skilled workers in the thriving shoe industry. When Nino took over, part of his new program involved a 3-month training program for all his workers to ensure sustained quality control in all the stores. The workers assigned to Royal Restore are cleared for the sensitive restoration job. Very soon, Nino says, they are also going to offer yet another new service. Notice how expensive rubber shoes are now a must-have for our young professionals? These rubber shoes also need repairs, restoration, and he is now working on this special type of service.

So much has happened to this iconic Filipino brand, so we asked Nino: what else is in store for Mr. Quickie? More expansion, to be sure, and more franchises to open, but he is now seriously eyeing foreign shores for his expansion. He has had quite a few inquiries about this, but he is treading cautiously. He knows that choosing the right partner in a foreign country is crucial, but he is open to the idea.

This young man who I used to watch play good badminton has made his own mark in a family business that he has inherited. When asked for his advice to would-be entrepreneurs, he did not have an off-the-cuff answer. Many, he said, would normally say that one has to find his passion. In his case, this business was not exactly his idea of finding his passion, but he knew that he had to make a difference, he had to leave a mark and he had to achieve success. Working hard, planning well and innovating are his recipes for success. Perhaps he can find his passion somewhere else, and maybe even make it a profitable venture in due time. For now, Mr. Quickie is his baby, and he is certainly there to make it grow even bigger.

Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

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About the Author

Ray Butch Gamboa graduated from the College of Arts and Letters of the University of Sto. Tomas. It was a course that should have been preparatory to a law degree, but the call of broadcasting aborted his plans.

At the age of 16, while still a student, Butch tried his hand at disc jockeying, landing a job at Mareco Broadcasting Network's AM stations DZBM and DZLM. From there, Butch moved on with his illustrious career as a popular disc jockey, riding the airwaves of Bob Stewart's middle-of-the-road music at DZXX, and ending his disc jockeying career at ABS-CBN's DZYL and DZQL.

From there, he stayed on with ABS-CBN, covering live the proceedings at the Manila Stock Exchange and eventually entered into the world of television sales as an account manager for the premier channel of ABS-CBN Channel 2.

In the early 70's, at the outbreak of Martial Law, Butch was one of the thousands of professionals who woke up jobless when then President Marcos declared the new status of the nation. With the closure of ABS-CBN, Butch ventured into different fields outside of broadcast. He tried his hand and with ease and success at export (Costume jewelry), real estate (brokerage), and restaurants (fast food).

In 1987, after the revolution, with the broadcast industry back to its free state, and with its irresistible call ringing in his ears, Butch made his inevitable comeback and pioneered in a local motoring show, producing Motoring Today on Channel 4 and co-hosting with local motor sports' living legend Pocholo Ramirez.

After 4 years, he ventured into another pioneering format by producing and hosting Business & Leisure, which was originally aired on ABS-CBN's Channel 2. The format eventually espoused similar ones in other different channels. But the clones in due course faded away leaving the original staying on airing on Channel 4 and eventually on Shop TV on Sky Cable's Channel 13.

The following year, the pioneering spirit in Butch spurred him to produce another TV show, Race Weekend, also on Channel 4, covering circuit racing at the Subic International Raceway after the motor sport's hiatus of 17 years. But when similar shows with duplicated formats sprouted, he decided to give way and ended the program after a year, although still enjoying unparalleled viewership.

In 1998, when the local automotive industry was in a slump, Butch contributed his share to help the ailing industry by producing another popular motoring-related show, this time exclusive to the automobile and its industry—Auto Focus, which became a vehicle for local automotive assemblers and importers to showcase their products and dwell on the industry's latest technological developments.

In 2003, Butch teamed up with his brother, Rey Gamboa who was a former Shell executive and presently one Philippine Star's business columnist to co-produce and co-host the TV show Breaking Barriers on Channel 13. It is a talk show that features guests who are in the news and in the middle of controversies. The program ventures to draw deeper insights into current issues to learn how they impact to our daily lives.

Today, Motoring Today on its 28th year of service to the general motoring public still enjoys its unprecedented loyal vierwership nationwide while Auto Focus, after 16 years has firmly established its niche viewership among automobile enthusiasts and on the other hand Business & Leisure is on its 24th year dishing out current business issues and lifestyle features.

Today, aside from writing weekly columns for the Philippine Star (Motoring Today on Wednesdays and Business & Leisure on Saturdays) and executive producer / host of weekly TV shows (Motoring Today, airs Sundays on Solar Sports Channel 70, Business & Leisure, airs Tuesdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13 and Auto Focus airs Thursdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13, Ray Butch Gamboa is currently the Chairman and CEO of Sunshine Television Production and Marketing Services Corp., President of Gamcor Management and Development Corp., Chairman of Asia-Pacific Realty Corporation, President and Chairman of Socio-Communication Foundation for Asia and Founding Chairman of the Society of Phil. Motoring Journalists (SPMJ)