New normal requires shifting gears, quick

A POPULAR resort becomes an online farm fresh produce grocery right after community quarantine was declared.

The last weeks saw a surge in online businesses from delivery services to food, mostly food, mostly by enterprising individuals.

One of the established companies that shifted operational landscape fast is the Malagos Garden Resort with the help of its sister companies that are also agriculture-based endeavors. Thus, what was once a popular tourist and weekend destination is now an online grocery store offering fresh farm produce delivered at your doorstep at very reasonable prices and as fast as possible.

It started as just a messaging service on social media on March 15, 2020, after all operations closed two days before. It debuted as a full-fledged online shop The Malagos Homegrown Produce by April 4. And just last May 13, Malagos Homegrown partnered with Beam and Go to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other people outside the country to provide for their families in Davao City. This is in recognition that travel is restricted and will remain restricted until a cure is found for Covid-19.

At the helm of this major change is Charisse Puentespina who has an IT team in her architecture and interior design company operations. It was a big jump toward agriculture, but there’s the livelihood of their workers to think about.

“Sales have been consistent but of course not the same but we are just very lucky to have this so our people can somehow continue working,” Puentespina said.

Workforce has been drastically reduced since the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), so they did work rotation and also moved operations in Agdao to be nearer the market. What was once a flower garden in Agdao is also now a vegetable garden.

Malagos Garden Resort produces the vegetables, organic eggs, and herbs that were once produced for their buffet restaurant.

“We’ve converted a portion of the bird park now to a bigger vegetable garden since what we had before was for resort use only,” she said.

The frozen meat products are prepared by the resort butchery, the bakery prepares the bread and pastries and the cold kitchen makes the milk shakes, all sold online.

Also being sold are the sister companies’ products that include Malagos chocolates, Malagos Farmhouse Cheeses, and vermi-compost and conditioned gardening medium that answer the booming demand of backyard gardeners.

They are doing research and development for calamansi and lime juice while the staff for their spa are doing the hand soaps. They’re working on the permits for these now, hoping they can roll these new products out as soon as possible.

“Kung ano-ano na lang so we have something to do,” Puentespina said.

For the resort alone, they have 100 workers. At present, they have assigned 25 for sales, marketing and delivery, 35 remain in the resort to take care of the plants and animals.

“Hopefully, the 45 made up of waiters and hotel housekeeping and engineering, we will be able to realign to the other initiatives,” she added.

She’s more hopeful with the general community quarantine as they will be able to accommodate more for regular assignments. This is the reason too why they are developing new products.

With more and more people losing jobs, their focus is to keep theirs employed and the only way is to innovate and innovate fast. This new normal that everyone is talking about is all about recovering as fast as possible while keeping a keen eye on where the opportunities lie.


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