IN AS MUCH as the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic paralyzed most of the businesses, it has also given birth to few more. The suspension of people’s work freed their hands to try out new things. While they do it to keep them productive, some just have to get through the uncertainties in their survival in these trying times.
When the pandemic hit, writing gigs for freelance writer Eva M. Fernandez became rare. The demand for her writing and editing service from her international clients slowly declined as well as the several production projects she and her husband shared. It was their main source of income. Being a mother, she cannot help but think of the worst.
“I feared losing whatever little we have in the bank on rising bills and rent. I worried about the resources running out,” she shared.
“What if someone would steal our stocks? Wait, we don’t have stocks! What if this situation drags on? What will happen to my children? What will happen to my family? Eventually if worst comes to worst, money will lose its value,” she added.
This brimming anxiety, however, is the same feeling that pushed her to grab opportunities. The demand for service may have slowed down but there are people’s cravings that may be taken advantage of. So she and her husband decided to put up Genco Pizza, a Italian-style homemade pizza business.
The pizza idea came from her frustrations in getting it while queueing in a grocery store. She also struggled to find pizza shops near her area or even order from an established pizza business and have it delivered to her home.
“I don’t think that a job as simple as making pizzas and delivering them to a customer’s doorsteps should be difficult, especially if they’ve been in the business for a long time,” she said.
Her first flavors were Beefsteak and Mustard Chicken BBQ, Classic Pepperoni, and Five Cheese. The Italian flair was her and her husband’s shared fascination with the foreign culture.
And having a family of cooks that excelled in Filipino cuisines, she crossed her fingers when she had them taste-test the first versions of her masterpieces.
“My father, who has taken pride in cooking the best versions of Filipino dishes, never understood my fascination for tomato, basil, and cheese. [He], whose approval of anything I do was extinct, blurted out that my pizza tastes better than that pizza place where there’s a long queue for shoppers,” Fernandez recalled.
True enough, the young Genco Pizza gradually gained the approval of a few more customers.
“Genco Pizza processes 10 to 20 orders a day. On Sundays, we make pizzas and deliver to almost 50 customers,” she said, adding that there are only three of them running their small business.
She has also added more flavors in her menu such as the Lemon Garlic Shrimp, Fresh Basil Pesto, and Epic Hawaiian.
Her ingredients such as basils, parsleys, and pineapples were also sourced from local stores and farms in the city. She has also stayed truthful to the integrity of the Italian culture by using authentic dough, tomato sauces and pastes, and cheese.
“It was a challenge looking for suppliers especially with the pandemic. But we manage to pull off nonetheless. We also are working on the timeliness of our deliveries too. Overall, we are blessed with wonderful customers,” she said.
For now, Genco Pizza mainly runs to sustain their daily needs and is helping three in-house drivers who were laid off from their previous employment.
However, Fernandez and her husband have been looking forward to putting up a carpark theatre soon where everyone stays in their cars while observing social distancing as they watch movies and served with Genco Pizza’s variants.
“It’s kinda like the old school. Most people love old school,” she said.
Fernandez fully knows there are still a lot of things that can happen in the next few months or years. But in the moments of uncertainty, she is sure about the things she is learning in this pandemic.
“I shouldn’t complain and act powerless over my life and the lives of my children. If I gave in to my fears, to the hysteria that the Covid-19 easily inspires, I would have been sitting in the corner right now, rocking myself to sleep, and waiting for someone like the government or god to save me,” she said.
“I learned to do more than to think more. That’s because whenever we allow the thoughts in our heads to set the pace of our lives, it becomes our reality. And that reality kills,” she added.