In the highly dynamic, fast-changing world of business, relationships come and go. This is especially true for big brands that have been around for decades. It is a testament, then, to the shared values of Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant and some of its partners that they remain integral to each other’s success since the early years of the popular homegrown food chain.
As consumers, these things that happen behind the scenes almost go unnoticed, so let’s hear it firsthand from the businesses that thrive with the brand. Two of those partners, Vicky and Lofrie, have been with the brand founded and owned by the Conti sisters of Batangas for at least 15 years.
“We are very fortunate to have found partners who shared our values and goals early on,” says Patricia Marañon-Tan, daughter of one of the Conti sisters and current Conti’s General Manager. “And we are very glad that we have grown together through the years. Conti’s would not be known for the high quality of our food if not for the high-quality products of our partners.”
Patricia notes that Vicky actually began as a regular source of seafood for family gatherings and parties in the Conti home in Paranaque. She is an owner of a small stall in a nearby wet market and the year was 1997, which marked the birth of Conti’s.
“Sa bahay nila ako nagdedeliver ng seafood para sa mga catering ni ma’am Carole,” Vicky notes.
The market stall is a family venture. The catering deliveries for the Conti family affairs soon evolved into regularly supplying shrimp guisa and shrimp medium tiger for the restaurant. Through the Conti’s partnership alone, she was able to make a very good living for her family.
“Napa-aral ko ang mga anak ko sa private school since nursery until college,” beams the entrepreneur who got her studies in public schools. “Nakabili din ako ng sasakyan. ‘‘Yun talaga ‘yung ‘Salamat Conti’s.’”
She says she did not expect the partnership with Conti’s to last this long. And she attributes a lot of its success to the valuable inputs and learnings she got from the Conti sisters: “Ang dami kong natutunan sa kanila, lalo kay ma’am Carole. Natuto ako na dapat mag sorting ka ng supply. Talagang kailangan strict sa quality, tapos sa size.”
She also praises the Conti sisters for how they value their partners. They have never been about just selling products. They also take care of the people who work with them and make sure everyone feels happy and comfortable when they’re with Conti’s, like they are at home.
“Ang isa pang maganda sa kanila, is kapag nag oopen sila ng bagong stores, iniinvite pa rin nila ako. Tapos kahit saan kami magkita nila ma’am Carole, Angie, at Cecille, talagang kukumustahin ka nila. Iba yung pakikiharap nila, Accommodating talaga sila kahit saan kami magkita,” she adds.
Another supplier, Lofrie, has exactly the same thing to say about the Conti sisters: “Sobrang bait po nila. ‘Di ka dededmahin. Nakikipagkwentuhan talaga.”
Her own enterprise has been a Conti’s partner for 15 years now. In the beginning it supplied mainly prawns but has since expanded to other seafoods including squid, tilapia, and bangus. She has likewise been able to grow her assets through the partnership with Conti’s. Among those assets are her family’s own home and car.
“Bago po ako mag supply sa Conti’s, nangungupahan lang po kami,” she notes. “Lumaki din ang negosyo nung magsimula kami mag-deliver sa Conti’s.”
Among her key learnings is to put a premium on the quality of the products and punctuality in delivering them. Having built this good reputation has helped the enterprise gain more clients through the years.
That’s been one of the secrets to their success and longevity, something that they actually prayed for in the early part of the relationship with Conti’s: “Pinag pray din namin na sana tumagal din po ‘yung Conti’s para tumagal din kami.”
That prayer wish has clearly been granted. And it’s one of the things that make the mouthwatering seafood meals of Conti’s like Baked Prawns, Seafood Madrileña, Garlic Squid Adlai, Soy Ginger Shrimp Adlai, Squid Salad, Linguine in Pesto Sauce with Seafood, and Pasta con Gambas even more special.