Mr. Freeze’s new business model cools the metro at night
There is no market too small for entrepreneurs. An untapped market can easily become an emerging center for commerce to those with the eye and acumen for business.
Gerry Santos can vouch for this. His enterprise—Mr. Freeze Purified Tube Ice—grew with the community it had catered with bags and, eventually, truckloads of ice. His “gut feel” for business and pool of partners have helped him expand his one ice plant along the inroads of Blumentritt, Manila, to a franchise with numerous branches nationwide.
Today, Mr. Freeze has patrons from every corner: in sari-sari stores, convenience stores, and malls. Its number is steadily rising, that investors from top local destinations, including Boracay and Baguio, and next wave cities, are reaching out to Santos to invest in ice.
Entrepreneurs from all walks of life, among them tricycle drivers and small-scale distributors, have joined Mr. Freeze’s network of partners. Even then, the need for cold beverage, fresh produce, and refreshing snacks continues to rise and hike up the demand for Mr. Freeze.
It would still take a lifetime to fill up the ice plants of the Philippines,” Santos said. The country’s climate and the public’s thirst for clean, safe ice make Mr. Freeze a sustainable and very attractive investment.
With the right strategy, entrepreneurs can fast-track the growth of their ice business. For Gerry, this meant engaging existing networks of tricycle drivers and wet market suppliers, and getting smart with resources with Meralco Biz Partners’ Peak/Off-Peak Program.
“We started operating at 10 p.m. last July. The Peak/Off-Peak Program contributes significantly to our day-to-day operations. By our estimates from last year, we were able to bring down our energy costs by 10 percent,” said Santos. Under the program, Mr. Freeze enjoys lower energy cost that keeps their prices stable and fully within the reach of their market.
According to Meralco, machine-intensive businesses can generate as much as 37 percent energy cost savings by shifting to POP’s off-peak hours. “Right now, we have industrial plants and construction companies experiencing the game-changing effect of Meralco Biz Partners’ program. These companies are realigning their savings to maintenance and expansion efforts,” said Ma. Cecilia Domingo, senior assistant vice president and head of Meralco Biz Partners.
Gerry confirmed this when he talked about his plans for Mr. Freeze. “We’re investing more into professionalizing our staff. Our people come from diverse backgrounds, and we are slowly capacitating them with technical and soft skills. We have checkers and supervisors who used to be household help and who we are now grooming to become managers.”
The man behind Mr. Freeze shared, “My vision is to see people, all of those invested in Mr. Freeze, to experience progress.”