Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thanks to You, We're in the News!

After only two months, Cafe Antonio - Los Baños is already in the news! We were featured in yesterday's SundayBiz (page B3) section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. We would like to thank our family, friends, and customers for making Cafe Antonio what it is today, imagine what could happen after a year or a few years. Truly, without God's grace and favor the cafe would not be this successful at a very early stage of the business. Thank you Lord!

We would also like to thank the author of the article, Ate Niña, for choosing the cafe to be the subject of her article.

Fresh grads turn to brewing in Los Baños
By Niña Catherine Calleja

Southern Luzon Bureau

First Posted 20:33:00 07/05/2008

LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA -- Believing that capital is not a hindrance for those geared towards entrepreneurship, three graduates of the University of the Philippines (UP) here chose to run their own business instead of finding high-paying jobs.
Nica Argañoza, 22, Jabez Flores, 21, and Joyce Hernandez, 21, were classmates at the UP Rural High School in Los Baños.

After high school, the three parted ways not knowing they would again meet and become co-owners of a coffee shop.

Argañoza took a course on hotel, restaurant and institution management at UP Diliman and graduated cum laude, Flores is a sociology major at UP Los Baños, and Hernandez took BS Nutrition at UPLB as well and is now a licensed nutritionist.

Now, the Los Baños branch of Café Antonio, with original branch in Dumaguete City, is a favorite hangout place of UPLB students and professors searching for desirable coffee and food after classes.

Located less than 100 meters from the UP main gate, it has become accessible to members of the UPLB community.

Running for two months now, Café Antonio-Los Baños offers different blends of coffee, pasta, sandwich and pastries.

Lucky jobless
“It seemed time had conspired for us to meet,” Argañoza says.
In September 2007, Argañoza resigned from her five-month work as a catering officer in an international coffee company in Ortigas while Hernandez was about to find work after the results of their board exam were released. Flores was giving so much of his time in studying coffee business and being a “barista.”

A barista is a person trained in preparation of various coffee drinks.

It was Flores who was enthusiastic in putting up his own coffee shop, Argañoza says.
“Jabez was craving for it and we were just persuaded. But we eventually liked the thought of having our own business,” she says, noting that after Flores graduated in college, he participated in the Heny Sison Culinary School’s coffee class and the barista workshop at the Highlander Academy of Coffee in Singapore.

While the three had no jobs, a family friend of Flores asked him to help him out in his coffee shop, the Café Antonio in Dumaguete City, owned by a corporation mostly composed of the Piñeros.

“We thought it would be a good idea to help them and also observe how to manage a coffee shop,” Argañoza said.

“But we were confused after our two-month stay in Dumaguete if we would pursue the coffee shop business in Los Baños,” she says.

The would-be owners thought about it for a while and questions like “How can we raise the money needed? Where is the location? How will we do it?” popped up.

Argañoza recalls that while walking along the street near UPLB campus known as Grove, they saw a vacant space, strategic for a coffee shop, a few blocks away from LB Square, one of the favorite spots forUPLB students’ gimmick.

With the owner’s insistence for them to decide within two weeks, the three partners decided to go on with their venture and started raising the needed funds.

The owners had to pay P90,000 for a three-month advance and deposit for the place. They also needed another P300,000 for the renovation, and P200,000 for one espresso machine.

They raised the money by asking their relatives and friends to be shareholders of the Café Antonio Corp. and promised them their investment would soon have yields.

“You should be a risk-taker but the business should be well-planned,” she says. “If you’re resourceful, this will be easier.”Customers’ acceptance

On April 14, Café Antonio opened to the public after renovation was completed and everything needed was in place.

Flores says the community in UPLB accepted them quickly that on their first month, their shop was always crowded during peak hours (4 p.m.- 5p.m.)
People say the design of the shop attracts the customers, others also say they like the taste of the coffee.

Café Antonio’s design was a combination of Spanish and modern style. They put antique-looking windows made of wood and capiz on the walls. The lights are also Hispanic but there are modern touches like the couches, tables and glass door.
Flores says they wanted the shop to be a place of comfort.

“We are getting new regular customers every day. Some of them drink coffee here at least thrice a week,” he says.

He adds that visuals like posters and stickers really matter in the business. “It should be visually appealing.”

Another medium, Flores says, is the Internet. They use Friendster, Blogspot, and Multiply in promoting Café Antonio and as means to get feedbacks from their customers.

Café Antonio also placed a stand for books and magazines to stimulate an educational environment.

According to Argañoza, working as the owner is quite difficult because in established companies every paper work has a format, but in their own business, they have to make their own system.

“At this point in time, we just want to improve what we have and try to give the best service that we can give. Eventually, we will be known by word of mouth,” she says.

Copyright 2008 Southern Luzon Bureau. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Blueberry Cheesecake Blended Cream - Php 140.00 (super creamy non-coffee based drink with real blueberries and crushed Graham crackers).

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