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MERZCI – A Praiseworthy Bacolod Business Model

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A Business Model to Emulate | Sa MERZCI #TananManamit!

When Merzci started their bakeshop in 1995–they were not the first. It was simply named Merci because President and CEO Jonathan Manuel T. Lo wanted a French sounding name and a bakery business. So much has happened in between, but 23 years later, Merzci has become a brand to beat in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines.

Merzci - Merzci pasalubong - Bacolod pasalubong - Bacolod City - MassKara Festival - Bacolod eats - Bacolod blogger - travel
The new Merzci plant in Vista Alegre, Mansilingan, Bacolod City — a landmark in itself and a symbol of progress for the company.

The Success of Merzci

What has made Merzci into what it is today? Personally, I believe that it’s the indefatigable leadership of the president. He is bullish in his pursuits as well as stubborn in a good way. When he was still starting, many “well-meaning” individuals advised him with the intention to discourage the line of business that he wanted to pursue because of it was not “unique”.

Merzci - Merzci Pasalubong - Bacolod pasalubong - Bacolod City - MassKara Festival - Bacolod blogger
Merzci President and CEO Jonathan Manuel T. Lo on the cover of the Cebu-based Southwall Magazine.

But he proved everybody wrong. Jonathan did not only make his enterprise successful, but he made it grow rapidly in less than five years, with the brand extending to different industries as well.

At present, Merzci is the name of four strong, inter-related yet individually standing strong businesses. These are:

  1. Merzci Pasalubong
  2. Merzci Bakeshop
  3. Merzci Purified Drinking Water
  4. Merzci Fast Food
Merzci - Merzci Pasalubong - Bacolod pasalubong - Bacolod City - MassKara Festival - Bacolod blogger
The bottled Merzci Purfied Drinking Water is available in all Merzci outlets as well as in supermarkets around the province.

Mind you, these are not unique businesses. These are not entirely new. He already had established and thriving competitors at that time. But Jonathan has proven that with determination and the right strategies, he could expand and also improve these business categories. And he rightfully did with flair, making his brand known throughout the country and giving jobs to almost two thousand people in the Negros island and even in Iloilo.

Merzci - Merzci Pasalubong - Bacolod pasalubong - Bacolod City - MassKara Festival - Bacolod blogger
My personal super favorite is the Merzci ube piaya.

Top 10 Best Facts About Merzci

It’s the end of 2018 now and here are some well-established facts about Merzci.

1. 50+ Branches 

Merzci now has a total of 54 branches with the breakdown, as follows:

  • Negros Occidental – 44
  • Negros Oriental – 3
  • Panay – 7
Merzci - Merzci Pasalubong - Bacolod pasalubong - Bacolod City - MassKara Festival - Bacolod blogger
There is no stopping Jonathan’s dream.

The spirited team behind Merzci, under Jonathan’s leadership, is always on the lookout for viable locations to expand their business. They want to establish presence in every up and coming community in order to take advantage of the growing economic activity in the area.

2. Research and Development

Merzci is not just a fly by night operation. All their businesses and products undergo marketing research and product development. Jonathan insists on hiring only the best people based on their skills and how they can contribute to his vision for the company. He may be strict and exacting, but he does know how to drive people to do their best.

3. Work-Life Balance

Jonathan understands that all work and no play will make his staff dull. He recognizes people’s need for a balanced life of work and recreation so he also strives to give opportunities for his staff to make healthy life choices.

Merzci - Merzci Pasalubong - Bacolod pasalubong - Bacolod City - MassKara Festival - Bacolod blogger
Jonathan recognizes work-life balance. He practices it himself and also tries to provide avenues for his 2000-strong staff to be able to do the same.

4. Strong Workforce

At present, Merzci has close to 2,000 workers in all their outlets, commissary, and Bacolod pasalubong plant. They have anywhere from store clerks, cashiers, bakers, packers, food techs, servers, cake decorators, pastry makers, managers, artists, as well as so many drivers, among others. Merzci employs everyone from top level management to rank and file. They have blessed so many families around the province with a reliable, steady, and fair source of income.

5. Continuous Learning

Merzci has set up their Learning Department. This department solely exists in order to coach people about continuous life and professional growth. Additionally, many employees also undergo training outside of the company when opportunities arise.

6. Dynamic Local Store Marketing

One of Merzci’s pride is their dynamic, creative, and organized local store marketing team. These are experienced professionals who work together to create and carry out the marketing plans of the company.

7. Aggressive Sales Department

Meanwhile, Merzci also has an aggressive sales force that caters to the requirements of the dealers, wholesalers, supermarkets, and special accounts around the country. They cover all the products carried by the Merzci brand.

8. Brand Strengthening Strategies

Merzci stays relevant to the times, using different media to strengthen its brand. They combine the force of traditional and online media, advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as PR efforts in order to cement their position in the local and national market.

If there is one lesson that we can glean from the Merzci story, that is to check our brand against the DTI and IPO list of business names because we will never know where our business will take us.

Merzci - Merzci Pasalubong - Bacolod pasalubong - Bacolod City - MassKara Festival - Bacolod blogger
Brand transitioning — Merci packaging and Merzci plastic bag.

Their Biggest Challenge

Perhaps the greatest challenge that Merzci had to face in its entire existence was having to re-brand. From Merci, they became Merzci a few years ago because of intellectual property problems. For a business, that’s one of the biggest hurdles you need to overcome in order to survive.

Merzci - Merzci Pasalubong - Bacolod pasalubong - Bacolod City - MassKara Festival - Bacolod blogger
One of the bestsellers at Merzci Pasalubong is their biscocho. It was tough re-branding but they managed to pull it off with flying colors.

Nevertheless, the company pursued and applied the necessary techniques to redeem itself. They even had to change their website name. But despite the setback, the name change made people talk about them more. The media and bloggers were abuzz with the news. It seems that the challenge became a blessing in disguise as Merzci became more popular.

9. Corporate Growth

Jonathan does not rest on his laurels. He continues to find ways to innovate and expand. He also finds the right people to work with him. This year, they opened the new Merzci pasalubong plant in Vista Alegre, Murcia. It’s a 4,000 square-meter facility that is dedicated to their food production. It is HACCP-ready and has facilities for educational and group tours.

In the near future, Merzci is also going to open Piaya Land — a Bacolod-owned theme park on a 1.5 hectare lot area.

10. Corporate Social Responsibility

As a firm believer of Jesus, Jonathan exercises his faith in good works. He is one of the most generous employers I have ever met. He also uses Merzci to help out the city government of Bacolod, movements, advocacy campaigns, churches, charity organizations, schools, and pretty much everything in between, whether in cash or in kind.

Moreover, he carries the banner of Bacolod tourism using their signature and bold hues of red and yellow, helping out in whatever way the company can in order to promote Bacolod City to the world.

Merzci - Merzci Pasalubong - Bacolod pasalubong - Bacolod City - MassKara Festival - Bacolod blogger
Merzci was also the first Bacolod pasalubong company to introduce the Merzci tour bus. It’s for rent to anyone who wants to tour the province of Negros Occidental in a comfortable air-conditioned bus.

And I believe, Jonathan is just reaping a harvest from what he has sown. He just keeps getting a bountiful harvest after harvest because he has also sown aplenty.

A Model Business

Merzci is indeed a model Bacolod business that is worthy to emulate. It has a holistic company approach to every aspect of their business, including the community. Jonathan shows us that you can effectively balance business with faith, family, and life in general and still look good at the end of the day. A balanced life of excellence in all aspects is what success is about and what matters the most.

Some Merzci Pasalubong Products

Read more about the different Bacolod Pasalubong products from Merzci. In all these, they strive to produce only the best ones and live up to their slogan #TananManamit (Everything’s good!)

Merzci - Merzci Pasalubong - Bacolod pasalubong - Bacolod City - MassKara Festival - Bacolod blogger
If you haven’t yet, try the #Merzci napoleones. Truly good and very affordable, too. Available in boxes of 6 and 12.

Click on the product name below to read more about your favorite Bacolod pasalubong by Merzci:

Merzci Online

Find Merzci the brand online:

43 thoughts on “MERZCI – A Praiseworthy Bacolod Business Model

  1. Whenever I have visitors here in the City, I always recommend them to buy Bacolod pasalubong from Merczi! Because indeed, sa Merczi,
    #tananmanamit! This is a great write up! Thank you Miss Sigrid for sharing and for contributing for the betterment of tourism in our city, Bacolod! It’s #BoomingBacolod

  2. I know Mr. Lo since we came from the same high school and church. Also, his brother happens to be my classmate since kindergarten all the way to high school. Indeed, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The father has left a legacy of business-mindedness and being aggressive in it, to his three sons. But most of all, if I have one lasting impression about the Lo family, it is their generosity and their advocacy for quality education. They are generous to those who are in need. At the same time, their support for the school that I grew up in is unmatched.

    I have seen Merzci grow in leaps and bounds. Being a businessman myself, I have always been inspired by and have looked up to Mr. Lo as someone to emulate. And I also want to pattern my practices in business to his. How I wish I have the same zeal and talent as he, though. Not to mention the resources he has that I don’t. Hahaha….

  3. This sounds like such a great business, and one to really admire! I like that Merzci keeps their corporate values firmly in place.

  4. truly a business model worth emulating. its success speaks for itself. it truly has become an institution in bacolod city, and soon across the archipelago. in just a span of a few years, it has grown to become a household name to bacoleños and fellow filipinos.

  5. Their products look so mouth watering! I am glad to know about such a business that values their employees. That seems to be a rarity nowadays. I hope more businesses would follow suit and be like Merczi!

  6. And here I thought it was named “Merci” because of it’s owners name ☺️.
    Very Informative Blog Ms Sigrid
    #bacolodblogger #proudblogger

  7. Thanks for sharing about Merzci. It’s nice to learn about the background or history of a business you are patronizing. Gives one a better appreciation and perspective.

  8. I’m happy to know that there is a good business in your city that is for the benefit of the people. I’m for supporting businesses that looks to create more job opportunities for the community. Keep up the great work, Merzci!

  9. Merzci Pasalubong products look really amazing and I would love to take a bite myself. The best part is that as a business, Merzci really makes sure that the employees are benefited. So amazing for a boss to do that.

  10. This sounds so interesting. I’ve read the comments and notice many people are recommending Merzci pasalubong products when other people come to town. What a great business model!

  11. It’s so awesome to see an in depth case study or analysis of a business like this! Wonderful attention to detail! I think we can all learn a lot from how Merzci has run and expanded their business!

  12. I haven’t heard of Merzci before this post, not sure if it is in my country, but it sounds like they are a great company and quite successful! Many small to medium enterprises can learn from them so that their business will also grow to become a large-scale operation like Merzci. Awesome progress! And their owner is handsome. Just saying.

  13. Your article is so thorough and indeed, the Merzci business model is something that can inspire many other businesses. You can be a good and kind person and still make your company grow. And oh, I also want to try some of their Merzci pasalubong products. I was salivating when I saw the biscocho with coffee.

  14. It’s good to learn more about the mission and the progress of Merzci. Love what they are doing for their employees. I wonder how they allow their workers to have a work-life balance in detail. That’s very interesting.

  15. It sounds like the CEO of Merzci has had a lot of great ideas and managed to grow his business into so much. Their business model sounds inspiring as well, especially for other similar small businesses.

  16. Its always fun to learn about new business! I love hearing success stories. Merzci is indeed one remarkable story. I can only imagine managing two stores, let alone more than 50! Awesome!

  17. Nice write up of a local business! It’s rare to find information about the hard work and strategies required to grow a successful business from a small venture into a big empire. Merzci is really admirable!

  18. This is so great! Not only is the name Merzci so beautiful but all about them! From the diversity to diligence, I just love it. French names can be so gorgeous. And again, I love that they have an online platform, too. With the rapid technological growth, that’s just mandatory.

  19. Wow I didn’t realize such a big business like this existed in Bacolod. I grew up in Manila but am now living abroad and reading about Merzci is such an encouragement. I love how Mr. Jonathan Lo advised to value relationships over transaction deals.

  20. Wow, these are awesome business tips from Merzci! I will certainly apply them to my own business. Thank you from posting ~ from a small business trying to be greater than…

  21. This is great information that most of us would never know if not for business feature articles like this. My daughter is in business and would love to be an entrepreneur. I will share this post with her. She will learn a thing or two from Merzci and its owner.

  22. It’s great to hear another successful brand come alive in the F& B market. Merzci seems to have all the ingredients to be a super food brand — the quality is high, the package is eye-catching. I’m sure this brand will go a long way. All the best!

  23. It’s the first time for me to hear about Merzci in the PHilippines… and I’m glad to hear it from you! I’m quite enticed to have some Merzci pasalubongs because they look good in the picture!! And they have a promising CEO in their company!

  24. I like that Mr. Lo Jonathan thinks of the workers and their well-being. Not every boss thinks about that work-life balance, ya know? Good to see he’s one of the ones who cares. And despite being kind, Merzci is still fluorishing, contrary to what other people believe in.

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