WHILE the prolonged pandemic has had devastating impact on businesses, there are still businesses who have not only survived, but thrived, thanks to the increased spotlight on local brands and initiatives carried out by certain corporations in supporting local products.
Founders of Antara Terbaik (AT), Abdul Razak Osman and his wife Nur Hidayu Hilmi, are among those who count their blessings every day. Made from pure D24 durian flesh, their signature AT Durian Crepe – sold at hypermarkets and convenience stores, including PETRONAS Kedai Mesra – registered exponential sales growth even during the pandemic.
“I must say that Kedai Mesra was my silver lining, enabling me to expand my business to where it is today despite the challenging times,” shared Abdul Razak.
Joining as a PETRONAS Dagangan Bhd (PDB) Kedai Mesra supplier in January 2021, AT has today expanded its business to over 300 Kedai Mesra nationwide and also exports to Brunei.
For the past 25 years, PDB has been supporting the growth of local businesses under its Local Entrepreneurship Programme, as part of its sustainability agenda. To date, PDB has over 350 local vendors supplying to its Kedai Mesra nationwide, offering a variety of locally produced food and beverage items including kerepek, bakery products, juice, as well as local staples such as nasi lemak and fried noodles.
Entrepreneur Rose Yasmin Abdul Karim, the co-founder of Pops Malaya, also shares a similar success story after joining the programme in 2016, growing its presence from over 30 Kedai Mesra to more than 790 nationwide.
A healthier option for popsicles, Pops Malaya was featured as one of the local brands for the Kempen Beli Barangan Malaysia in 2019, jointly organised by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and PDB, which helped to further strengthen its brand presence.
“When we kicked off our expansion in 2020, our growth was immediately stunted by the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns. It was a challenging period and sales were slow.
“We were fortunate to have benefitted from PDB’s digital merchandising system during this time, which has helped to simplify the stocking process. We managed to save resources and time instead of manually going to each station, as everything could be easily monitored digitally, from stocks, orders to deliveries,” Yasmin shared.
Backed by a strong brand
Another hot-selling snack at Kedai Mesra, Pop Chiz, entered the local petrol mart in October 2020, but has already grown its business to over 400 Kedai Mesra.
The brainchild of Edyfaizullah (Edy) Jamil, the addictive snack is made from popiah skin and comes in four unique flavours, including Baba Nyonya Salted Egg, Burito Tomato, Curry Mamak and Rasa Cheese Lebih Padu.
Edy attributes his success to being associated with the PETRONAS brand. “Business has improved tremendously since joining Kedai Mesra and our brand is also widely known now thanks to PETRONAS’ extensive network of stations. We plan to expand nationwide by 2022 and to introduce more varieties in the near future,” he said.
Dream Car Performance Garage owner Tan Chee Kit also stressed on the importance of having strong backing from a reputable brand, especially when starting a new business from scratch amidst intense market competition.
Tan, who was a Mercedes aftersales manager for 14 years, decided to open his own workshop when he chanced upon the offer by PETRONAS AutoExpert, which enables him to leverage PETRONAS branding and its quality lubricants, as well as an all-round solutions scheme including marketing support, effective trade programmes and consultancy for future business development.
“Joining hands with a reputable brand like PETRONAS is a strategic decision I made to position my workshop as one that is benchmarked by international standards offering quality products supplied by PETRONAS Lubricants,” Tan said.
Located in Puchong, the PETRONAS AutoExpert Dream Car Performance Garage boasts a 7,000 sq ft workshop with eight working bays, offering a one-stop centre service including repair, service, diagnosis and bodyworks for continental performance cars.
Though the road to recovery may be long, PDB believes in hope and continues to instill national pride in the country's pool of talents and capabilities, by empowering them in the spirit of togetherness to rebuild the nation.
Its Love Local Campaign, which echoes the Government’s rallying call for Malaysians in line with the Kempen Beli Barangan Malaysia to support and buy local products, hopes to create greater awareness for local brands with quality offerings comparable to those of global brands.
To find out more about the Love Local Campaign promotion, or for those interested in becoming one of PDB’s local suppliers, visit https://www.mymesra.com.my/