KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 - While times have been bleak this past year, it has also pushed people to think outside the box and bring out the best in themselves.
In order to make a living and provide for their families. Malaysians have resorted to various ways to stay afloat.
Some with businesses have managed to survive and thrive despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is in part due to the increased spotlight on local brands and initiatives by certain co-orporations in supporting local products.
Among these corporations that have always supported local businesses even prior to the pandemic is Petronas Dagangan Berhad (PDB).
PDB has done this through its Local Entrepreneurship Programme as part of its sustainability agenda.
The programme has been ongoing for the past 25 years, resulting in PDB having over 350 local vendors supplying its Kedai Mesra nationwide.
The vendors offer a variety of locally produced F&B items including kerepek, bakery products, juice, as well as local staples such as nasi lemak and fried noodles.
Malay Mail looks at some of the businesses who are managing to make things work in the times of Covid-19.
When the hot weather hits, people normally rush to have a cold drink.
Or simply treat themselves to an ice cream. Or a popsicle.
With Pops Malaya, one can have their sweet popsicle minus the guilt as it meant to be a healthier option.
The popsicles are made from fresh fruits and natural ingredients with no added fillers, preservatives, artificial flavours or food colourings.
Entrepreneur and co-founder Rose Yasmin Abdul Karim joined the PDB programme in 2016 and in 2019, Pops Malaya was featured as one of the local brands for the Kempen Beli Barangan Malaysia, jointly organised by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and PDB.
This helped to strengthen its brand presence and from just over 30 Kedai Mesra, the popsicles are available at over 790 Kedai Mesra nationwide.
To support its expansion plan, Rose Yasmin and her partner Zuraini Zulkifli invented the freeze to eat concept.
This allows their popsicles to be stored on shelf at room temperature thus reducing investment in costly freezers.
It took them six months of research, trial and error to create the perfect formulation, positioning the brand as the first in Malaysia to offer such a unique and convenient way of ice-cream consumption.
“When we kicked off our expansion in 2020, our growth was immediately stunted by the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns,” said Rose Yasmin.
“It was a challenging period and sales were slow.”
She added that they were fortunate to have benefitted from PDB’s digital merchandising system during this time, which 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,” she said.
Antara Terbaik (AT)
Nothing beats a good durian. Or a good dessert with durian as an ingredient.
That is what AT has to offer with its Durian Crepe, made from D24 durian flesh.
The product is sold at hypermarkets and convenience stores including Petronas Kedai Mesra.
Its founder Abdul Razak Osman and his wife Nur Hidayu Hilmi are grateful that AT has managed to register exponential sales growth even during the pandemic.
“Initially, my business was affected, especially my placement in supermarkets as less people frequented malls,” he said.
“All except for Kedai Mesra, which showed signs of growth. I must say that Kedai Mesra was my silver lining, enabling me to expand my business to where it is today despite the challenging time.”
Razak and his wife joined PDB as one of its Kedai Mesra suppliers in January 2021.
Beginning with just 30 Kedai Mesra, they have expanded the business to over 300 Kedai Mesra nationwide and are exporting to Brunei as well.
Snacks are a quick fix when the cravings hit.
With the multiple types of snacks in the market, competition can be stiff.
And Pop Chiz has managed to maintain its business having entered the local petrol mart business in October 2020.
Edyfaizullah Jamil has grown the business to over 400 Kedai Mesra to date.
The addictive snack is made from popiah skin and comes in four unique flavours, Baba Nyonya Salted Egg, Burito Tomato, Curry Mamak and Rasa Cheese Lebih Padu.
“Business has improved tremendously since joining Kedai Mesra and our brand is also widely known now thanks to Petronas’ extensive network of stations,” he said.
“We plan to expand nationwide by 2022 and to introduce more varieties in the near future.”
Petronas AutoExpert Dream Car Performance Garage
After working for 14 years with Mercedes as an after sales manager, Tan Chee Kit decided it was time to try to have his own business.
Consequently, he opened his own workshop when he chanced upon the offer by Petronas AutoExpert.
Through the partnership, Tan’s workshop can leverage Petronas’ branding and its lubricants while enjoying an all round solutions scheme including, marketing support, effective trade programs and consultancy for future business development.
“Coming from Mercedes and having honed my skills in Germany, nothing matters more to me than professionalism, quality and standards,” said Tan.
He added that working with a reputable brand like Petronas was a strategic decision so he could position his workshop as one that is benchmarked by international standards offering quality products supplied by Petronas Lubricants.
Located in Puchong, Petronas AutoExpert Dream Car Performance Garage boasts a 7,000 sq ft workshop with eight working bays that offers one stop centre service including repair, service, diagnosis, and bodyworks.
Its expertise lies in servicing continental performance cars.
“I started the workshop right before the first MCO was announced. Imagine starting a business at a time when economic activities were at a standstill,” he said.
“I’m fortunate to have been able to sustain for the past one year and eight months. Now that we are back in business, I just hope that things will improve from here on.”
Though the road to recovery may be long, PDB sees reasons for hope and continues to instill pride amongst Malaysians.
It seeks out the country's pool of talents and capabilities and aims to empower them, all in the spirit of togetherness in rebuilding the nation.
PDB’s Love Local Campaign hopes to create greater awareness of the many local brands that have quality offerings comparable to those of global brands.
The campaign also echoes the Government’s call to rally Malaysians to support and buy local products to stimulate domestic consumption in line with the “Kempen Beli Barangan Malaysia”.
To find out more about the Love Local Campaign promotion or interested in becoming one of PDB’s local vendors/suppliers, visit www.mymesra.com.my.