Opportunity and optimism.
Two words that described what the opening of La Tabacalera Food Park offers to local entrepreneurs in Ilocos Norte as the province continues to battle with the ongoing pandemic.
Undeniably, businesses are one of the mostly affected sectors at the height of the global health crisis -- forcing owners to close their shops, lay off employees, and go online.
One of the pandemic-hit entrepreneurs, Alexander Rasco, owner of A-Z Cafeteria, shares how their business is affected by the crisis.
“The pandemic has seriously affected our business. When face-to-face classes were halted, we were forced to close our shops since our frequent clients were not allowed to visit us anymore,” Rasco narrated.
He recalled how most students and workers would flock his store to fill their cravings, especially on Korean streetfood.
“Before the pandemic, our business was doing well. Our previous location was near a university and a major hospital. We were doing great and even conducted monthly events,” he added.
For more than a year now in this public health emergency, the provincial government takes forward to recovery slowly, surely, and safely.
This means reinvigorating economy and reviving tourism while prioritizing health for all.
From time to time, pop-up stores and food fairs are launched by the provincial government to aid small business owners get back on their feet again.
“The provincial government had invited us to every event to sell. Our customers in Laoag embraced very well our Korean Street Food concept. Although we were forced to close our coffee shop and restaurant, we were given a chance to introduce a novel food concept in Ilocos Norte,” said Rasco.
With the end goal of uplifting livelihood of Ilokano entrepreneurs, the local government continues to help small businesses, especially those in the food industry, to thrive continually and successfully.
Through the La Tabacalera Food Park, businesses are given a safe home and space.
This restarting of businesses in Ilocos Norte is indeed a major boost of optimism and hope for business owners in this uncertain times. (JCR/AMB/MJTAB PIA Ilocos Norte)