Julia Gandionco

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Julia Ramon Gandionco is the founder of Julie's Bakeshop.

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Early life

Born in Cebu, Julie, as she is commonly called, is the middle child in a family of three children. She acquired the responsibility of running the household at the early age of 10, when her brother died and her mother got too sick to even take care of her youngest sister, then a four-month old baby.

Education

Julie did not finish her college education. At eighteen, she worked as a student librarian to support her studies. She was taking up BS Education at San Carlos University in Cebu when she met Rodrigo "Diegs" Gandionco and got married at twenty years old.

Road to success

She first tried her luck in the retail of fresh fruits. She opened a small fruit stand along Gen. Maxilom Avenue in Cebu. Later on, she decided to explore other opportunities.

Julie was exposed to general management and human resources at the Gandiocos' sugar plantation in Leyte. However, this did not give their family enough income, so Diegs joined Pepsi in Bohol. When Julie got pregnant, she moved back to Cebu and put up a sari-sari store (convenience store) and a sewing business. Her sewing business expanded but whenever Diegs would be relocated (to Zamboanga and Ormoc), Julie would go with him with their children, bringing her sewing business along and starting all over again.

When Diegs resigned from Pepsi, they moved back to the sugar plantation in Dumaguete which they left behind when the sugar market dropped along with their livelihood. They decided to go back to Cebu, where Julie started a venture into catering by setting up three canteens with an initial start-up capital of PHP 3,000. She was able to convince PHILCADAN, a rattan factory in Mandaue City, to allow her to become a concessionaire.

Her canteens became popular for the bread that Julie sourced from other bakeshops. One of the bakers suggested that she open a bakeshop instead of ordering from others. She also realized the large demand for bread for the workers' daily breakfast and snacks. Julie then gave up her three canteens and opened the first Julie's Bakeshop in 1981. She was fifty years old. She used her entire life savings of PHP 19,000 and bought second-hand equipment for the bakeshop even when she had zero experience in baking.

Julie's Bakeshop already has 600 branches and outlets nationwide. The company also plans to expand the brand to Indonesia and Vietnam.

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