Zenaida Gutierrez shifted to selling feeds from raising hogs for four years when her family moved to a subdivision. For a while she was taking care of the piggery, the feeds store, and her three children until she had to drop the hog raising altogether when they had to move. Several loans from micro-finance banks allowed her to establish and grow her feeds and grains business.
Raising pigs was first a sideline for Gutierrez, who was working as a marketing manager for jeans manufacturer Blu Tab. In 2002 her husband asked her to quit her job so she could devote her time and attention to their three kids. To ensure that she would always have feeds in stock for her hogs, and to augment her income from it, she put up Manzen Poultry Supply in their hometown in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija using her P20,000 in separation pay as capital.
Gutierrez started the store with 10 sacks of different hog and poultry feeds. She saved a lot on transportation costs because she did not have to go to the city often to buy feeds for her pigs. The store doing brisk business also encouraged her a lot; in fact she got her money back in two months while tripling her stocks. She also started retailing rice. At the start Gutierrez juggled her time between taking care of the business and her family. Her work was eased somewhat when her brother started living with them to help her out. She stopped raising pigs when they moved to the subdivision where neighbors would be bothered by the stench.
No sooner than Gutierrez stopped her hog raising business that more San Leonardo residents started their own, financed by loans given away by the Kabalikat Rural Bank. This meant a bigger market for Gutierrez’s feeds store.
But pork prices plummeted in 2004, forcing many piggery closures. Although this turn of event did not do much harm on Gutierrez’s business, she decided to try taking out a loan from the Producers Rural Bank to allow her to retail other items. “Hindi ko naman ganun kailangan mag-loan,” she says. Nevertheless she used the P20,000 she borrowed to stock up on grocery items because most of her customers had kids tagging along, asking for goodies. She didn’t make much from the grocery end of the business, but she liked to keep up the traffic in her feeds store.