When my parents Lucio Sr. and Ederlina Cochanco migrated to Manila in the 1960s, they had nothing but their years of experience as rice traders in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija to live on.
They rented a small office in Binondo, Manila and started with only one staff and barely P100,000 in capital. Mom changed the original name of the company, The Jolly General Merchandise, to Fly Ace Corporation, propelled by her dream to take the business to greater heights (“fly”) and become No. 1 (“ace”).
Our parents immersed us into the business at the onset and taught us the values of prudence, hard work, and treating people like family. My brother Jun, now our company president, handled sales while I answered phone calls from clients and suppliers.
When the Asia’s financial crisis happened in the late 90’s, my four siblings and I buckled down and took charge of every aspect of the business — from logistics, accounting and finance, to marketing and maintaining key trade partnerships. This was how we thrived, in both good and tough times, as a family-owned business. With patience and perseverance, we struggled to break into the market of canned goods and gained the confidence to introduce other house brands such as Doña Elena, Good Life, Jolly Spreads, Jolly Fresh and Jolly Cow.
If there is a secret recipe to Fly Ace’s success, it’s family — but not just the ones we were born with. Here, family extends to all our 250 staff as well. We make sure that all their hard work and dedication are justly rewarded, and that we always look after their needs. We wouldn’t be successful without them.
Having a trusted partner like UCPB enables us to devote more time and focus on our business growth. They also treat us like family, lending a hand whenever we need cash management solutions such as the Corporate Checkwriter. Even if we have so many partner merchants and multiple accounts, we are proud to say that all our checks have cleared in our 45 years as a company, as UCPB is quite vigilant in reminding us to fund our accounts.
This is why we entrust our payroll system with UCPB for easy, efficient, and organized fund management. We have been banking with UCPB for 30 years, a longstanding relationship that began with UCPB Elcano branch in Binondo, Manila. We even invited UCPB to open a branch when we opened our own building the Fly Ace Corporate Center in Pasay City. UCPB not just bore witness to our struggles and triumphs as a company, but, more importantly, they played a part in our success story.
Today, we are the top-selling brand for many consumer goods even as we continue to add new items and look for good partners. When my parents started Fly Ace 45 years ago, my mother’s vision was to “fly” to the top. We must confess that nothing ever comes easy. Challenges exist every given day, both in the family and in business. But by doing things together as a growing ‘family,’ we are confident we will soar to the sky, with our feet still firmly planted on the ground.