Company History

Founded in 1994, Gramans Group started as an apparel trading company and then later developed into a leading importer which supplied fashion merchandise and gift premium items to department stores nationwide. Gramans was derived from the names of its owners, the husband and wife team, Grace Gamboa Palaganas and Manuel Palaganas.

Today, Gramans Group is comprised of five major companies, which deal with retail, wholesale, logistics, and real estate. The retail group is handled by Gregan 101 Corporation which currently has several boutiques and concession stores nationwide. GSS Manko Corporation, another company of the group, supplies goods to Robinson’s Department Stores while Gramans Fashion Inc. handles wholesale business. 101 New York Logistics operates the forwarding and brokerage of goods from all over the world to the Philippines.

 

BEGINNINGS

Motivated by the wisdom of the old, pedigreed by entrepreneurial ancestors, I trace my beginnings to the early 90s, when my founders were both gainfully employed, who thought it best to augment their income by engaging in a buy and sell business.

My first customers were the founders’ officemates. And since the goods were paid on installment, it came to a point when money wasn’t coming in on time and the funds needed to sustain it started to diminish.

 

THE TUTUBAN YEARS

It wasn’t long after when my founders decided to formalize the business by putting up my first 30 sq.m. store in Tutuban – a former train station that was converted into a mall.

The Tutuban years yielded a lot of valuable business lessons that served the founders well in later years: about what sells and how much to price them; from responding to changes in the marketplace, to earning the trust of suppliers and partners.

 

THE DEPARTMENT STORE YEARS

Recognizing my capability to supply department stores with their needs, in 1996, one of my founders decided to focus full time on the business and began to engage with Landmark. Through sheer hard work, and providing them with the right quality product, at the right price, and on-time delivery, I soon became a preferred supplier, and so began to grow.

It was this track record that allowed me to penetrate in 1998 two of the largest department store chains in the country. (A year earlier, my founders decided to close my Tutuban outlet.)

The business, despite the financial crisis of the late 90s, continued to thrive. Credit my founders for a business practice that ensured my survival: a punishing 24/7 schedule, diligent fiscal management, paying suppliers on time and, for my founders, delayed gratification knowing fully well that all this will pay off in the future.

 

RESPONDING TO A CLIENT’S CALL FOR HELP

Around 2005, one of my clients sought my help in bringing in branded goods from Europe. At that time, I did not have the infrastructure needed to facilitate this. I only had their trust and their belief in my ability to deliver.

I responded to the call. It was a move that translated to more growth. It was a period that saw me bringing in an A-List of branded fashion products. I became a preferred Logistics solutions company.

 

THE MULTI-FACETED YEARS

In 2007, my founders saw another opportunity to expand the business. This time, I was not just a supplier but a marketer of foreign fashion brands.

One after another, I started bringing in brands that catered to different segments of the market. This while maintaining my business relationship as a supplier to different department stores, and as a logistics forwarding company for them.

 

A TEST OF PARTNERSHIP

In 2008, I suffered a major setback that cost my founders millions of pesos, and more importantly, the loss of trust of a client. It was an incident that tested the strength of partnership of my founders.

More importantly, it was a testament to their resiliency. To bounce back from this and learn from it. To move forward and not lose sight of what lay ahead.

 

PROLOGUE

It has been 10 years since, and today, I continue to tread new paths. The brands I carry are well-known, albeit niche brands. While
I have not yet fully established myself as a major player, I know that in time, I will be one and will be seen by my peers as one.

Just like my other businesses that continue to thrive, and have earned preferred supplier status. Profitable ventures that have provided me with the much-needed fuel for growth and sustenance.

I represent what an enterprise is all about: the “spirit of daring” and the “willingness to undertake challenges.”

I am humbled by my beginnings, and the setbacks that have provided me with valuable business lessons.

I take pride in my fiscal management abilities.

I deal with my clients, suppliers, and my people fairly and honestly.

I believe that hard work never killed a man.

I believe in strong partnerships. I am resilient. I am strong. I am forward-looking. I am Gramans Group and this is my story.