As J.C. Tenorio Enterprises marks its 63rd anniversary, the family-owned company pays tribute to its hardworking personnel whose dedication and commitment have become an integral part of the history of its chain of stores on Saipan.
J.C. Tenorio Enterprises recently held a special gathering for its longest serving employees to recognize their contributions to the stores' successes. Here is a glimpse of some of these employees' thoughts on being a part of the Joeten family through the years.
A native of Lanao Del Norte province in the southern Philippines, Sherlie Cruz arrived on Saipan to start what would be her first overseas job assignment.
Cruz, who is employed by J.C. Tenorio Enterprises as a stock controller, has been with the company for the last 22 years and vividly recalls when she first set foot on island back on Jan. 8, 1990.
“Actually, I was just going to try to gain experience here on Saipan through the Joeten Store,” said Cruz, whose last employment in the Philippines was with a clothing export and import business.
“I started helping out with merchandising and stocking in the Susupe branch and the mini-mart, which they used to have. When I came here, I thought it was very nice that they welcomed me. Now I'm hoping that this would be my last job,” she added.
Cruz said that as an employer, J.C. Tenorio Enterprises fully trusts its staff “and trust is something I value and give back to them.”
“What's more, because they trust you, they don't pass judgment on their staff based on hearsay. They listen to you and they observe you and I really like that about them,” she said.
Besides her own husband and two children, Cruz said J.C. Tenorio Enterprises is her second family.
“There's teamwork and unity among everyone, so this is one family I wouldn't trade for the world,” said Cruz.
Deo Manese, who has been with J.C. Tenorio Enterprises for over two decades, has worked his way up the ladder to achieve what he has become with the company.
“As the assistant comptroller, I face challenges at work on a daily basis that you wouldn't realize the time that has passed by. You wake up one day and you realize that you've been with the company for 22 years,” he said.
While all businesses have their own ups and downs, the greatest challenge at J.C. Tenorio Enterprises was to find accountants since the staff turnover in their department was high, according to Manese. Some would leave for greener pasture while others would exit to attend to family matters.
“For me, it's not always about the money,” said Manese. “If you give a hundred percent of your time and energy to your job, then your employer will make sure to give it back.”
Manese revealed, though, that he did try to leave the company twice, only because he thought he wasn't competent enough for the job.
“But I had to come back because I realized they needed and trust me,” he said. “If you are an accountant, there is a certain element of trust and loyalty looked for in this job. With J.C. Tenorio Enterprises, you feel you're a member of the family so things can never go wrong.”
It was also through the company that he met his wife, Eloisa, who now works as the chief accountant and office manager for Ace Hardware, an affiliate.
“I feel very proud of being a member of the Joeten family. The name itself bears significance in the CNMI. Everybody knows that J.C. Tenorio is a pioneering company in the islands,” said Manese.
Although the economic difficulties also have had an impact on such a prominent name, Manese maintains that the company will endure the tough times and emerge stronger than ever with the support of the community.
“This economic situation will turn around one way or another and I believe Joeten will be there to see that happen. It will remain successful in the years ahead,” he added.
Susupe market manager
When Darlene Macaranas started out with J.C. Tenorio Enterprises, she was only a 16-year-old high school student who wanted to work during summer break.
“The opportunity was there. I was hired to do the store's inventory. I climbed up my way and became a cashier, then supervisor, and now I am the manager for Susupe market and Aiko's,” she said.
“Working for this locally and family-owned store was different back then,” Macaranas recounted. “We were the first big store so it was busy all the time. Times have changed and through the years, the company expanded to serve more customers.”
As market manager, Macarans' favorite part of her job is getting to know the customers, especially those who are regulars at their store. “Since they frequent us, we already know what they like and what they look for. They come to me for special requests and orders and we give them that.”
She noted that the company's excellent customer service and community involvement have earned them the respect of the public. “We always strive to meet their needs.”
Macaranas, who has been with the company for over 40 of its 63 years, described her employment with Joeten as “very exciting and meaningful.”
“I believe our 63rd anniversary is very special and as we celebrate this, we want to thank our customers for their patronage. I hope that we can serve them better in the years ahead so they'll keep coming back again and again,” she added.