Bingoy Lorenzana had such a good feeling that his product
would "click" that he named it Soon to be Famous Citrus Farms
Calamansi Concentrate. In late1996,
he perfected his formula and immediately began introducing the product in the
Metro Manila area. Market response
to this new and novel product was overwhelming.
By the middle of 1997, despite the fact that it was being produced in limited quantities, the product had become such a hot item that
several newspaper columnists and celebrities were giving unsolicited
endorsements in their columns and TV shows!
Come Christmas time, Metro Manilans were hunting for this deliciously unique product to enjoy, as well as to give as gifts. Bingoy recalls, "Soon
people were telling me to drop the Soon to be Famous phrase because, they said, the product was famous already. "What he did, however, was change the phrase to Soon to be Famous-ER (now shown as
STBF on the label), saying that the product still had many places to go.
Since inception, people have approached Soon To Be Famous
Enterprises about exporting to the United States; Bingoy and Ning (his wife)
turned them all down. They were very concerned about shelf life and their
ability to meet the additional demand. They were also wary of the complexities
of the U.S. market. Eventually
yielding to "divine providence", STBF began working with South Sea
Trading to launch the product in the U.S. in late 2002. They reengineered
production processes to further enhance quality and extend shelf life. They also
started working earnestly on a new production facility, which will be in
operation soon. The first U.S. shipment arrived in late January.
"To enjoy the real calamansi taste, Filipinos in the
United States used to have to bring Citrus Farms from trips to Manila, or grow a
tree in their backyard," says Rosemarie Abello, co-founder of South Sea
Trading. “Now it is available in their local stores and online.” The product
is currently in over 100 Asian stores and restaurants nation-wide, including
Seafood City, Island Pacific and Tatak Pilipino. Initial response to the product
in the U.S. has been overwhelmingly positive. “Citrus Farms tastes like fresh
calamansi juice” notes Ellen Demaoso of the filipiniana chain Tatak Pilipino.
“It is our #1 product.” With
continued good fortune, STBF Citrus Farms Calamansi Concentrate will soon be
famous in the United States.
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