Decanos Coffee: Loreto Decano Jr.’s dedication to pursue the family business

Decanos Coffee: Loreto Decano Jr.’s dedication to pursuing the family business

As a child, Loreto Decano Jr. enjoyed spending time at his family's coffee area in the public market. Little did he know that his early exposure to coffee would inspire him to continue his family's business. He helps innovate to keep up with modern trends in the coffee industry.

The Decano family, led by their father, Loreto Decano Sr., began their coffee business in the 1960s. Their initial experimentation involved using large kawali to roast coffee beans. They employed traditional grinders and sold their coffee in Tacurong's public market. Their initial customers were the Moros, and they subsequently expanded their market. The family sold their coffee intermittently.

Decano holds a degree in nursing but chose to pursue his family's coffee business. After graduating and taking his nursing oath, he dedicated time to researching coffee and studying the business.

"I find joy in coffee. I choose to follow my passion," he said.

Decano faced challenges in pursuing his passion for coffee. One of these challenges was the hindrance of his family. He had to make difficult business decisions, but at that time, these decisions depended on his parents' approval.

At that time, Decano’s parents did not fully trust him to make business decisions because he had not yet proven himself to them or the business. This made it hard for him to fully pursue his vision for the business.

Decano recalled his family's initial reluctance to change. "The business was working well, so why change it? They thought that I had suddenly entered the picture and wanted to make changes."

Decanos Coffee: Loreto Decano Jr.’s dedication to pursuing the family business

Despite initial challenges, Decano was not discouraged. He conducted research and applied what he learned to improve the business. Eventually, he decided to establish his brand name, Decanos Coffee. The name already had a strong recall among customers who were familiar with their coffee. Decano saw an opportunity to upscale the business and take it to the next level.

"I recognized the need to raise the standard of our coffee. I wanted to level up and expand our market. By improving the quality of our product, we aim to attract a wider customer base and grow the business," he said.

In 2012, Decano began developing new products and rolled them out in 2013. His wife and brother joined him in the coffee business and helped him grow the brand.

To this day, the family still operates their coffee business in the public market of Tacurong City. Their establishment now focuses on selling commercially graded coffee. Decano introduced Specialty Arabica and Fine Robusta to cater to consumers who prefer these varieties.

Decanos Coffee: Loreto Decano Jr.’s dedication to pursuing the family business

Despite facing many trials and errors, Decano remained committed to producing and selling high-quality local coffee. He made significant improvements to various aspects of the business, including branding and marketing. He also ventured into coffee roasting and took his skills to the next level. He completed a coffee roasting training program facilitated by the Coffee Quality Institute.

"There were times when I felt like giving up. But I go back to my 'why' and remained determined. I changed my strategy and realized that the product positioning was not right. I focused on developing high-quality products and marketing them online to young professionals," he said.

Decano’s parents were not aware of the latest trends in the coffee industry. To help their business catch up, he began implementing his ideas. For example, he introduced proper packaging for their commercially graded coffee. At first, this change was not well received by their loyal customers. However, over time, they came to appreciate its importance.

"Our parents saw how hard we were working and decided to support us by lending capital. They could see that we were dedicated and determined to make our business work. Their support gave us the boost we needed to keep pushing forward and striving for success," said Decano.

Decano is always eager to learn more and has attended various trainings provided by different government agencies and NGOs. He also collaborates with different coffee stakeholders in Region 12.

Decanos Coffee: Loreto Decano Jr.’s dedication to pursuing the family business

In 2019, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) began to provide support for his business. For example, he joined DTI’s Kapatid Mentor Me Program and learned many things that helped improve his business.

He also received support from the DTI RAPID Growth Project and entered into a Commercial Partnership Agreement (CPA) with some coffee farmers' associations, including the Masiag Farmers and Coffee Growers Association Inc. from Masiag, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat province.

"We pay a high price for green coffee beans from our farmers. It makes us proud to see how happy they are with the price and how it enables them to buy the things they need. If I hadn't worked hard and persevered, I wouldn't have been able to help the farmers in this way," Decano said.

Decanos Coffee: Loreto Decano Jr.’s dedication to pursuing the family business

He also established himself as the leading supplier of coffee beans to local shops in Tacurong City and the surrounding towns.

"We tailor our approach to each client based on their individual needs. By actively listening and engaging in open communication, we can identify and address any issues that may arise in their market. This allows us to make necessary adjustments and ensure that our clients' needs are always met."

Decano acknowledges that one of the challenges faced by the coffee industry is ensuring a consistent supply of high-quality beans. While the market for specialty coffee in the region is still developing and not all consumers have embraced it yet, there are also concerns about pricing regulations and the potential for exploitation within the industry.

Decano’s Coffee and Roastery strives to provide its customers with the coffee they desire, from commercial to specialty blends. The company hopes to supply large coffee shop brands and establish a strong network within the coffee roasting community. They remain focused on delivering high-quality products to their customers.

Decanos Coffee: Loreto Decano Jr.’s dedication to pursuing the family business

"We envision a future where our brand has expanded nationwide. Our goal is to establish a strong presence in markets across the country and become a household name," said Decano.

"Always remember your 'why'. When you know your 'why', you are unstoppable. An entrepreneur without a reason will become complacent along the way. Without a goal, you will remain stagnant. Having a goal is what motivates you."

Decanos has a vision for the growth and expansion of their business. They are committed to collaborate with stakeholders in the coffee industry and raising awareness about the importance of sustainable practices and fair trade.

"We measure our success by the positive impact we have on the lives of the farmers and coffee suppliers we work with. Our goal is to improve their livelihoods and support sustainable practices within the coffee industry," Decano said.

"We celebrate success every day because we continue to grow. We never give up and remain focused on achieving our goals. It is important to revisit our ‘why’ and remember the reasons that drive us. When you have a dream, you are unstoppable."