Mr. Walter Coroza, registered business owner of Grinter Footwear Manufacturing

LILIW, LAGUNA — Everybody has their own definition of risk. It can be for anything that requires you to take opportunities to achieve your goals but risk is not for everybody. Taking risk requires bravery, guts and the heart to take in everything your actions will throw at you. For entrepreneurs, risk is nothing short of a redundant word; it is a part of the business industry. They welcome, savor, digest and reap its sweet rewards.

Mr. Walter Coroza, registered business owner of Grinter Footwear Manufacturing, is a risk taker born in Liliw, Laguna. A graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Walter took a different path and pursue a career in slipper making. This might seem inevitable when you are born and bred in Liliw where the town is known for shoes and slipper manufacturing that rivals Marikina.

When he was young, his older brother and sisters owned a slipper manufacturing shop and was once the source of their family’s income. He instantly took interest in it and one of the first skills he learned from the shop was to make heels. However, before his slipper making journey even started, he landed his first job in managing a small school canteen in Manila. He then ventured into the world of food supplement networking. Not long after, he left the job and continued to pursue something else.

Being the youngest of eight siblings, he did not take this as an excuse to relax and rely on his older siblings. In 2016, he decided to put up a gym co-partnered with a friend but unfortunately it only lasted a year due to maintenance problems. The same year, his brother’s heel manufacturing shop or Bansuhan (as what locals in Liliw call it) closed as well. He took a calculated risk and re-opened his brother’s shop in 2017 and later named it Grinter Footwear. Using some of his savings and everything he learned from their shop, he started to produce products for selling on his own.

Since then, Walter has been actively participating in programs and services being offered by the Department of Trade and Industry Laguna Provincial Office (DTI Laguna). In 2020, he participated in business coaching sessions facilitated by Negosyo Center Liliw including sessions on basic pricing and costing. Walter was very hands on in his business so he applied everything he learned from the sessions which made a great impact and income for them.

Grinter Footwear Manufacturing

Like any entrepreneurs, he encountered challenges particularly when the Covid-19 pandemic happened. Some of his clients would ghost him, paying half of what they ordered. There had been changing trends especially when Korean designs and products were everywhere. In addition to this, the business was fine but not earning and manufacturing enough products as efficient and as fast as what he planned. With limited operating equipment and one employee helping him, they can only produce one thousand two hundred (1,200) to one thousand five hundred (1,500) pieces of heels per week.

The trials he faced did not stop Walter to continue his business, and instead, he worked harder. In 2021, he was invited by the Business Counselor of DTI Laguna assigned in Negosyo Center Liliw to participate in a consultative meeting that would help micro, small, and medium enterprises like him. DTI Laguna partnered with the Local Government Unit of Liliw for the Shared Service Facility program. Through this program, Walter was able to borrow two (2) bandsaw (an equipment used for cutting wood).

As chance would have it, the equipment was what he needed the most since he cannot afford to purchase one yet. With a few tweaks and turns, he was able to use the machine and doubled the increase in his production capacity.

Today, he can make five thousand (5,000) pairs of heels and two thousand (2,000) pairs of slippers. He was also able to provide more jobs not only to other Liliwenos but also to his relatives as a way of helping the family. From one helper, he now has forty-five (45) people under his employment working harmoniously in his shop. Walter is also selling materials for slipper making and patrons of his products comprised mostly footwear manufacturers from Liliw. As of the moment, he is considering to sell outside his retail trade area and join trade fairs organized by DTI Laguna so that his products and materials could be known more.

“Umpisahan mo ang negosyo, hindi natin malalaman kung para sa atin ba ang negosyo kung susukuan agad. Maraming struggles, challenges pero dapat may pangarap ka para yun ang maging gasolina mo para maabot ang pangarap…kung gusto mo lumaki ang kita dapat dagdagan mo ang effort mo (Start your business, you’ll never know if the business is for you if you give up easily. There are struggles, challenges but use them to achieve your dreams. If you want to earn more, put more effort into it).”

Walter is an example of an entrepreneur that takes chances and believes that when you have the opportunity to do something, you should act on it instantly for it may never come again. As what the saying goes, time and tide wait for no man. ♦

Date of Release: 24 March 2023