By PETER ESILA
ANDO Steven, 62, has been selling ice cream for the last 30 years in Port Moresby.
Ando says in the ice cream business, when the sun is hot, when there are no winds, that is the golden ticket for ice cream vendors.
He sells at the Koki Fish market every day.
Ando from Jiwaka used to work at one of the social clubs as a bar tender at the old Panguna mine in Bougainville in the 80s and 90s before the crisis.
Due to the crisis, he came to Port Moresby and didn’t want to find another job but spent all his earnings from Bougainville until he decided to sell ice cream.
The single father of a grown up son is glad to be back on the streets after the Covid-19 lockdown period.
He used to sell in a homemade wooden freezer all these years until just last year when he got a visit from James Rice, the chief executive officer of Paradise Foods Limited which owns ice cream manufacturer, Laga Industries.
Rice who was appointed last year, saw Ando selling ice cream and offered him a new freezer and merchandise.
Rice said one of the biggest points of distribution was through SMEs and the informal sector.
“I sent him an umbrella, shirts and a hat after the lockdown; he probably doesn’t know that I did that, I did not have to go.
“I told my sales team that he was my wantok so they needed to go check him.”
Rice said Laga Industries produces an average of 34,000 litres of ice-cream a day at its Lae factory.
“From our Lae factory, we are able to supply the whole nation with quality 100 per cent PNG made ice cream,
“Ice cream sales for our trolley vendors came to a complete stop (during the Covid-19 lockdown). For them, the sales they make help them provide for their families and make a living.
“Thankfully we’re getting back to our normal operations,
“It is great to see our vendors are now out and about, and are able to start generating some income again.
Rice said said in a day a Gala vendor could sell up to two 16-litre cartons of ice-cream. This would generate sales of K200 at a 50 per cent profit.
“We are also trialing product expansion with our vendors to allow them to sell Queen Emma chocolate for additional income.”
“Our trolley vendors are free to roam the city wherever they find people and families gathering. We have vendors around the major markets across Port Moresby including Gordon Market, Koki Fish Market, Koki Market, Waigani Market, and 4-Mile Boroko.”
“To assist them, we have pioneered an ice cream trolley programme to give more opportunities for our people to work with us,
“These are independent operators who work on a free franchise-style model.”
Currently there are 28 Gala branded ice cream trolley vendors throughout the nation’s capital. The trolley vendor programme was initiated to provide an opportunity for our people to own and operate their own businesses, Rice said.
“Through this we are able to support these vendors via multiple avenues, from cart maintenance and repairs, operational equipment and most importantly sales incentives to help their businesses grow. We even include shirts, hats and umbrellas to help them promote their small business.”
By PETER ESILA