SMPC throughout the years
Date posted: 02/14/2014

It is always the success stories that get the spotlight.

And rightly so because people want to be regaled by exploits of the winners and the achievers. They seek inspiration from the sweet victories that crown the names of risk takers and trailblazers. Perhaps in the hopes that the path that these brave few have taken may serve as a blueprint for the aspiring many to follow.

This holds true in the world of commerce. As the admirers see the fruits of the entrepreneur's labor they also see the hardships and tests that have become the foundation of many lasting companies. Such is the story of St. Mary' Publishing Corporation.

Founded in 1965 by Vicente C. Catabijan Jr., Saint Mary's Publishing, was named after his wife, Ester St. Maria, who happened to be the fledgling company's first author. Combined with their strong faith in God and devotion to the blessed Virgin Mary as the protector of their business, the then single proprietorship venture thrived. Their teamwork, discipline, and strong work ethic proved to be a winning formula.

Like most mom and pop style businesses, the management style of Mr. Catabijan Jr., was done by gut feel and instinct. Though this worked well for Saint Mary's Publishing at the beginning, the energetic founder saw that he needed to turn his company into a corporation to take it to the next level.

Unfortunately, as Mr. Catabijan Jr. was working to incorporate Saint Mary's Publishing, he fell ill and joined our Creator in 1994. His passing was a heavy blow to the company, especially with all the employees under his care and several projects on the line. Fortunately, his youngest son, Jerry, stepped up to the plate and continued his work.

Under Mr. Jerry Catabijan's stewardship, the now incorporated St. Mary's Publishing Corporation (SMPC) improved its operations, formalized its company culture and turned higher profits. Mr. Jerry's plans for the company was taken from his MBA thesis at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), which proved effective, catapulting SMPC to a 2nd spot on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) industry ranking in 2008.

But of course, the tide of business is never a constant one and Saint Mary's dealt with just as many downs as it had ups. One major event was the natural calamity named Ondoy, which destroyed many of the publishing house's books and assets  Another was a period of financial mismanagement in St. Mary's history which tested their resolve to push forward.

Through faith and perseverance, SMPC prevailed over its difficulties and is on its way to recovery. Major changes were undertaken to improve SMPC's chances of survival such as moving to a new office (from its building in Dapitan, Manila to a smaller yet more corporate space in Ayala, Alabang) and outsourcing more to cut down overhead expenses.

By fostering better relationships with partners and suppliers, Saint Mary's is improving its reputation as a good corporate citizen. By learning from past mistakes and adhering to a solid set of vision, mission, and values, Saint Mary's is writing a new chapter.

The changes meant improvements in SMPC's products. The books now have better designs, which include company mascots and illustrations to make reading more appealing to young students. Sharper editing and new content was introduced lessening the chances of errors. All in all, SMPC raised its standards to bring its books up to world class standards.

President Jerry Catabijan believes that providing better quality products trumps the need to rely on connections and unethical business practices to make a sale. In short, let the books sell themselves.

With the K12 curriculum in effect, Saint Mary's Publishing sees this as a big opportunity to provide students with better learning materials to prepare them for the global economy. At the same time, Mr. Jerry Catabijan is proud to see the company his father began almost 50 years ago mature and develop to the corporation that it is today.

Through many years of grit and determination, Saint Mary's Publishing has weathered the storms that came its way. Never backing down from challenges and always finding a way to improve, the publishing house once run by a husband and wife team has proven itself to be a company of longevity and long-term growth.

Because of that, Saint Mary's Publishing Corporation has earned its day under the spotlight as a story of strength, faith, and success.