Cool Under Pressure: Get to Know the Man Behind Mr. Freeze Tube Ice
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Cool Under Pressure: Get to Know the Man Behind Mr. Freeze Tube Ice

Cool Under Pressure: Get to Know the Man Behind Mr. Freeze Tube Ice

Business & Career | September 2, 2022
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Mr. Freeze Tube Ice founder Gerry Santos shares how he grew the business into the giant that it is today while helping others grow, too!

Gerry Santos has been surrounded by ice since he was 5 years old. “My father started out as an ice distributor,” Gerry shares. “I practically grew up learning about the ice industry.”

Large blocks of ice were taken to his home daily, which he and his father would chip into smaller, more sellable pieces. “We would market to retailers and restaurants,” he continues. “Even after graduating college at San Beda, I continued to work under my father.” But it wasn’t until 13 years later that Gerry decided to branch out on his own and explore other business opportunities.

By 2005, he missed the chill. “I wanted to go back to my roots, which was the ice business.” Hence, Mr. Freeze Tube Ice was born. “On that same year, the first 15-ton Mr. Freeze ice facility was opened in Quezon City. My very first customer was my proud father. And from there, as they say, the rest was history.”

On Building Partnerships With Mr. Freeze Tube Ice

“When you think of ice, you think of us,” his Instagram bio reads. And rightfully so!

Gerry says his company is built upon relationships. “That’s how we grow, and that’s how we’ve succeeded—from small entrepreneurships to large distributors, to business partners. We work with everyone and give everyone a chance to be part of the Mr. Freeze Ice community.”

While the original plan involved catering to malls and restaurants, it shifted in 2012. “I decided to change our business model and focus more on small entrepreneurs, like tricycle ice dealers and sari-sari stores,” Gerry explains, since he believed that this was a great way to provide more jobs to the community and exact change on a smaller scale.

“I first reached out to a community in Malabon City and offered them an opportunity of partnership by selling our product at a good price, which then they would sell with a fair profit to sari-sari stores or carinderias,” he reveals.

Without realizing it, this strategy helped spread word about his business. “With my mission of giving back to the community, I created a livelihood program for them, not knowing that following such business model will make us the leading tube ice manufacturer in the country.”

One significant example he shares is the story of one of his employees, Remy, who used to work as a maid. “Mr. Freeze has believed in her capacity to learn and grow, she is now one of our top area managers.” He’s also been told stories of ice dealers who are now in the process of growing their business—with some going from pedicab drivers to owning fleets of delivery trucks. “It is amazing how our company has helped these people.”

Keeping Cool Under Pressure

Gerry’s endlessly optimistic stance is inherent to him. “As a positive person, I always seek solutions to any problem.” After all, giving up is not in his vocabulary. “Mr. Freeze is what it is today because of the numerous challenges I had to deal with along the way,” Gerry explains. “I always say to learn from your mistakes, and from there you will find solutions.”

But how does Gerry keep sharp? Delegation, he says, is one of the keys to survival. “Every day, I would make sure that I’m always on top of everything in our business, but I always delegate tasks. Luckily, I have my children, Philip and Janina, who help me out in operating Mr. Freeze,” he reveals.

He goes on to add that he feels lucky that his family makes a good team, along with the help of his hardworking employees. “I make sure that I give myself time to enjoy my hobbies of playing tennis, golf, and working out at the gym and primarily investing more time on health than wealth.”

Wise Words from Mr. Freeze Himself

Looking back at his journey, he would advise young entrepreneurs to get a mentor. “Being successful means learning from those who have already achieved their goals. A mentor is an amazing blessing to any entrepreneur.”

As for his own advice, he shares a few in quick succession: “Choose a business that is your passion—running any business takes a lot of your time and effort. To be satisfied with your life is to do work that you truly believe in. Secondly, have a clear vision and desire to create your idea. For me, doing business alongside social responsibility worked for the success of my company.”

His last piece of advice was to not be afraid of taking risks. “Failures will make you stronger. I didn’t regret any of my failures in the past, but what I would regret is if I didn’t even attempt to try. We will never know the outcome of our ideas unless we act on them.”

“As I always say, ‘Success is not about money, success is what you have done and accomplished,’” the Mr. Freeze Tube Ice founder ends.

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Pinky is the President and CEO of Progressive Laboratories, Qualibet Testing Services Corp. and KPP Powers Commodities. A chemist by profession, she is also the President of the Association of the Bureau of Animal Industry Registered Companies and Recognized Testing Laboratories (ABAIL). A humanitarian at heart, Pinky hosts a weekly online show called Grateful Tuesdays. On top of all this, she is also a wife and a mother of two.
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