By Gabriela Baron
Famed student hangout spot Amo Yamie Crib (AYC) announced that it is closing down all its three branches in España, Anonas, and Katipunan.
Owner Bethel Anne Dizon Nacpil said the cafe is now “signing off.”
“Some tears just want to come out of my eyes too. But I’ve cried about AYC for too long, that right now, even my tears are already tired of coming out. Tears of failure, tears of anxiety, tears of regret but most importantly, countless tears of joy and victory too,” Nacpil wrote on Facebook.
“I am who I am now as a person and as an entrepreneur because of AYC,” she added.
Nacpil recalled how the popular university belt spot started.
“My husband, who was my boyfriend then, and my family started AYC from scratch. No one of us ever knew how to start, run, and operate a business,” Nacpil said.
The owner shared how the prolonged enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ) took a toll on their business.
“We badly wanted to keep going, but being an SME (small market enterprise) and a start-up company, we don’t have enough funds to continue paying for P100k worth of rent every month. Within 3 months of quarantine, we have a balance or a debt of P900,000+ for 3 branches, all of which have no sales for 3 months because of the ECQ/GCQ. That is just about rent. Not to mention other fixed costs and amortizations,” she added.
A huge part of students’ lives
Meanwhile, former students who frequented the cafe looked back on how Amo Yamie Crib became a part of their college lives.
“Malungkot na magsasara na sila (It’s sad that they will close), dahil (because) it has been [a] part of our college life, kumbaga (it’s our) cozy place natin, na afford natin nung mga student pa lang tayo (that we could afford when we were students),” Vetina Gonzales told Manila Bulletin.
Pauline Saberola shared how it became her comfort place to ease a heartbreak.
“Naalala ko yung time na umamin ako sa TOTGA (the one that got away) ko and nag-cut pa kami ng class para lang pumunta sa Amo Yamie and makahingi ng lakas ng loob sa mga friend ko bago umamin. Sobrang sarap ng milkshakes nila kahit na may nararamdaman akong pait sa puso noon, (I remember the time when I confessed to my TOTGA, I cut class and went to Amo Yamie to gain confidence through my friends. Their milkshares tasted delicious even though my heart was bitter),” Saberola said.
“Dito ko rin dinala si (This is where I also brought my) [first] boyfriend ko ang (when we) celebrated our Valentines date,” she added.
Kayla Ramos said she will miss the memories she shared with friends over frappe and nachos.
“Amo Yamie used to be our ultimate tambayan way back in college. We usually hang out there after class,” Ramos shared.
Sherylyn Reyes, a law student, said she also felt sad for the workers who will lose their jobs.
“Actually nakakalungkot nga nung nabasa ko ‘yung post nung owner. [Nakakalungkot] lang di lang para sa owners at workers, kung di para rin sa [ating] may memories dun (Actually, I felt sad when I read the owner’s post. It’s sad not only for the owners and workers, but also for us who had memories there),” she added.
Unsustainable during COVID crisis
Nacpil said if their branches remain closed for the next seven months with no revenue, there will be another P2.1 million added to their debt.
Even when all community quarantines get lifted, Nacpil said that they won’t be having customers for the next school year because schools have shifted to online classes.
“Our target customers are students studying in nearby schools where our stores are located… Without them, we have no customers to serve,” she said.
“The AYC chapter of my life, my first brand, my baby, my mentor, my source of joy, and fulfillment, has come to an end,” Nacpil added.