WHATEVER MAY COME

Panama 2019 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

Escoffery's is a century-long quest to bring consumers the highest-quality affordable products on the market.

Tomás F. Guardia IV
BIOGRAPHY
Tomás F. Guardia IV is the fourth generation CEO of Agencias Escoffery, S.A., a well know Panamanian company that has been in the import and distribution business for over 100 years. He graduated with a bachelor’s in information systems from Georgia Institute of Technology and a global MBA from Thunderbird University. He previously worked as an IT consultant for SAP and as an international sales manager for a Data Center Company. He also sits on the board of multiple companies and advises Panama’s Chamber of Commerce.

You have had a presence in the Panamanian market for 100 years. What does this mean to you and your company?

It makes us proud and reveals our ability to adapt over time. We are not afraid to change with the times and constantly innovate. Escoffery was founded by my great grandfather in 1916. It began as a small distribution company, focused more on veterinary products. In 1982, we started focusing more on food products, especially for supermarkets. When I joined in 2005, we acquired a grains and bean packing plant, and in 2014 we opened our own water bottling plant. We are also constantly going into different channels of distribution. I plan to grow strategically, improve, and lead Escoffery into the future.

What are you working on in terms of products?

Quality mass consumption products are our specialty. Our goal as we expand our product inventory is to find great priced quality foods to offer our customers. We try to bring the best value products to the consumer, avoiding both high-end overpriced items and poor quality products. With this in mind, every time we choose a brand to represent, we go for companies with similar values as us—great quality and value. We are a family-owned business and love to work with other family-owned businesses that share our values and drive for innovation.

How do you plan to expand throughout Panama?

Our distribution channels cover the entire country. We have our own warehouses located in Panama, another near AguaDulce, in central Panama, and one in David, in the western part of Panama. We need to reach our consumers wherever they are. We want to be there ourselves. Escoffery uses wholesalers for some hard to reach areas that are far from urban centers. As far as expansion goes, we will represent more brands and increase our reach to customers.

What's ahead in terms of operations and new brands?

We believe in constant transformation. Hence, we want to gain more market share, better relationships, and increase the happiness of our consumers and employees. We are waiting to see the country's plans for the coming years. We will then adjust or adapt our business strategies accordingly. In the meantime, we are working on efficiency and trying to be prepared for whatever may come. We are always on the lookout for new brands, but right now we are focused on the ones that align with our strategies.