First Max’s Fried Chicken In East Coast OpensOct 30, 2010
By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
JERSEY CITY, NJ – Famous Philippine restaurant Max’s also known as “the house that fried chicken built” opened its first store ever in the East Coast – its eighth store in the U.S., in the middle of a fragile U.S. economy
For Filipinos here, the grand opening of Max’s of Manila restaurant yesterday— not only gave them a taste of the homeland — it gave them hope as well.
Jersey City resident Nitz Rainbow said, “For someone who has not been in the Philippines for eight years, I really look forward to Max’s chicken, parang it means so much to me, it’s like being home.”
Jersey City Mayor Jeremiah Healy lauded Patricia Berberabe and her family for opening a small business in the middle of an economic crisis.
New Jersey has a 9.4 percent unemployment rate — and people need small businesses for jobs.
Healy said, “It’s very encouraging to see that businesses such as Max’s of Manila and entrepreneurs such as Patricia and her family are still moving forward and investing in Jersey City. “
Max’s has hired at least 50 new employees.
Nursing student Al John Tabat said it was a struggle to finish school. But now that he’s a server at Max’s — he can pay for his tuition fees “I get to earn money at the same time I get to pay for school too,” Tabat said.
Berberabe says it takes guts and patience for small business owners like her to open shop.
Berberabe said, “Getting the permit to approve the plan, it took one and a half years, and then nine months of construction, and months to get the certificate of occupancy.”
“Let’s just say it was red tape, there’s a lot of red tape to battle with in Jersey City, finally we did work it out, it presented some challenges but we are happy to be open right now,” added Bill Rodgers, Managing Director of eMax and great grandson of Max’s original owner Maximo Gimenez.
Berberabe says their persistence paid off. Her new business is doing quite well since its soft opening a couple of weeks ago.
Her challenge now, she says, is to make sure customers come back and keep small businesses alive in this tough economy.