Manuel Torres Olivares only wants to quickly show the German camera team one of his shops. Then he sees a man standing indecisively in front of the displays and cannot resist the chance to use his sales talent. With a friendly smile, he greets the man and asks him what he is interested in. Ten minutes later he has sold the cattle drover from the country two mobile telephones as well as a radio to an older lady who was looking for a present for her grandson. Then a travelling student comes in, looking for an adapter. Manuel hurries over to his other store and collects the requested product. Every day more than 20,000 people pass through the bus station in Puerto Montt, a provincial capital some 1,000 kilometers to the south of Santiago de Chile. Sometimes, even twice that many pass through in summer.
“Basically, we earn most of our money during the three warm months of the year”, explains Manuel, the Managing Director of MTO, a chain of stores for mobile phones and accessories. “Anything on top is a bonus.” The bus terminal is a colorful hive of activity every single day. Farmers lug massive bags to sell their goods in the city. Suburb inhabitants get into the buses and head off to their workplace. Backpackers hunch over their smartphones as they navigate their way. Ten years ago, Manuel Torres Olivares started here with a tiny, two-meter wide shop counter. Now he owns 18 shops throughout the entire region, including restaurants, an event center and half a dozen “cabanas”, small holiday apartments made of wood which the tourists rent. Most of the shops operate under the MTO label, his initials.
If we sell them a good product then people come back. When we drive a good product then people pay attention.
He obviously enjoys advising customers and selling products. He treats all of his customers with both restraint and obligingly: “I think that people from the country, in particular, like to come to me because I take the time to advise them well and offer service if anything happens to the devices. Over the years, many people have recommended me to others.” Quality is top priority at MTO. That is why Manuel also chose a Mercedes-Benz van when the time came to purchase a delivery vehicle. In addition to a Vito, a Citan is now on the road for his company and distributes the goods between the shops spread far throughout the region. Manuel Torres Olivares: “If we sell them a good product then people come back. When we drive a good product then people pay attention. This is what defines quality for us. It is the foundation for our business.”