Jakarta, IO – Gunung Agung bookstore was forced to lay off hundreds of its employees and shutter all its outlets by the end of this year because the company continued to lose money and could not afford the hefty operational costs.
Based on a statement received by the Independent Observer, Monday (22/5), the board of directors of PT GA Tiga Belas explained that the decline in income had been going on for quite a long time since 2013. The Covid-19 pandemic only made things worse so the company began to rationalize its business by closing down several stores in cities such as Bogor, Bekasi, Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, Gresik and Magelang.
The company added that the store closures will be carried out in stages based on applicable laws and regulations until the end of 2023. In addition, all employees who have been laid off will receive compensation in accordance with manpower regulations.
According to the official website of Gunung Agung, its history dates back to 1953. At that time, Tjio Wie Tay (1927-1990) or Haji Masagung started a modest kiosk selling books, newspapers and magazines under the name Thay San Kongsie in Central Jakarta.
As the business grew rapidly in the early years of independence, Haji Masagung founded a new company that published and imported books, Firma Gunung Agung.
The company continues to grow thanks to the support of poets, writers, scholars and journalists. In the midst of all the limitations Indonesia encountered s a newly independent country, Haji Masagung pioneered efforts to broaden the people’s knowledge through books.
Masagung also succeeded in holding the first book exhibition in the country, Indonesian Book Week, in 1954. On that occasion, he was acquainted with President Soekarno and Vice President Mohammad Hatta. He was trusted by Soekarno to hold a book exhibition in Medan during the Language Congress in 1954.
His close relationship with Soekarno and Hatta help the growth of the company. Gunung Agung continues to expand and open new branches in other regions across Indonesia. (bp)