Determination was the key to the success of Merle and Nelson Balicao when they started their business Mernels Cake House in January 1996 at The Grove Ave. Los Baños, Laguna.
At first, the small business idea was never really a plan. It’s because baking is not a hobby for Merle Balicao. However, with sheer hard work and determination, the Balicaos created a new life for their family and for other people.
Behind MerNel’s Success
Merle and Nelson’s story was not always a success. Each had its own pains and problems. At a very young age, Merle and Nelson had to work hard to support their family. Both of them had to quit school to support their family.
When Merle’s father died, she invested the small amount of money that they’ve received from mourning benefits. They invested it in a small oven, a hand mixer, and some pans. She learned simple recipes for chiffon cakes, tarts, pies, and bread. As a bakery business from home, she started taking orders from their neighbors and friends to increase their family income.
Nelson, on the other hand, found work at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Food Service Unit as a baker, cake decorator, and driver. With these obstacles, the Balicao’s have dedicated their success not only to their family but also to the people in their community. To share their blessings, employment and support are provided to the people of Los Banos who did not finish school because of financial problems.
MerNels Cake House has gone through a series of trials and errors to satisfy the taste of its customers. For them, feedback from their customers was a number one priority. With perseverance and hard work, MerNels is now one of the famous cake houses in town.
HICAPS and MerNels Cake House
HICAPS Marketing Corporation and MerNels Cake House have developed a partnership based on trust and confidence. It is not just about the quality of products and services. It’s also about the assurance that support is always there when needed.
For over 12 years, this partnership resulted in numerous baked products using HICAPS ingredients. These were tried and tested by MER-NEL’S. Magic Whizk has become one of the business boosters of MER-NEL’S Cake House for their layered cakes.
Back in the old days, MerNels use traditional ingredients for their fondant cakes. With a touch of creativity, MerNels have created semi-fondant layered cakes out of Magic Whizk. They positioned it as an alternative to fondant.
From then on, the demand for their layered cakes has increased not only at weddings. Their cakes were also highly anticipated by other people celebrating different occasions. Hicaps Buttercream and Bluebell, on the other hand, have contributed to MER-NEL’S famous chocolate cakes. These resulted in better output in terms of taste and consistency.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
For Merle Balicao, in putting up a business, one should always begin with one or two products. By this, an entrepreneur would have more time to focus and improve the product. It should be done such that it will later be a specialty.
Building a strong product or brand associated with your company also helps promote your business. It also makes your business be known to everybody and expands your reach.
Over the years, HICAPS has helped bakers and businesses make delicious products by offering ingredients like ChiffonAide Cake Oil, Magic Whizk Whipping Cream, Red Velvet Flavor Emulco, and Instabake Brownie Mix.
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- About the Author
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Marian Manalo is a licensed Chemical Engineer from De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines. With over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing, she knows how to navigate through complex business dealings with ease. She’s always able to come out on top, thanks to her sharp negotiating skills.
When she’s not closing deals or planning product launches, you can find Marian in the kitchen baking up a storm – her delicious creations are definitely worth tasting! Marian also enjoys exploring new places and tasting their unique cuisine. She’s always up for an adventure, and she’s never afraid to try something new (especially when it comes to food).