Leona’s daughters make most of baking legacy
Growing up with a nutritionist for a mom who always had something in the oven for them, sisters Jane-Jane and Veronica Ong decided to open a cake and pastry shop in their property in Mabolo 13 years ago.
They named the shop after their mom, Leona. Leona’s Cakes and Pastries opened in 1999 and has since offered Cebuanos delightful products to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Jane-Jane Ong, who handles the overall management and accounting division of the business, said she and her sisters got their drive to succeed in the business from their mom.
Ong said it was a true legacy left to them after their mother passed away three years ago.
Before the sisters set up the shop, their mother was already accepting orders for cakes and pastries made in their home.
They learned a lot from her cooking, cooking techniques, and eventually developed the love to bake.
“We opened with this very exact size and setup of the shop which my sister and I conceptualized offering initially cakes and bread from original recipes,” said Ong.
The sisters hired eight people when they started and converted part of their old house into a kitchen where they baked all their products.
In time, people started enjoying their baked products, and the orders increased.
The sisters later opened branches in Banilad and malls in Cebu like SM City Cebu. Their latest branch opened last year in J Center Mall in Mandaue City.
The growth of the business was evident with the bigger volume of production they had to accomplish daily. They employ 40 people in the operation especially in the production line which is handled by her sister Veronica.
Another sister, Natalie, joined them recently to help run the company.
Jane, who is an active runner and avid traveler, sometimes goes abroad to join marathons.
She also uses these opportunities to look at new trends in cakes, bread and pastries.
“My sister Veronica does a lot of the R&D (research and development), creating new products that we can offer to our customers. Just recently we started to offer cupcakes because it was a hit abroad. We decided to bring it here,” said Jane.
Recently, the sisters started catering to volume orders for occasions like Christmas, where clients give their products as holiday gifts.
“We also accept orders for big meetings and special events to diversify our market channels,” said Ong.
The sisters see to it that they offer unique products found only in their shop like their Guava Cake, which uses guava fruits from their backyard.
The cake, a a seasonal offering, gets positive feedback from clients.
They also see to it that they offer products across all the age groups.
“Some like the classic chiffon cakes while some like them with a lot of icing, whip creams and we have that offered in our shops so that people will really what they’re looking for in our shop,” said Ong.
They offer the banana cake, chocolate and carrot cakes as well as innovative deserts like Mango Jubilee, Durian Pie, Cookies and Cream and Choco Fudge Cheese Cake.
Despite the price increase of raw ingredients like flour and sugar, Ong said they try to achieve quality at value prices.
“We make sure that our prices are just right for the quality that we deliver and we are happy that people are really buying from us,” said Ong.
The sisters are not keen on having the shop franchised because they care about maintaining the quality of their products.
In 2008, Leona’s Cakes and Pastries was awarded the Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
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