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Table, umbrella, halo-halo enough for ma’s business

First Posted 08:46:00 05/27/2010

In 1985, a housewife in barangay Pardo, Cebu City set up a table, chairs and a beach umbrella outside her house.

With only P3,000, she started a halo-halo business.

Some 25 years later, Melton?s Halo-Halo has become a household name.

Melton is coined from the names of Mely Meraton and husband, Tony.

?We just combined their names and coincidentally came up with a very catchy brand Meltons which also sounded like Melt. Very relevant for our business that uses ice that melts,? said Joel, the couple?s son who now manages the business.

He said his mother was in her late 40s when she decided to put up a halo-halo joint in the neighborhood, using a manual ice crusher and fresh fruits.

Mely believed that a halo-halo would be a hit because of Cebu?s humid weather.

She was not wrong.

Five years after opening the business, Mely converted the first floor of their house to a cafe to accommodate more customers.

From a table that could only accommodate at least four persons at a time, Melton's Halo-Halo could now accommodate 40 customers at a time.

?We have to open this cafe because more and more people come to taste our product. And we cannot accommodate them and offer convenience if we just carry on with the counter-type serving,? Joel said.

At present, Melton's Halo-Halo has three outlets: one in barangay Pardo, another in barangay Labangon ? all in Cebu City; and the third in Minglanilla town, southern Cebu.

?The one in Labangon near the Science High was opened in 2003 and after seven years we opened another in Minglanilla in GMG Arcade,? Joel said.

They also hired nine more employees from just Mely and her family doing all the work for the business.

?For every outlet, we have three people to help us because we can't do it ourselves anymore,? said Joel.

After nearly two decades managing the business, Mely retired and entrusted the business to her sons Joel and Tony. The third sibling, their sister she lives in the United States.

From the manual ice crushers, Joel said they now use the motorized crushers that can serve more at a shorter time.

What sets Melton's Halo-Halo apart from other brands is the recipe developed by their parents using fresh fruits.

?We also assure our customers that we use clean ice and not those that we see in markets sold in blocks,? Joel said.

Joel said the family continues to be optimistic with the business's growth and expansion.

?We will be opening in Fuente Osmeña (Cebu City) sometime in the last quarter of this year and another one in Naga (a town in souther Cebu),? Joel said.

He said they continue to be on the lookout for more areas where they can open an outlet.

?It's not easy to open an outlet. We just can't open it where we please. We have to study the existing traffic at a specific location to make sure that our business in that area will really earn profits,? Joel said.

They had open an outlet in a mall before but they found it too limiting: they had to go with the schedule of the mall.

?Aside from that, eating halo-halo in the mall is not often what most people like to do with the mall's air-conditioning units running,? he said.

The brothers are also considering franchises for the business. However, this is not their priority.

?Eventually we'll be doing that. But right now, we will be focusing on direct-owned outlets,? Joel said.

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