Filipino Owned Small Business “Marley’s Treats” Staying Afloat Amidst Opening During The Covid-19 Pandemic

By Paolo Acob, PHOTO EDITOR
Gemma Ballesteros, the small business-owner behind “Marley’s Treats,” a Filipino-American fusion bakery, has been running her store almost entirely during the pandemic.

Celebrating their one-year anniversary, Marley’s Treats opened on Feb. 1, 2020. Having opened a month prior to the pandemic’s reckoning, Ballesteros and her crew had gone through many struggles to finally celebrate a year since their opening.
After speaking with the business owner, she expressed that Marley’s Treats grand opening was momentous. Their section of B Street in Downtown Hayward was closed off for a huge block party, in which Marley’s Treats had sold out their entire inventory almost instantly.
Only until a month afterward, Ballesteros would receive constant emails of event cancellations that Marley’s Treats agreed to cater to, due to the pandemic.
“One of the biggest obstacles, when we already established the food truck, we had so many events lined up, so many caterings, and within a matter of two to three days after things had shut down, I would get email after email saying ‘Sorry it’s canceled,’” states Ballesteros.
However, the global pandemic did not stop Ballesteros and her crew. They still operate today to serve delicious treats and desserts to the people of Downtown Hayward, CA.

On Feb. 5 Marley’s Treats served during their anniversary week. Through a mobile counter, the small business took safety precautions seriously to provide for their customers in a healthy and sanitary fashion during the pandemic.

Chris Rosenberg, an employee of Marley’s Treats, has received a big pre-order and the rest of the team will prepare for it in-store.

“Bunce,” another employee, and Ballesteros working together to prepare the order for Rosenberg to provide to the customer. The customer ordered multiple milkshakes, cupcakes, and other exclusive treats that are available during the anniversary week.

Ballesteros preparing a sampler of their signature cupcakes Ube, Buko Pandan, and Birthday Cake. Once ready and bagged, the order will be handed to Rosenberg at the register.

Rosenberg then receives the order to give to the customer under the register through a small doorway. This ensures little to no contact required when working to follow safety precautions and keep sanitary in the store. Along with their order, they also received a raffle ticket, in which the customer will be entered in a giveaway hosted on the bakery’s instagram, to promote and celebrate their one-year anniversary.

With the recent popularity of small businesses, a surge of “TikTokers” has been creating video content on the TikTok app to promote small businesses.
With Marley’s Treats being represented in a few videos, they have been generating long lines and large crowds with the newfound demographic. Even during these difficult times, Ballesteros remains persistent and wishes to continue serving customers during this pandemic.
She also encourages small business owners to “keep going” and that consistency, persistence, and determination will help you figure it out.
Marley’s Treats is open during the week with temporary hours from 2-7 p.m. Fridays to Saturdays, 12-5 p.m. on Sundays, and can be found at 838 B Street, Hayward, CA.