CEO Series

Here's How A Filipino Mother Turned Her Passion Into Success

Mary Grace Peckson Dimacali’s love for baking enabled her to expand her kitchen into a business filled with inspiration, passion, and success.

“As a child, I was always thrilled to watch dough expand with a life of its own, a fascination which I carried on to motherhood.”

Like any other entrepreneur, Mary Grace started with a desire and determination on mastering and creating a product that Filipinos will like.

Image Credit: Mary Grace Café

Mary Grace is the founder and president of Mary Grace Foods, a café well-known for its well-balanced taste of pastries.

She is also a devout wife and mother to her five children. She recalled surprising her children during their birthdays by baking personally decorated cakes.

She also started offering homemade fruitcakes and other pastries to her friends. These led to her wanting to study more about baking in order to enhance her skills.

And so, she flew to the United States to take a 12-month hands-on course on baking and bakeshop management and returned home to pursue her dreams.

“I came home to harness all I had learned to perfect my own formula for a local delicacy, an ensaymada with just the right texture and flavor.”

It took her countless of tries and taste tests from her family before eventually making her signature recipes, the ensaymada and cheese rolls.

Venturing Into the Business

Image Credit: Mary Grace Café

In 2001, after the interest shown by those who bought her products, Mary Grace opened her first kiosk in Glorietta.

This move started the expansion of her business. Now, Mary Grace Café is run by the whole family.

They all support her and contribute their share in making the business grow. Her husband, Hector, is the chairman of the company, while her eldest daughter, Chiara is in charge of the brand management and professional organization.

Her sons Adrian, Gabriel, and Raphael take charge of the human resources and legal, finance and purchasing. And her youngest daughter, Marian, is the one who handles kiosk and production development.

Mary Grace Café: Pastries Made From The Heart

Image Credit: Mary Grace Café

Four years after she established her kiosks, Mary Grace opened her first café.

“There have always been requests from my customers for me to open a café where they can sit down to eat my ensaymadas and cheese rolls with a cup of coffee or tsokolate. This and an opportunity for a little café in Serendra lay the grounds for my first café. The management of Serendra liked my concept and gave me a break.”

“Little did I know [the bazaar regulars] were my evangelizers. While we were developing a loyal clientele, I was also building an emotional connection with people, so that when the first café opened, bang! They knew that Mary Grace was not just a name—they knew that person. They know her voice. They know her commitment to deliver with quality and bring it to your doorstep,” she added.

Since then, Mary Grace has become a household name. Now it runs over 40 cafés and kiosks.

All the effort, patience, and determination she had in setting up Mary Grace has been recognized with the numerous awards she has received.

She was also awarded the Filipina Starpreneur award by GoNegosyo and also the Neophyte Entrepreneur Award by the Network for Enterprising Women.

She has also been invited to be the speaker for inspirational talks and several seminars for women and budding entrepreneurs.

Mary Grace’s advice to young aspiring entrepreneurs is to always do things from your heart.

“Create safe havens, create homes in the hearts of those you serve. For you are a home yourself, from where good things come. What a power. The power to transform.”

“Take your time and focus on what matters most: faith, family, and love for life. Everything will fall into place.”

Featured Image Credit: Mary Grace Café

 

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