With its comforting aroma of freshly-baked, traditional pastries and their wall-to-wall cases of assorted treats, Valerio's Tropical Bakeshop brings Filipinos closer to home. With traditional island delicacies, like mammon (sponge cake) and bibingka (rice cake made with coconut milk), fans say Valerio's puts the Philippines in Milpitas.
Valerio's is a family-owned bakery with 15 branches in Filipino-populous areas -- Milpitas being one of them. Located in Seasons MarketPlace plaza, which holds several other Philippino businesses, owner Carlito Valero teamed up with Seafood City to start a Milpitas branch of his bakeshop.
The Milpitas store opened in July 2010 and went on to be successful. According to May Valerio, store manager and wife of Carlito Valerio, the stores have been recognized in Gilroy, Monterey, San Leandro and Livermore. They also have a wholesaler in Stockton.
“Quality is the number one [priority],” said May Valerio. “For example, when baking pan de sal, it is still the same in the Philippines -- how we mix the bread, the nice amount, the quality.
May Valerio explained that although the economy is bad, they do not lessen their ingredients or portions nor do they purchase cheaper products, even when their suppliers raise the prices and offer different options.
Not only is quality put into creating their food, Valerio's assures they put quality in their business, their customer service, and work ethic. The values they follow for quality, said May Valerio, are responsibility, cleanliness, communication, sportsmanship, teamwork, and customer service. She even shares with staff the store's online Yelp reviews -- the good and the bad -- and says “it is fun” because they can learn what to improve.
“We have to be easy to be comfortable to talk to and honest to our customers--not just Filipinos," said May Valerio. "We have to explain more, be modest and introduce what they don't know. Even explain the price. Some don't understand so put yourself in their situation."
Regular customer Erlinda Dela Cruz of Milpitas buys pan de sal (Filipino dinner rolls) and pan de ube (rolls with purple yam filling) every weekend, she said. She believes Valerio's fulfills their goal of quality and especially their quality in creating traditional pastries.
“I feel like I am back home when I am able to get fresh pastries at Valerio's,” says Dela Cruz, “Valero's is extremely valuable to Milpitas and its Filipinos because of its convenience and quality products. They make Filipinos feel at home when they are far from the homeland.”