They frequently say that “business is business,” regardless of who loses in the competition. But a business owner in Batangas proved that you can choose to be an entrepreneur “with a heart.” After realizing that other balut vendors had lost customers due to their popularity, the viral grilled balut store in Balayan, Batangas, decided to close its doors.
You may recall that the grilled balut with a sauce went viral on the internet, leading to huge sales for business owners Zereen Xylex Gonzales Atienza and her family. While this brought them great success, they also saw how it impacted local balut vendors. They empathized deeply with the other balut vendors, whose only source of income was declining as they lost customers. Hence, Zereen decided that it was time for the grilled balut to finally “sign off.”
In a post on Facebook, she explained why they decided to close their business at the height of its success. She wrote, “‘Yung nag open ka ng business at sumabay sa uso, pero malambot ang puso mo.” [When you started a business and went viral, but you have a kind heart.]
According to her, they were ecstatic with the positive feedback and attention their grilled balut had received, particularly the sweet chili jam. She went on to say that they had previously been forced to close early due to an influx of customers that they were unable to serve. But what really motivated her to permanently close their doors was the sight of other balut vendors going home early because no one was interested in buying from them anymore.
Zereen said, “Habang naglilinis kami ng gamit nakita namin yung mga magbabalut na naka-motor na naguuwian na ng maaga kasi wala halos bumibili sa kanila na dati-dati ay hinahabol namin. Kitang kita yung lungkot.” [While cleaning up, we noticed that other balut sellers, who we usually chase after, had gone home early due to a lack of customers.]
This tugged at her heart, and she decided to close her business to make way for other balut vendors. She thanked everyone who supported them and said she would focus on work. However, they will soon start selling their sweet chili jam, so people can still enjoy it while buying balut from vendors. “Pwede niyo ihalo sa binili niyong balut kay manong,” she suggested. [You can add it to the balut you bought from manong.]
It’s every street vendor’s dream to go viral and achieve success. Many others have achieved this, including Nanay Bebeng’s magic water in Binondo, the blockbuster lumpiang ubod in Tayuman, and many others. But in the end, your success can be defined by whether or not you are truly happy. Sometimes the best business decisions are made because you followed your heart.
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