After 11 years in the same location in Woodburn Oregon, near Portland, Miranda’s Bakery is moving to a much larger store this year to accommodate its rapidly expanding bakery business. As a bonus, the retailer will be launching a full-line donut program for the first time.
Gustavo Miranda, who runs the family business with his wife and three children, says they are developing a new line of 12 to 15 kinds of donuts for the regular daily menu, including yeast-raised, cake donuts, old fashioned and apple fritters.
In the new store, they plan to add more display shelves and stainless-steel cases to accommodate the expanded product line, including a new cake cooler next to the front register. They also plan to have seating in the bakery for the first time, so that customers can make Miranda’s Bakery a destination where they can stop and enjoy fresh donuts and coffee, or a slice of the bakery’s widely popular mil hojas cake while they relax.
“We are excited that we are buying this new location,” Gustavo says. “After 11 years in business, it is worth the investment.”
Across the Pacific Northwest, similar stories of expansion are shared by bakery owners who witness increasing opportunities to enhance their brands by producing top-of-the-line breads, cakes, donuts and pastries that offer delicious Hispanic flavors and appeal to an ever-growing marketplace.
In central Washington, Sunnyside is a city of less than 20,000 residents, but there are business opportunities in every direction for Pepe’s Bakery. About 35 miles away is Yakima, a much larger city famous for apples and wine grapes, and the site of the future Pepe’s Cakes, which owner Jose Cortez plans to open later this year with a specific focus on selling decorated cakes.
In nearby Toppenish, Washington, the Legends Casino Hotel has been a destination venue for fun and celebrations since it opened 20 years ago, and Pepe’s Cakes is an important vendor for this casino. Every Friday night, the casino holds a Mexican theme night, and Pepe’s supplies the cakes, flan, conchas and more.
Another big customer of Pepe’s is the Washington Beef plant in central Washington that takes an order of 150 to 1,000 pieces of fresh sweet breads every weekend.
“We do big business with the casino,” Jose says. “We made a slot machine cake for them once. Our cake business has grown a lot.”
In a strategic move to elevate its brand, Maravilla’s Bakery & Coffee completed an impressive renovation of its Salem, Oregon, bakery cafe, which now features granite countertops, a modern bakery display case and a full-line beverage program for coffees, specialty drinks and smoothies.
Co-owner Alma Maravilla says she and her husband, Juan, wanted to elevate the look and feel of the bakery they started 10 years ago, so that all customers would feel welcome immediately as they walked inside. It was an expensive project, but well worth it, according to Alma.
“The minute you enter the bakery, you can see the sophistication,” she says. “It is amazing what we accomplished. We added the coffee program because our customers have been asking for it. Coffee goes very well with our bread.”
In one project, BakeMark technicians came to Maravilla’s to teach new techniques in different breads, including French style croissants. Maravilla’s created their own style of pain au chocolat, a viennoiserie (laminated dough) that is filled with small pieces of dark chocolate.
One unique product at Maravilla’s is Alma’s version of a piedra, which Maravilla’s makes covered in rich chocolate and crunchy pecans. “Our customers are really responding well to that,” Alma says.”
“When I travel, I take the time to look at other bakeries and pick up ideas,” she points out. “I visited a bakery in New Jersey where I learned more about fondant cakes. I paid for our cake decorators to do training in fondant cakes, and we are offering that now. In Chicago, I went to a popular bakery cafe and saw the concept of beautiful bread and coffee. When you feel inspiration, that is good. I knew that we could come up with our own concept here.”
Adding the new coffee machine enables them to offer two dozen hot drinks, as well as cold brew coffee, iced mocha and other cold coffee drinks. In addition, they offer blended frappes with a wide selection of flavors available. They trained their staff with professional baristas, so they can serve custom drinks with foam swirls and designs on top. Latte art is a big trend in the coffee business, and it adds an extra touch that makes customers feel special.
This offers another example of how innovation drives growth, and Hispanic bakeries in the Pacific Northwest are seeing more opportunities to expand business and broaden their appeal to a diverse customer base.