APPLETON, Wis. — September 15 marks the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month.
For many, it’s a time to highlight the contributions of Hispanics across the country, and what better contribution than food? An Appleton family is up early every day baking sweet Mexican bread at Trigales Bakery in the south side of town.
Co-owner Ivan Rosas’ skills come from a long line of bakers in his native Mexico.
“I’d go to school in the afternoon, and in the morning at the bakery, from maybe [age] 7 to 18 years,” says Rosas.
When asked if his family made him work a lot, he laughs and answers, “Oh yes!”
Rosas and his wife Laura both speak little English, however they’ve managed to keep a business afloat. Both began working at their bakery as only employees, when the former owners decided to leave the business, they took over. Now, they own the only Mexican “panaderia” in Appleton.
Laura, who helps to make traditional Mexican cakes and attends customers says even with broken English, a smile from a customer needs no translation.
“When I go to the customers, I like to see their smile when they see the cake,” she says.
Trigales Bakery has grown in the past 5 years since the couple took over. They hope to serve a taste of hispanic culture one sweet bread at a time.
This year however, like for many small businesses, COVID-19 forced them to change how they operate daily.
“A lot has changed, normally the bakery worked with self service, and now its not. And the people are scared and [didn’t] come for maybe two months,” says Rosas.
In those two months, despite not being open to the public for regular hours, the couple continued to make fresh bread daily and keep up with orders for pick up.
Their ultimate goal is to keep sharing the rich culture of their Mexican roots and keep their community fed. Both are an example of the purpose for Hispanic Heritage Month.