Colombian bakery is family affair

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Tucked in a strip mall in Matthews is a cozy, traditional Colombian bakery. Sonia Marin and Orly Montoya own and operate La Panaderia Colombian Bread Shop at 11229 E. Independence Blvd.

The business is a family affair.

“It’s great, it is family,” Montoya said. “She is my sister-in-law and it’s with our husbands. It is a family business.”

The pair set out to open a place that was unique to the area. Many of their recipes are family ones and, of course, the coffee is Colombian.

They anticipated that many of their customers would be from the Hispanic community, but they’ve been pleasantly surprised by the diversity the shop has drawn.

“We have customers who drive an hour to come here and get goodies. … They’re like, ‘OMG, I haven’t tried this since I was a kid. I can’t believe you have it,’” Montoya said.

Montoya says pastries and bread are important to Colombian culture.

“It’s fundamental. Panaderies and the bakery culture in Colombia and throughout Latin America is huge,” she explains. “People in the morning, they leave their house to go to the bakery to have cheese rolls and bread for breakfast or they buy it the night before so they can have it in the morning.”

For more information, visit their website at lapanaderiaclt.com.

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