Liz Flores had a vision, a dream in a sense, to one day start her own bakery. A place where the smell and taste of fresh Mexican bread and rich, hot coffee would summon people of all walks.
After spending years in bakeries and gaining valuable business experience, Liz left Denver’s big city life in her rear view mirror and relocated to Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
“I was nervous to be moving to a new part of the country where heavy traffic and millions of people were traded for a rural community,” Liz said. “Although the community scale is greatly reduced in size, I was still uneasy with learning how to navigate through my new community.”
To settle in, she decided to start her own business, LizCake – Panaderia y Pasteleria. And, she was supported by her family, essentially making LizCake a three generation business.
“My dream has always been to start my own bakery,” Liz said. “When my daughter married her husband and he was a baker, I thought we would make a great team.”
And, to help make the venture a reality, she reached out to the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP).
“We noticed there was a need for a Mexican bakery in this area.” Liz said. “We’ve struggled with the process of opening our bakery, but with friends like the Center for Rural Affairs helping us, we’ve been able to move forward.”
Anthony Gurrola, a Latino loan specialist with the Center, helped her with one-on-one business counseling and technical assistance.
“I provided key assistance to Liz’s business startup that helped facilitate community integration, networking, and broke down communication barriers,” Anthony said. “I also guided the family toward important contacts within the business community and translated when needed.”
Through this business support, utilities were connected, landlord requirements were understood, inspection requirements were passed, licenses were granted, and their first dollar had been officially issued by the Scottsbluff/Gering United Chamber of Commerce.
“Now that Liz’s dream has become reality, she can enjoy operating her business, and making roots within her new community,” Anthony said.
And, people are gathering in Liz’s business, just like her vision. She specializes in Mexican bread, served fresh every day, and provides free coffee, with the aromas beckoning customers into the door. She also sells cakes, cookies, and snacks.
“Our grand opening was beautiful,” she said. “We had a lot of people come by and there has been a lot of activity. It’s great to be in this business.”
At a Glance
LizCake – Panaderia y Pasteleria
Address: 815 E Overland, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69361
Hours: Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Tuesday.
On the web: Facebook page
Feature photo: Liz Flores, left, her daughter, and her son-in-law opened LizCake – Panaderia y Pasteleria in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, with the help of the Center for Rural Affairs’ one-on-one counseling and technical assistance. | Photo by Anthony Gurrola