Peoria baker leans on food, faith to push through pandemic

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — When you step into the quaint Panadería Ortiz Bakery, you’ll smell the sweet scent of sweet bread or pan dulce. The shop is like a second home for Bernardo Ortiz.

“A friend taught me,” said Ortiz. “Right here, he taught me. For years, he had been telling me to start my own business and that he would help me. I decided to take a risk and here we are.”

Ortiz moved to the United States from México 25 years ago. For the last seven years, he has lived in Peoria. With support from his friends and family, Ortiz opened Panadería Ortiz Bakery in 2012. He said it’s a passion of his.

“I stay here. I live here. I support my family. I think that’s why,” Ortiz said.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Businesses across Central Illinois struggled with the challenges of the early stay-at-home orders. But Ortiz seemed to have dodged a bullet.

“The truth is that it has not affected us very much,” he said. “We had to cut one, two employees. But we keep going and thank God the clients have not left us. They have continued supporting us. It’s very good for us.”

The small team of employees at Panadería Ortiz Bakery has added new health and safety measures for customers. Gloves and hand sanitizers are now located all throughout the store. But he doesn’t feel frustrated about the changes.

“The truth? No. This is simply something that happens and you have to get through it,” Ortiz said.

He is relying on his faith to get him through.

“Trust in God and simply we get ahead. We hope it happens,” he said.

Panadería Ortiz Bakery is located at 1404 NE Monroe St. in Peoria.

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