Fanny R. | Baker/Owner
Years of Industry Service: 3 months, but baking since she was a child
Fanny Rivera has always loved baking. Raised by her baker-grandmother, Fanny has been making breads, flan, and cakes since she was a little girl in Veracruz Port, Mexico. From the front door façade to the tiniest iridescent sprinkle on her cupcakes, Fanny's bakery is covered in vibrant, feminine pink. Pink roses on every table, pink piñatas on the walls, pink streamers criss-crossing the ceiling, and pink shoes on her feet. It's a charming mishmash of colors, cookies, candy and soda, the air filled with the sugary sweetness of a well-loved bakery.
"It was my dream for a long time: a bakery in the West Side," she says. For years, Fanny had been baking on the side, making birthday cakes and quinceñera cakes while working her full-time job. Her customers and church friends started pushing her to start her own business. So three months ago, Fanny opened the doors to that life-long dream, proudly using recipes she learned from her grandmother. Her bakery, open from the early morning hours and well into the late night ones, is a family hangout. On weekends, Fanny says, "We dance. I put on salsa and people just start dancing. They love it."
As a first-time business owner on an extremely lean start-up budget, she works double-digit hours seven days a week doing everything herself. But when it's your dream, this chance to work for yourself and be a visible part of your community, you work for as long and as hard as you have to. Fanny has two daughters, one is at the private Catholic school Bishop Miege and the other attends The University of Kansas in Lawrence. "They come help me sometimes when they have time," Fanny said, "But the first thing is their education and school." Fanny works day and night to make it possible for her daughters to get a good education.
Many of her young customers, especially the Latino teenagers from the neighborhood, don't have the stable family life, support and finances to get the same education Fanny is able to provide for her daughters. Her voice trembled with tears as she talked about their situations, saying, "A lot of my customers come in and tell me about the problems in their family. It makes me so sad."
Fanny adamantly championed her teenage customers. "They have 100% potential. They are good, good, good teenagers, but they have problems." She thinks a better Kansas City starts with providing support and help to those kids. Provide them with a better alternative to drugs, alcohol and gangs. But those are big, complicated issues that require more than one-answer solutions. Fanny is doing her part for the neighborhood by being the kind, empathetic ear that those kids need. She is the warm mother with the comforting sweets; she says, "They leave here with a smile."
The Employee Lounge will be contributing profiles each month in Tastebud Magazine. This is our first one. Even if you've read it here, pick up a copy, read the rest of the fruit-themed articles and check us out in print! Next week, we'll show you a peek inside her pastelería and all her sweet treats.
Make KC Better » Improved support system for troubled kids in her community.