UST Student Keeps Family Panaderia Open Via Social Media Post
By Brittani Wright
Located north of downtown Houston, La Casa Bakery faced what would have been it’s last days in 2017. Jackie Garza, sophomore student at University of St. Thomas, saved her family’s restaurant with one tweet that went viral. Two years later, the local panaderia is doing better than ever and still receiving press.
Garza’s father, Trinidad Garza, has been baking since the age of 12, and wanted to bring his culture centered food into Houston.
“My dad told us he was going to sell the restaurant,” Garza said. “I saw so much potential in keeping it open, but he wasn’t listening and already had an offer on it. The area is going to be gentrified, which I am happy about, but I wanted to do something to keep the culture in that area.”
Change in the Community
Garza received more than 60,000 retweets and likes from the Twitter post, and had “more customers than they could handle” in the following weeks.
“It was a big deal, especially since the area does not have the best reputation,” Garza said. “Two days after the tweet, I was contacted by ABC and did an interview. From there, other media outlets reached out for interviews and stories, from Houston Chronicle to Houstonia Magazine.”
The most influential interview that Garza has done was with BBC.
“I was so surprised to be contacted from BBC,” Garza said. “It was very cool to see someone on the other side of the world who was interested in our restaurant. I loved to be the spokesperson for La Casa and the Mexican culture.”
La Casa Bakery serves pan dulce, and also traditional Mexican food such as menudo and capirotada, a recipe that was featured in The Local Palate.
Opportunities that Create a Career Path
With the opportunity to have so much press cover her family’s story, Garza also learned how to run a successful business through marketing. Through this avenue, Garza fell in love with marketing and decided that she wanted to attend UST, just a few miles away from her home and restaurant.
“This allowed us to understand proper marketing tools,” Garza said, “such as social media, updating our menu and having business cards. I realized that I love marketing, and I want to make a career out of this experience.”
Sweet Like Pan Dulce
“Sweet Like Pan Dulce”, a pop-up event with multiple vendors will take place on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 11 a.m. at 2315 Union St. in Houston. La Casa Bakery will benefit from the proceeds.
“We are going to give away 100 loaves of bread,” Garza said. “Vendors and sponsors include big companies such as Topo Chico and Deep Eddy Vodka. This is a great opportunity for our business to get out in the community and gain more exposure.”
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