Ines Roets was selling empanadas out of a cart in Miami before opening an Argentinian bakery in downtown Gibsonville with her husband Ariel.
The Argentinian natives were looking for another source of income when Ariel’s work took them to North Carolina. Now, open since 2016, Ines Bakery has become an additional way to support their family. The business they’ve grown is not only built on their culture, but also their customer support.
“When I sell 200 empanadas for one party I say ‘whoa,’” Ines said. “The empanadas come from my country, and when somebody else comes and says, ‘Wow that’s amazing,’ I feel very proud.”
At Ines Bakery, customers can choose from a variety of different empanadas, each incorporating a different filling.
“Our empanada recipe is Argentinian style,” Ariel said. “I think 99% of Argentinians know how to make empanadas, but everyone has their own touch.”
While Ines and Ariel were raised 20 miles apart, they share the common experience of growing up eating empanadas. At Ines Bakery, the recipe is loosely based on the ones she ate as a child, but she uses her own techniques in cooking the chicken. Ariel said that Ines has been working with this particular food since their children were young.
“She started making empanadas when my son was a kid,” Ariel said. “He used to go in a stroller and help sell empanadas inside laundromats and more.”
Ariel also said that the work ethic and effort put into the food at the bakery pushes their customers to want to return for more.
“When people come and see you working, and that you are the owner and you are working hard, they appreciate that and they support you. They help you and they keep coming,” Ariel said. “Of course, you’ve got to have a product that’s good because if what you sell is no good people, will not admire you.”
Ines and Ariel said they haven’t let challenges along the way stop them, even with COVID-19 protocols. When the pandemic hit, the couple sold empanadas out of their store window to customers.
“I told the customers, this is the cheapest drive-thru you can see in the town,” Ines said. “We started to sell the empanadas and more customers started to come with the pandemic.”
While Ines Bakery has provided the couple with a form of new income, pride and satisfaction, it has ultimately resulted in a sense of community. Selling cakes and empanada’s has formed new friendships and lasting memories.
“The first year I almost cried,” Ines said. “We’ve had five years of working with each other and we’re still here.”