Ines Roets smelled the hints of tobacco on the streets of Calle Ocho in Miami as she sold her empanadas to tobacco rollers and other businesses. With one hand guiding a stroller, her infant son inside, and her other hand holding a cooler filled with savory empanadas, this is where Roets got her start. 

Every morning and afternoon Ines returned to Calle Ocho and people couldn’t get enough of her empanadas. This is when she realized there was something special here, so she held onto it. 

“I felt fantastic,” Roets said. “Everyone in the world loves money and when I saw that there was potential here I was like, ‘Okay this is a good idea.’”

Initially, Roets thought about opening an Argentinian ice cream shop where she would make ice cream by hand. Before she moved to Miami, Roets said she worked at a heladería — an ice cream shop — in her home country of Argentina. 

Argentinian ice cream is a smooth mix between gelato and soft serve and is made from fresh fruit, such as strawberry and lemon. It is not as dense as traditional ice cream, so ice cream makers can serve tall amounts on a cone. Roets didn’t see any businesses like it in the area but ultimately decided to follow the traditional restaurant route. However, she said she hopes to incorporate her ice cream into the menu in the future. 

Roets and her husband Ariel lived in Miami for a total of 18 months before moving to Greensboro for work opportunities, Ariel would work at a textile factory for the following 17 years. 

In 2017, they opened Ines Bakery in Gibsonville. Ariel said that it seemed like the perfect location because it was five minutes away from their house and in the heart of the small town. 

“This was for Ines,” Ariel said. “I had a job, so I thought Ines needed something to sell cakes and food.”

Despite the business being called Ines Bakery, it is also a restaurant — the only Argentinian bakery within at least 100 miles, according to Ariel. The shop offers authentic Argentinian baked goods as well as a variety of empanadas. Ines said on Saturday mornings the waiting area can get packed with customers wanting fresh bread for their meals and different variation on empanadas, such as spicy beef which is one of their most popular items. 

“Every year got busier and busier,” Ariel said. 

Now Ines is ready to take her business to the next level and open up other locations. Ines said she is “thinking big” and considering expanding her services to Graham. Ines and Ariel are in the talking stages of putting this dream together, but they said one of their main obstacles is finding staff willing to help out. 

“We are in the USA and people come from everywhere,” Ines said. “Some people make big companies from zero and maybe we can do the same.”

Ines said she wants her next location to have tables inside and be big enough to serve her loyal customers. Currently, their Gibsonville location has some tables outside, but no room for customers to sit inside to eat. 

Both Ines and Ariel said the people are their favorite part of the job. 

“You meet a lot of people and they become your friends in the end,” Ariel said. “We got customers that come since we open for seven years. We know their life. We talk with them. That is the best part.”

Ines said she has customers across the state, even all the way from Wilmington. She also has a customer from D.C. who comes once a year to visit. She said some customers send her Christmas cards during the holiday season. 

The couple said they love that they can share a piece of their culture with the local community. Ariel said that he hopes people feel the warm and welcoming environment that Argentinians have to offer when entering. 

“The fact that we come from another place, another country far away, doesn’t make us different to them,” Ariel said. “We are the same.” 

Lilly Molina contributed to the translation of Ines Roets’ quotes.