This summer marked 31 years of being in business for Panadería Vanessa in Oxnard.
Owners Vicente Martinez and Lilia Martinez are originally from a town named Copándaro in Michoacán, Mexico. They previously worked in the fields in Oxnard when they moved to the United States at a young age.
Lilia says that her husband Vicente comes from a family who has worked in the bakery business for quite some time.
“My husband comes from a family of bakers. In Michoacán his grandmother and his uncles had a small bakery on the village,” Lilia said to VIDA Newspaper.
Vicente and Lilia decided to open their own bakery after deciding that their time on the fields was up.
“We were already tired of working on the field, it was heavy work and we said, ‘if we know how to make bread, why don’t we try to open a bakery?’”
From opening day till now, business has been going well for the Martinez family.
Lilia says that on the first day they opened Panadería Vanessa, they had a full house. Vicente and Lilia had let a number of friends and family and people they worked with in the fields know about their upcoming bakery.
Panadería Vanessa was named after Vicente and Lilia’s second youngest daughter. The couple has a total of 5 children, now all adults, and 9 grandchildren.
The Martinez currently have four bakeries in business. Three of them are in Oxnard and the fourth is in Selma, CA.
Almost all of Vicente and Lilia’s children have or currently work at one of their bakeries, as well as some of their grandkids.
Their grandson Andre Martinez, 22, has been helping at Panadería Vanessa since he was a young boy.
“It feels good working here because it’s all family,” Andre said to VIDA Newspaper. “We enjoy helping out and having [our family] show us the ropes of what goes on here.”
Andre says he’s learned a lot while working at the bakery and appreciates his grandfather’s work ethic.
“My grandpa is very charismatic with the people who come here, and with the community,” Andre said.
Vicente Martinez, 25, is another one of Lilia and Vicente’s grandkids who works at Panadería Vanessa.
Vicente (grandson) says that there is a lot of Latino, specifically Mexican, people in the community who support the family business.
“They support us, and we support them,” Vicente (grandson) said to VIDA Newspaper. “They come here early in the morning and we’re here. They’re able to get their bread and coffee every morning and take their lunch here. A lot of restaurants aren’t open that early, so I feel like it’s very convenient for them.”
Aside from sweet treats and freshly baked bread, Panadería Vanessa also sells savory foods such as tacos, burritos, tamales, menudo, and more.
Vicente (grandson) feels that the bakery makes a lot of their clients feel like they’re back at home since Panadería Vanessa is like bakeries in Mexico.
“We’re keeping the tradition alive. When you come in here it probably feels like a little Mexico,” Vicente (grandson) said. “[Customers] feel really warm and welcome here.”
Both Vicente (grandson) and Andre hope to own their own business one day.
Vicente (grandson) and Andre attended Santa Clara High School in Oxnard, and Vicente (grandson) recently graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in electrical engineering.
Panadería Vanessa opens at 4 a.m. every day and closes at 9 p.m. Their main location is at 242 North A St, in Oxnard.