MANCHESTER, NH – Angela and Jose Mojica have spent the past seven years studying for what will be a true test of their marriage: Opening a bakery together on the city’s West Side.
“We took a leap of faith,” says Jose Mojica, who left his job at Jet Blue in January to put all of his energy into transforming the space at 157 Amory St. into an inviting sweet shop, Dulces Bakery, where his talented baker wife Angela, can shine.
The Mojicas have put in long hours to create exactly the kind of space they’ve been dreaming of, and they hope it’s a good fit for the neighborhood, which has seen a lot of turn over.
The small storefront on Amory Street has been home to a number of different businesses, most recently Alperini’s and Double B’s Diner.
The Mojicas are determined not only to succeed, but want to expand once this location takes off.
“We noticed that Mi Pueblito just closed across the street,” says Jose. “That’s too bad. But we hope to bring more business to this neighborhood, and support the other businesses that are still here, like Skinny’s Pizza. Eventually, we want to open up a second bakery in Massachusetts.”
The couple looked around the city for just the right location, but settled on this one after someone from the city’s health department mentioned it might be a perfect spot for a bakery.
“She said she thought the West Side needed a bakery. We talked to the building owner and he was actually thinking about turning it into an apartment, but we told him what we were going to do and he gave us a shot,” says Jose. “And some of the equipment was already here, like the hood, which saved us a lot of money.”
The couple moved to New Hampshire from New York after 9/11 — it was the only place Jose could find work in the airline business. “All the other airlines were shut down,” Jose says.
A few weeks ago Angela hired her pastry chef, via Craigslist. Zena Cron, former owner of Zena’s Bakeryland in Chelmsford, Mass., wholeheartedly believes it was meant to be.
“We’re in our right place,” she says. “We both feel the same way about baking. I feel lucky she found me — it’s hard to find someone who’s looking for a pastry chef like me who bakes from scratch,” says Cron.
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“We’ve only known each other for a few weeks, but it feels like we’ve known each other forever,” says Angela, who was born in Colombia and loves experimenting with new recipes. She’s excited to bring a bakery with Spanish flair to Manchester.
She’s been baking from her home on the city’s East Side for several years, a hobby that began after the couple married in 2004.
“For my birthday Jose signed me up for Wilton baking classes. I’d always wanted to go into culinary, and I just loved it,” says Angela.
After that she continued to practice, and got a job at Eaton’s Cake and Candy Supplies in Hooksett, where she also taught classes.
Her husband says she’s a natural.
“Everything she bakes is fantastic. I used to bring her tres leches cakes into work at Jet Blue and they always sold out — I couldn’t bring enough,” Jose says.
Angela says aside from her tres leches cakes (“three milk” cakes) which she sells as whole cakes, in to-go cups and jars, her specialty is wedding and party cakes. She and Zena will also be collaborating on new and traditional offerings, which will be posted as daily specials on their Facebook page and website.
Dulces had a soft opening on Feb. 28, which drew friends, family and curiosity seekers, mostly through word of mouth and locals who’ve noticed their festive pink sign.
The bakery’s grand opening is set for Saturday March 7.
Jose Mojica knows that one of the pitfalls for many new businesses is debt, causing them to fail within the first year.
“We’ve done a lot of planning. I spent a lot of hours in front of the computer doing the research. For that reason we cash-flowed all of this. We didn’t want to get into any debt going in,” says Jose. “We’re going to operate under the Jet Blue model — provide better product and better service at a cheaper price.”
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