Pandemic takes economic bite out of Mexican pastry bakery

Lux Bakery supplies school districts in Texas, but they’re not ordering now

The Lux Bakery factory is still churning out Mexican pastries, but production has slowed as school and retail orders fall off.

SAN ANTONIO – The machinery still churns out Mexican pastries at the half-century-old Lux Bakery. Only now, it runs more slowly and less often as the pandemic has taken a bite out of business.

“It absolutely has impacted the amount of business we were doing,” said Vice President John Zambrano. “Our business has pretty much slowed down since we distribute a lot to school districts throughout Texas.”

With classrooms closed, new orders have come to a halt. Retail sales to grocers’ bakeries have taken a hit, too. So production here has been slowed to fill the backlog orders, and the days are shorter. On Fridays, the factory is quiet.

“I think I’ll start to get nervous about June or July if it looks like kids aren’t going back to school,” Zambrano said.

He said he’s hopeful that won’t be the case.

For now, the small business adjusts. The 35-plus employees, none of whom have been let go, according to Zambrano, now wear face masks and gloves and stand further apart.

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Like many small businesses pushed out of their normal operations, Lux is making adjustments to try to fill in the gaps. That means improvising and finding new opportunities to bring in revenue. Zambrano said Lux is well-positioned to use their machines to package products for other small businesses that may not have the equipment.

Individual packaging of foods is now preferred as opposed to bins filled with products for grabbing.

Compared to many small businesses that have been forced to close their doors and cut payroll, Zambrano says Lux is fortunate. He says he’s also hoping business can get back to some kind of normal soon.

“We are implementing now the temperature reading for employees as they come in the door,” he said.

About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.