Five generations of the Anaya family have weathered the storms of life.
The first family bakery opened in Mexico in 1912. Twenty years ago, the first Pancho Anaya opened in Tulsa. And just a few months ago, the economic devastation of COVID-19 threatened to take it down. But the Anaya family’s three Tulsa locations remained open, with loyal customers picking up orders of their favorites.
“We’re so thankful for our customers,” says Katia Anaya, the bakery’s human resources director.
Pancho Anaya began implementing safety procedures at the bakery two weeks before required by the City. Customers are now required to use hand sanitizer before being handed a tray and tongs to select items from the display cases. Employees are required to wear masks, no in-store dining is allowed and acrylic partitions separate the customer from the cashier. She says most people were glad for the safety measures, though they did have some pushback.
One major change Pancho Anaya implemented early on was to split up baking teams in the production and common areas, creating distance for employees.
Pancho Anaya does a lot of wholesale business to local restaurants, which was dramatically affected by COVID-19, though Anaya says business — particularly wholesale telera (bread used for tortas) — is picking up significantly.
Even at the height of the pandemic, there were a few items Pancho Anaya never stopped making. Those most popular include bolio — a Mexican-style French baguette — churros and doughnuts. Pancho Anaya also is known for its concha, a shell-shaped bread with either chocolate or vanilla paste.
One area of business Anaya says dropped significantly is orders for birthday parties, quinceañeras and other large events.
“I think it’s going to take some time for those large events to pick back up,” Anaya says.
Until then, customers continue to order Pancho Anaya’s famous tres leches cake, churros and other sweets for their small gatherings.
Pancho Anaya has three locations: 2420 E. Admiral Blvd., 11685 E. 21st St. and 212 S. Garnett Road.