Meet Aminta Elgin and Ana Castro — the tenacious, kind-hearted, pupusa-producing sisters running Salvadorean Bakery in Seattle’s White Center neighborhood. Ana and Aminta have been giving Washington a taste of El Salvador and giving back to their community since 1996. Stay tuned for our blog post for a more in-depth look into Salvadorean Bakery and all its glory. But for now, get to know Ana and Aminta in a Q&A as they discuss their grandma’s bakery in El Salvador, the friendly community in White Center, and their dream of leaving a Salvadorean Bakery legacy.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?
Aminta: My grandma had a little bakery in the back of the house [in El Salvador]. My grandfather built the oven out of bricks, and my aunt and my grandma were really good bakers in the little town we lived in, Rosario de la Paz. So, I learned from my grandma and my aunt how to bake cookies and all the stuff we bake here. They were really well known in the town, and everything was made from scratch.
Ana: I remember we had the biggest oven in the whole town. Christmas was like a festival in my grandmother’s house because everybody came to bake. She lent the oven to everybody in the community. And that’s how we got involved. I was so excited to see all these people and kids coming over and everybody wanted to bake cookies.
What’s your favorite part about White Center and why?
Aminta: People here are very kind and very friendly — they help each other be part of the community, and that’s what we like. We get to know each other, and we want everyone to succeed and be good. That’s why we take the extra step to help our neighbors.
Ana: I remember one time our [rice] grinder broke and we didn’t know what to do, and we didn’t know a lot places. So, I went to the Vietnamese supermarket on 16th where I knew the owner really well, and he let me use his [grinder]. We’ve become like a family here in the area.
Why is it important to you two and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?
Aminta: We want to stay here. We want to be able to survive the pandemic. The community loves us, and they would miss us so much if we closed our doors. And we’re very grateful for our community because they’ve supported us a lot. People love the bakery, and we want to stay here for those people.
Ana: One of our dreams we hope we can achieve is to leave the legacy of Salvadorean Bakery here in White Center so people remember us. Salvadorean Bakery is small, but a lot of the Salvadorian people who come here feel like they’re at home. I’ll never forget when this young man walked through the door a few years ago and said, “Thank God, this is El Salvador for me!”