When a North Park bakery opened its doors for the first time, just weeks before the Coronavirus Pandemic shut much of San Diego County down, owner Roanna Canete couldn’t believe the bad timing.
But, The Gluten Free Baking Co. turned out to be exactly what many San Diego families needed and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Some of Canete’s core customers are local families with members who have Celiac Disease or severe gluten intolerance.
"I have clients if they get one crumb of gluten in their food, cross-contamination, they'll be sick for three days and right now that's the last thing anyone needs," Canete said.
Her customers were having a tough time finding essential gluten-free food on regular store shelves.
So her little bakery became one of the smallest grocery stores around.
Along with selling pasta and other hard to find items, she tapped into her supply chain and started selling scarce things like gloves, toilet paper, and bleach.
Since many of her customers are also immunocompromised, the tiny bakery became a safe haven of sorts.
"It works in our favor because only one family member can come in at a time. Our customers feel safe, they know what it looks like, they know there won't be a huge line, they know there will be social distancing," Canete said.
Canete now prides herself on delivering the essential food so many families need, but good luck getting out of the store without buying a non-essential donut or cupcake.