One of Jackson’s Few Mexican Bakeries Faces Uncertain Future

La Canasta del Pan, or the Bread Basket of Jackson Hole, will have to leave its current location in the coming months.
Juan Morillón
Juan Morillón prepares dough to make traditional Mexican bread at La Canasta del Pan, or the Bread Basket of Jackson Hole. (Alicia Unger/KHOL)

 

Leer y escuchar en español.

La Canasta del Pan, or the Bread Basket of Jackson Hole, is one of the only Mexican bakeries in Jackson and a unique business beloved by its customers, many of whom are Latino. The bakery has been around for 11 years, but now faces an uncertain future as the owners will have to leave their current location on Scott Lane in West Jackson in the coming months to make way for the expansion of their neighbor and a fellow local business: Sweet Cheeks Meats.

Listen above to hear reporter Will Walkey interview KHOL Spanish-language correspondent Alicia Unger about her reporting on the plight of the bakery, followed by Unger’s full feature story in Spanish.

WILL WALKEY/KHOL: Alicia Unger, thank you so much, as always, for joining KHOL.

ALICIA UNGER: Thank you very much, as always, for giving me the opportunity to tell these stories.

KHOL: So, for this recent story, you profiled a business in town that’s really important for the Latino community and also is coming on some hard times. Will you tell me a little bit about this story?

UNGER: Yes. The bakery is called The Bread Basket of Jackson Hole, and in Spanish, La Canasta del Pan.* They’re located pretty much in downtown, and the bakery has been there for 11 years. But since the last three years, a new couple came into the business and took over. Their names are Juan Morillón and Guillermina Jiménez. When they took over, they didn’t know anything about a bakery business, so they started learning. It was a big adventure for them. But at the same time, it was a need because they have two kids–they have four kids, but two are in university. So, for them, they need this business to make it happen to help the kids.

So, when they took over the bakery, the first year was, you know, very slow. And then when things started getting better, the pandemic hit. So, the whole [first] year of the pandemic was really bad, and then apparently they couldn’t recuperate after that. The business next to them saw an opportunity and decided to expand. So, of course, the owner said yes to the butcher [Sweet Cheeks Meats]. And so now the couple are struggling because although they are very grateful for the opportunity of being in that space. They’re struggling because there is no space where they can move the bakery.

La Canasta del Pan

Customers wait in line to order at La Canasta del Pan in Jackson. The bakery will have to vacate its current premise on Scott Lane in West Jackson in the coming months, and the owners are struggling to find a new location they can afford. (Alicia Unger/KHOL)

KHOL: Can you tell me just quickly about the products that they sell? And can you get these sorts of products anywhere else in Jackson Hole?

UNGER: The main product is Mexican bread and Mexican pastries. You may find these types of pastries in other stores, especially in the Mexican ones, but they are prefabricated by big companies or they’re not fresh. So, it’s very difficult to find a baker that does this type of product fresh.

KHOL: This is a story in many ways about the challenging business community of Jackson Hole. An important voice that you got from this is actually the owner of the building who’s facilitating this change, and unfortunately, he’s a part of the bakery having to leave. What did the business owner say when you talked to them?

UNGER: The owner was very kind to take my phone call, even though his health is not [in] very good condition right now. He was very kind to take my call and explained to me that this decision that he had to take is merely business. Unfortunately, because [of] his condition, he has to look after his family, and this was a good opportunity for them.

KHOL: And so what’s the latest for the bakery owners? What are they doing now? What’s the future of the bakery?

UNGER: The bakery will no longer exist. The butcher that is next to the bakery will expand the business and the bakery will go away completely. So, the owners of the bakery right now are looking for another space, and they are asking the community for help if they hear or know about any space in town to please let them know. They prefer to stay in Jackson. However, they understand that if they can’t, they’re willing to move their business to Driggs or Victor. And I just want to add the fact that Juan and Guillermina are very grateful to the owner, and the owner is wishing them the best of luck.

KHOL: Well, thank you very much Alicia. We’ll now take the listener to your story en español. Gracias.

UNGER: Thank you. Enjoy it.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: The radio version of this interview identifies the bakery as “The Basket” or “La Canasta.” The web version has been updated to include the bakery’s full name, The Bread Basket of Jackson Hole or La Canasta del Pan.

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About Alicia Unger

Born in Mexico City, Alicia is a multi-platform journalist with more than 20 years of experience in radio and television. As a news producer, anchor and reporter, Alicia has earned several Emmy nominations and awards. Currently, she also serves as KHOL's Spanish-language correspondent.

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