What: Family-run business featuring fresh-baked bread, pastries, cookies, cakes and more
Where: 22605 N.E. Halsey St., Fairview
Hours: 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday; closed Monday
It's a measure of Tany's Bakery's fierce reputation for lovingly prepared, melt-in-your-mouth pastries, cakes, bread and cookies that for 17 successful years it has operated with a former business's sign above its doorway.
As Tany's co-owner Rudy Loeza explains, the landlord of the building at 22605 N.E. Halsey St. in Fairview has, for whatever reason, preferred to leave the Sonny's Donuts sign in place — since 2003.
"We can't take it off," said Loeza, adding with a sly smile, "but a lot of people know where we're at."
And a lot of people also know the efforts of the Loeza family — siblings Rudy, Shelly, Emanuel and Tania, along with mother Graciela and founding father Rodolfo "Tany" Loeza — are worth returning for again and again.
"We worry about the sign," Rudy adds, "but we have so many orders to push out."
To keep up with daily demand for Tany's uniquely crafted goods, Tany arrives most mornings by 3 a.m., followed soon after by Rudy. Other family members gradually file in, including Shelly, who takes the afternoon shifts with her husband, Octavio.
When the doors of the cramped-but-cozy shop open at 5 a.m., the Loezas are on hand and ready to greet a steady flow of hungry customers. Many, actually come from far and wide to pick up the family-made conchas, doughnuts, Bavarian cream-filled Empanadas, Mexican-style breads and elaborately decorated cakes.
"From Tuesday through Friday, we basically see the same customers," Rudy says. "Then from Friday afternoon through Sunday, we get more outsiders: from Longview (Washington), Hood River, The Dalles — they come for our bread ... A family will come and get bread for a whole week. They probably have some other things to do around here, but they won't leave home without stopping here."
A variation of this successful routine has gone on since 2003, when Rodolfo Loeza, who went from baking goods in his 181st Avenue apartment and selling them door-to-door to opening his own shop.
Before arriving in Oregon, where his wife's family lived, Rodolfo, now 53, apprenticed as a baker in Chicago. He immigrated there from his native Mexico, where other kids nicknamed him "Tany" — short for Estanislado, the day of the Hispanic calendar on which he was born.
"He always had that dream of opening his own bakery," says Rudy, 23, of his father. "His specialty was baking, and he wanted to share his passion. When he visited Gresham, he saw a city that opened opportunities for him."
As a little boy in Chicago, Rudy remembers watching his father hone his craft. He knew he was destined to follow in his footsteps.
"I went to school and everything, but after school, this was my sport," he says. "I came home, did my homework and (went to help) dad with baking."
These days, Rudy concentrates on pastries, cakes and decorations; brother Emanuel on bread making; Shelly on decorating and customer service; and the youngest, Tania, 14, helps out wherever she can.
Shelly, 28, has helped her dad in the baking business since she was about 7 years old.
"I like being creative," she says. "I can be myself and (work on) anything I would like to decorate. There's a freedom to learn here. It's fun. It's a lot of work, too."
Graciela, the Loeza family matriarch, does "a little bit of everything," Rudy says. That includes making sure her kids maintain a balance between work and fun.
"Even though my dad's the boss, she has the last word," Rudy says with a warm smile. "She's an old-school mom, always putting you in your place ... She understands this is a business."
If the Loezas have an overriding philosophy for Tany's, it's making sure customers always know what they're getting.
"The thing we work for is quality and consistency. If you come in a week, month, two years or three years from now, you'll get the (same) result as when you first bought from us," Rudy says. "That's real important to us. We want to get fresh bread to your table — real consistent, nothing packaged, everything fresh baked every day."
With nearly 20 years of success in quarters increasingly consumed by baking equipment and display cases, the Loezas are looking toward opening a second location.
"We may turn this into a cafe. It's too small for us to bake in now," he says, noting buying property in Gresham is his goal. "Gresham is the heart of (East Multnomah County). That's where we want to be."
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