A sweet spot in El Paso will continue doling out much-needed pastries and mood boosters after the current business owner found someone to take the reins.
Bella Cora, a bakery with Westside and Far East locations, will have a new owner this week. Jonathan Bowden, the bakery’s founder, put the business up for sale in June after announcing he and his family are moving away from El Paso.
The new owner of Bella Cora will be Jessica Zaragoza, a native El Pasoan with culinary training. Bowden’s last day at Bella Cora is Sept. 19, and Zaragoza’s first day is Sept. 20.
“It’s been pretty crazy trying to buy and sell a house, run and sell a business and do some traveling recently,” Bowden said. “Thankfully we have an amazing staff and they’ve been able to handle everything without any real hiccups.”
Bowden said the business is in the home stretch of changing owners, and Zaragoza is already in the kitchen training and working with staff.
Zaragoza is a native El Pasoan and attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, Canada. She also received training from the French Pastry School in Chicago.
“I’m really excited about this new opportunity,” Zaragoza said. “I’ve always been a fan of Bella Cora and have always followed Jonathan. When the opportunity came it was definitely something I wanted to do.”
The bakery has fared well during the coronavirus pandemic that has caused widespread disruptions in business across the country. Bowden said year-to-date sales are up from 2019, and things like specials and promotions are still doing well.
“Because we were always primarily a takeout business, we haven’t fared poorly because of COVID,” Bowden said. “It’s actually up from last year. Staff has maintained employment throughout the scope of quarantine.”
Bowden will be leaving El Paso to attend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He said the move is bittersweet, and that El Paso has felt more like home than any place he’s lived.
“We’re certainly not leaving because we don’t like El Paso – we love it – we just have another chapter. We’ll certainly miss our home,” Bowden said.
Email El Paso Inc. reporter Sara Sanchez at email@example.com or call (915) 534-4422.