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Community helps save Lopez Bakery and Restaurant, open for 50 years in Milwaukee

By Julia Fello,


MILWAUKEE — A 50-year-old business at risk of closing its doors , is back at it!

The community rallied behind our south side staple: Lopez Bakery & Restaurant. An owner of the family business gave thanks to those who help them stay open.

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"I was ready to quit, I was done," said Cynthia Lopez, referring to when the family business fell on hard times and temporarily closed last month.

Lopez says she was facing a $50,000 bill to replace her commercial oven, and dealing with lingering business impacts from COVID, adding, "My in-laws getting sick - it was so much that I think I hit rock bottom."

The community heard the call for help and stepped up. "I was even getting donations from Alaska and how great is that?! I didn't realize that many people cared!"

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Other restaurant owners also offered to help, including an owner of Bel Air Cantina and Fuel Cafe.

Then, Emerald City catering raised nearly $20,000, helping them finally fix their oven. Cynthia says, "We were able to pay our employees, got to pay other bills we were a little behind on."

Some of those employees have been with them for decades, including Lourdes Hernandez-Lopez, who is about to hit 20 years.

Above all, nothing comes close to sounding sweeter to Cynthia than the squeak of her oven door and it turning on again. Loyal customers like Guillermo Loisa agrees. "I'm happy that they're back open again. Aside from the bakery, they also have food, like tacos, flautas, empanada, coffee, everything."

"I mean, I have goosebumps just thinking about it. It was just so great, it gave me hope again," said Lopez.

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The Lopez family is happy to be back, giving back themselves - putting together nearly 100 packages of food for the Hungry Hearts Free Meal Program each week.

They also look forward to the warmer weather when they are at farmer's markets in Brookfield and Greenfield.

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