Elvia Perez and her family have owned Super Pan Bakery in the Virgil Village community at the intersection of Virgil and Monroe avenues for over 20 years. On any day of the week, locals could stop by the bakery on a crisp morning with less than five dollars for fresh pan dulce or sweet bread, breakfast bolillos made of eggs, cream and frijoles, warm chicken tamales, and even a cup of coffee. In a community of immigrant families where the majority of family members work at or below minimum wage, items and prices like these not only represent culture, but protect it, providing a sense of place for young and ‘old’ residents alike.
In 2017, ownership of the building where Super Pan is located changed hands, and in hopes of a fresh start with the new landlord, Elvia and her family sought a written lease agreement for the bakery with the incoming owner, then Miguel Palacios. Miguel assured the family that he would sign a lease with them, but only after they made repairs to the space.
Doña Elvia then invested over four months’ worth of time into repair and renovations for the building, including the installation of a new ceiling, new floors, and new electrical routes through the space, all of which she paid for out of her own pocket. The renovations were completed March of this year, but when Elvia presented the repairs to Palacios in search of the lease agreement, Palacios refused to sign any agreement with her.
Earlier this year, Miguel Palacios sold the property to another landlord, though not without falsely stating to the incoming owner that Doña Elvia and her family had only occupied the space at Virgil and Monroe for just two years prior. When Elvia and her family met with the new owner’s representative, then, they informed him that this was false and and that they had the tax documents since 1998 to prove it.
Although the representative sympathized with the family, however, he nevertheless informed them that sixty days to leave the property was the best he could do for them.
On August 16, 2018, the new ownership of the space gave Doña Elvia and her family a 60 day Notice to Terminate Tenancy.
As of this writing, the family now has less than 23 days to leave their 20-year-old bakery behind, where Doña Elvia’s children and even grandchildren have grown up.
Although Doña Elvia and her family are disheartened by the whole affair, they are still willing to take their things and relocate as need be, though given more time.
They would like from the new owner either assistance in finding a new location for the bakery or some financial support for their oncoming losses. Ultimately, however, the family is willing to settle for simply more time than the 23 days now looming. They would like until the end of the year to be able to gather their things, which includes more than a score of bulky items, tables, and other belongings which take time to disassemble and relocate. This cannot be an impossible request from the new ownership to grant the family, but now it’s incumbent on the community to support the family in their ask.
Over the next few blogs, we will outline a few different ways that we can support Super Pan Bakery. In the meantime, to learn more about Doña Elvia and her bakery’s place in Virgil Village, supporters can do so at This Side of Hoover HERE.