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Manolo Betancur, Manolo’s Bakery
Overall and Southeast Tiptree World Bread Awards Hero USA supported by IBIE
Manolo Betancur emigrated to the USA from Columbia 20 years ago with just two pairs of pants, two shirts, a pair of shoes, very little money in his pockets and no English in his repertoire.
In 2011 he bought the first Hispanic bakery in Charlotte and 7 years later renamed it Manolo’s Bakery. Now a thriving and successful business, Manolo's produces over 65 types of artisan breads from traditional Mexican conchas to Salvadorian empanadas, a vast variety of cakes and desserts, and offers a top-quality catering service. Manolo believes strongly in supporting his local community and uses his influence for the greater good. His bakery’s vision is: Nuestro Pan, Nuestra Gente, Nuestro Futuro which translates as Our Bread, Our People, Our Future.
"Our Bread", says Manolo, represents our tradition, from our home countries to this new land. It is something that makes us proud.
"Our People" refers to the brave women and men who dared to come to this country. Their sacrifice is a fundamental part of this nation.
"Our Future" ensures that the culture and values our people bring are not only conserved but instilled from generation to generation."
The week of Epiphany is the most profitable time of the year for the bakery and since 2011, Manolo’s have taken 10% of their profits from that week and donated them to a local charity. In 2021 the team decided to donate thermal blankets to Charlotte’s homeless neighbors in the encampments uptown. Manolo had purchased 100 blankets to donate however, on Jan 7, his wife lost her sense of smell and he began to exhibit mild cold and flu symptoms. They got tested for COVID-19 and both came back positive. Unable to leave his house to deliver the blankets, Manolo posted about his predicament on social media. He received dozens of comments from people in the Latino community who were willing to lend a hand and eventually, all the blankets were delivered to those in need. The team also worked hard during the pandemic to ensure EVERY CHILD in Mecklenburg County had a cake on their birthday.
“We cannot change what is happening around us,” says Manolo, “but we CAN change how kids remember their birthday during the Pandemic! With so much going on and all the uncertainty, many think they can’t change what’s happening around them, but with the right support, we can change our future by creating opportunities that will allow us to grow and keep dreaming.”