DOWNEY - After months of anticipation, Downtown Downey is getting ready to change. Starting next week demolition will begin on the future Porto's Bakery site, located near the corner of Firestone Boulevard and Downey Avenue"We're constructing a brand new building from the ground up," said co-owner Raul Porto, who expects the store to open next May. "It will be completely different from our other locations. The design of the building will be more modern, it's going to be beautiful - and it will have many of the same food items." Similar to its locations in Glendale and Burbank, the Downey store will prepare all of Porto's signature pastries, cakes, sandwiches and desserts on site. "Each store sells what the customers like," Porto said. "Because we're a family-owned business, it gives us the ability to test things. We find out what the popular items are." In preparation for their new Downey location, Porto's Bakery has a booth at Downey's farmers market every Saturday where Porto's workers sell pastries and inform shoppers about their stores. "We're not waiting to open to get involved in the community," said Porto, in a phone interview. "We chose Downey and every expectation we have is good." Before the Porto family decided to bring their store to Downey, Porto recalls the most asked question he would receive from customers. "When are you coming to my city?," Porto said. "We asked them, "Where would you want us to open it?" After surveying many of their customers, Porto said Downey was one of the areas people suggested as a possible new location. "We took everyone's zip codes and there was a pocket within Downey, Whittier and the surrounding cities," said Porto. "We met the mayor and everything came together in that area. We're receiving a lot of positive feedback, even more than when we opened in Burbank." According to their website, Porto's Bakery was founded in 1974 by Rosa and Raul Porto Sr., who started off making custom decorated cakes and Cuban baked goods. As the bakery's clientele began to grow, the small store eventually relocated into a 20,000-square-foot facility in 1993. Porto's opened a second location in Burbank in 2006. Once completed, the new 15,000-square-foot facility will include a rear two-story parking garage to accommodate their customers. "There will be a courtyard between the buildings with some water features," said Porto. "It's going to be a lot more than just a store."
********** Published: October 2, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 24