Founded in 1951, La Victoria Bakery was one of the oldest Mexican-owned businesses in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. On Tuesday, it shut its doors. While gentrification may have played a role, it’s not the main reason. Instead, a family struggle has led to the closing of the iconic establishment.
Gabriel Maldonado founded the bakery 67 years ago. Originally located across the street from its last address at 24th and Alabama, it moved in the early 1960s. When Gabriel opened the bakery, the 24th Street shopping corridor mostly housed Irish and Italian restaurants. But by the time the bakery moved across the street and Gabriel had bought several surrounding businesses and residences, Mexican and Central American immigrants started to call the Mission home.
In 1997, Gabriel’s son, Jaime, took over the bakery, which he ran until recently. However, the ownership of the building was entrusted to a family trust, which his wife (Jaime’s stepmother), Susana Maldonado, is in charge of, according to the San Francisco Chronicler. The family hasn’t dealt with the rising rents common with gentrification, but the bakery has struggled in the last few years and sought creative solutions. Amid those troubles, members of the family have engaged in legal battles and faced financial issues in the last couple of years.
This ended with the trust putting the building on the market for $3.4 million, and as part of this settlement, Jaime subleased the bakery to someone else. Laura Hernandez took over in January of this year and though she reportedly saw some success, the trust served her with an evacuation notice in August. Though Laura has fought this, the bakery had to move out by October 10.
It’s not the end of the bakery, however. They’re looking for a new spot now, and are working at a commercial baking space to bake bread for the upcoming holiday season.