El Paso Has Bowie – Sunland Park Has Carlos
by Sergio Olivas
El Pasoans recognize local names such as Chico’s Tacos and Bowie Bakery. Little is known, however, of a local bakery in the Land of Enchantment: Carlos Bakery. Established in 1991, Carlos Bakery has been serving Sunland Park baked goods including other Mexican products. In an interview, owner Carlos Juarez II describe the history of the bakery.
Carlos’s father, Carlos Sr., moved into Sunland Park from El Paso in 1990, buying a home and an extra lot. Buying land in New Mexico was relatively inexpensive compared to the land offered in Texas. “My dad had money to invest,” said Carlos. “He wanted to invest it in something, he just didn’t know what at the time.” Carlos’s uncle, Leopole, managed a bakery in Albuquerque, but unfortunately suffered financial difficulties. Carlos Sr. had a lot and investment money; Leopole was an experienced baker with working equipment. This left the two the opportunity to start a bakery together. Carlos Bakery was well received in Sunland Park that by 1991 the bakery had expanded its line-up to serve burritos and tamales.
Given its unique location along McNutt road, Carlos Bakery knows most of its customers, serving a secluded Sunland Park. “I have friends in El Paso that don’t know about Sunland Park. They come by for the Casino and Western Playland, but they don’t keep going into Sunland Park.” Regardless of the isolationism, the busy road always yields large business. “We have our regulars,” stated Carlos. “At five AM on weekdays, we sell burritos to people who don’t make their own breakfast in the morning. The deshebrada (shredded beef) burritos are the ones that sell the most.” He later went on to explain the volume of the weekend: “People come in droves to buy baked goods and menudo typically before or after church.”
While little is known about this successful bakery in the eyes of most El Pasoans, it is fitting to recognize the small business success that is happening in the peripheral communities and their contributions to the El Paso economy. A simple example: a majority portion of payments incurred by the 11-15 employees at Carlos Bakery are spent in El Paso given its proximity.
What is it to take away from small businesses in Sunland Park like Carlos Bakery? The entrepreneurship is there; it is just a matter of going further down the road.
Carlos Bakery open between 5 AM and 2 PM, and it is located at 2101 McNutt Road, Sunland Park, New Mexico.