SAN ANTONIO — Santos Martinez believes that coffee is a bridge.
“Coffee does transcend gender and age and culture and race. It does, and it’s strange how coffee is like that for so many people,” Santos Martinez said.
That’s what it is for so many people that live in San Antonio’s Deco District.
Santos and his wife Janell Martinez own Dulce Sueños Coffee, which started out as a coffee truck in 2021.
“During the pandemic, that was a benefit for us. It made people feel comfortable that they didn’t have to go to a place of business,” Janell Martinez said.
Now they’re in a brick-and-mortar location, which can be a huge risk, especially in a competitive coffee industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of new businesses fail within two years and 45% fail within five years.
“It’s not easy. I mean, to call [yourself a] business owner is easy. I mean, it’s the exact opposite, but you dig deep and have to figure it out,” Santos Martinez said.
It’s safe to say that they figured it out as they share the same space as Panderia Jimenez.
Spectrum News 1 asked Janell and Santos Martinez if this partnership made life easier.
“Yeah, I think some of the stress we are able to share…I think there’s enough shoulders around here if one of us is in need of something, we got a someone to lean on,” Santos Martinez said.
Santos and Janell said this partnership has been vital especially now that inflation has raised the prices of cups, milk, eggs and other ingredients to make a successful bakery and coffee shop.
“Oh my gosh, the cups have raised double. The other one has to stay positive. We both can’t be thinking negative, and for us, I’m thankful for that because not everybody has that,” Janell Martinez says.
Not too many places have experts in the bakery making pan dulce and experts on the bar, making cafecito.
A simple combination that Mexicans have been doing since the dawn of time, it’s also a combination that has allowed this coffee shop and panaderia to thrive.
“I think culturally, bread and coffee just go together, and so when we talk bread, coffee, location, culture, it’s just nostalgia for some people,” Janell Martinez said.