Pandemic throws wrench in works for Lodi couple’s bakery

Lynn and Fausto Echeverria are hoping to open Ruby’s Bakery and Cafe on Church Street in the coming months, and have started a GoFundMe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy)

After 15 years of making pastries at a French-inspired bakery in San Francisco, Lynn Echeverria and her husband Fausto were laid off in 2019.

Their sudden unemployment didn’t deter them from continuing on as bakers, as the couple, living in Livermore at the time, decided to move to San Joaquin County and open their very own business.

Within months the couple found a location in Downtown Lodi, had blueprints drafted and approved by the City of Lodi planning department, and had secured loans that would let them open a bakery they had been dreaming of since 2010.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic brought everything to a halt.

“We were almost a year into planning things,” Lynn Echeverria said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to actually open soon. We’ve always wanted to open something, particularly our own restaurant or bakery. We just wanted to do something we loved.”

The Echeverrias were planning to open Ruby’s Bakery and Cafe — named after their daughter — at 11 S. Church St., in one of the new units created by their landlord. The address is the former home of McKellar’s Taekwondo.

The couple are hoping to offer French-style pastries, much like they had done in San Francisco.

“Unfortunately, we ran into a hiccup and had extra costs to our buildout that set us back a bit,” Echeverria said. “When we found our space, the building was empty, and we had to put in the plumbing and electricity, and that turned out to take a lot of the money we had already saved up.”

Because Ruby’s isn’t open, and because the couple does not currently own their own home, Echeverria said loans are hard to obtain.

So, like many who have run into hard financial times and are banking on the kindness of strangers, the couple turned to GoFundMe with the goal of raising $20,000 to help pay for unexpected costs and to finally open for business. As of Wednesday, the couple had raised $4,525.

“Lodi has such a great downtown atmosphere, and when we found this location, we jumped at it,” Echeverria said. “Some of the other places we looked at weren’t built for kitchens, or they were going to need a lot of work for what we wanted to do or could afford to do.”

The couple now lives in Lodi, and are hoping to have Ruby’s open by the end of the year.

“We’re really excited to be in the community,” Echeverria said. “We want to be a part of it, and we look forward to supporting our fellow businesses, as well as providing something new for the Lodi community.”

To donate to the Echeverrias, visit www.tinyurl.com/Rubysbakery.

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