Puerto Rican bakery Cidrines is marking its 40th anniversary as a family-owned business with plans to blanket all of the United States by June 2019, its owners said during a news conference.
In the last two years, the company grew by 8 percent, while in the United States it grew by 350 percent during the same period.
“The emigration of Hispanics to the United States, and in particular of Puerto Ricans, is an important opportunity for Cidrines,” said Guillermo Cidre, commercial director of Cidrines, adding that for that group of people, consuming the brands they recognize is a way to keep their roots alive.
Cidrines is currently in 18 states on the east and south coasts of the United States, with presence in the Bravo, Fiesta Supermarkets, Kroger, Sedano’s, Winn Dixie and Walmart chains. Its expansion plan includes having a presence in the 50 states by June 2019.
Cidrines opened in Arecibo, Puerto Rico in 1978, founded by brothers Manuel and Guillermo Cidre. Ten years later, the success of the original establishment, thanks in large part to its legendary “quesitos” (cheese-filled pastries) and “pan sobao,” (sweet bread) Cidrines had become the only bakery chain, under the same name, in Puerto Rico.
Today, the company generates more than 250 direct jobs and more than 500 indirect jobs.
Furthermore, the second generation of Cidres — Guillermo and Mateo — are continuing the company’s tradition of business excellence. Guillermo is the company’s commercial director and Mateo owns the Sobao and La Bodeguita de Manolo concepts in the Río Piedras and Condado areas of San Juan.
“In each step of our evolution, we have learned. I learned that an error, like a bread recipe that was sweeter than expected, can in fact give way to an unplanned opportunity,” said Manuel Cidre, co-founder of the company, stressing that each lesson was a step in its business development.
“I learned there is no need to fear facing a bigger competitor; I learned that bread does not have a demographic profile — it is sought by a university student, a retired person or a professional,” he said.
“And I learned that Puerto Ricans buy baked bread on impulse. So we took bread out of the bakeries and put it in places where nobody expects the smell of hot bread — pharmacies, gas stations and supermarkets,” said Cidre.
Cidrines products are made in Puerto Rico, something company President María Cidre said “translates into in a genuine and tangible social commitment with the community and our support to entities that aspire through their efforts to improve the quality of life of our people. This duty is not limited to donating products, but includes in a prominent way the donation of our best asset: our human resource.”
Most recently, and after the passage of Hurricane Maria, Cidrines turned to support the town of Arecibo, providing free bread on a daily basis to the municipal shelter during the six months of its operation, while employees at all levels collaborated in the recovery of the communities and helped in the distribution of supplies donated by them and the company.