Raul Porto Jr. CEO of the incredibly popular Porto's Bakery, joined Jane Wells in the latest episode of CEOs You Should Know.
Porto's Bakery has become known for the tasty treats that have customers lining up around the block at the four locations around Southern California. The bakery isn't just one of the most beloved around Southern California, it's also an incredible example of the American Dream in action.
Raul says after his grandmother left Cuba in 1960, she petitioned for the rest of her family to join her in California, which caused the Cuban government to mistreat his family, leaving them with few options. That's when Raul's mother, Rosa, began baking cakes in her house.
In 1971, Raul says his mother and the rest of their family was able to fly into Cuba, with little more than the clothes on their backs and Rosa's wedding band. When Rosa and her family arrived in California from Cuba with only the clothes on their back, they had nothing but Rosa's baking skills and a dream for a better life in America.
After arriving in California, Rosa began baking and selling her cakes out of her house to friends and family who'd heard about her amazing creations.
"You know, I don't think anybody ever thought that she was going to open a small place, but it got to a point where, cars would come up, they're asking 'Where's the lady who makes the cakes?'" Raul said of his mother's baking.
Over the years, her cakes began to gain popularity in the neighborhood and in 1976, Raul's parents decided it was time to open a store. The first official storefront for Porto's Bakery was opened in 1976, on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, California. Raul's father, Raul Sr. would help out when he wasn't working for another local bakery.
Along with his siblings, Raul Jr. says he was always at the bakery helping his parents after school and on the weekends.
"My sister Betty would manage the front, I worked in the back with my mom and my youngest sister, who was 13, she would help out too," Raul said. "6:30 we would close the bakery, we'd go home and eat dinner as a family. T his was seven days a week."
I think I went to one football game my whole high school, and one dance," Raul said. "The rest of the time I was working. I don't regret it, I don't look back. ... If I could go back and do it all over again, I don't even know I would change it."
After Raul and his siblings graduated college, they began to take on larger roles within the company as the family added additional locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downy and Buena Park. A fifth location is scheduled to open in West Covina later this year.