Zhenia Martinez

Las Delicias
4405-C Central Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205

Zhenia Martinez is co-founder of Las Delicias, a Latino panaderia (bakery) on Charlotte’s Central Avenue. Her parents came from Mexico to Columbia, South Carolina in 1985 when she was eleven, gaining citizenship under President Reagan’s 1986 amnesty. A government bureaucrat in Mexico, Mr. Martinez went to work in a restaurant, then moved into construction where an accident disabled him. He stocked a van with Mexican groceries and drove to small towns to sell to newly arrived Latinos. Seeing the need for a Mexican bakery in Charlotte, he and wife Margarita apprenticed to a baker back in Mexico, then in 1997 opened Las Delicias. When Mr. Martinez retired in 2011, Ms. (Zhenia) Martinez took up the work. The 2008 Recession pushed her partner, Colombian-born Manolo Betancur, to seek new markets. He loaded his car with baked goods and delivered to dozens of tiendas throughout western North Carolina and southwestern Virginia.

Date of interview:

April 24, 2017


Tom Hanchett


Peter Taylor

What started out as a Mexican bakery is now a Latin American bakery. I think what’s happening in Charlotte, as we’re growing so intertwined, we’re seeing a lot more influx of other cultures and sharing with them. We’re growing as a global culture and as a global business. Not tailoring to just one customer, but to everyone.

Lo que empezó como una panadería mexicana es ahora una panadería latinoamericana. Creo que lo que está sucediendo en Charlotte, a medida que estamos creciendo tan entrelazados, estamos viendo mucha más afluencia de otras culturas y el compartir con ellos. Estamos creciendo como una cultura global y como un negocio global. No se hace a medida de un solo cliente, sino para todo el mundo.

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