Meet Kelly’s French Bakery’s New Owners

Javier Ortiz and wife Gabriela Hernandez are the proud owners of the beloved and iconic bakery business they purchased from founders Mark and Kelly Sanchez in October 2022.

Since the early 1990s, Mark and Kelly relied on Javier to manage all of Kelly’s French Bakery baking operations. When Mark and Kelly decided to retire in 2022, they offered to sell the bakery to their longtime friends Ortiz and his spouse, and baker of more than 20 years, Gabriela.

Javier, a Watsonville native, was one of the bakery’s first employees and admired for his work ethic. He was promoted to manager just one year after being hired. “I really loved the work and took pride in the quality of the products — and I don’t know how to work slow!” he claims with a laugh.

Expanding product line, but still authentic Kelly’s

Gabriela found a calling in cake decoration early in her career — and is now busy creating amazingly beautiful and delicious custom cakes for all occasions for customers, from weddings and baptisms to graduations and birthdays.

Since the couple took over ownership of the bakery, they are returning items to their extensive menu of fresh French-inspired baked goods that diminished during the pandemic – and adding new delicious treats created by Gabriela and taste-tested by Ortiz. Now in addition to the purchasing through the Speakeasy, you can also buy their delicacies at the weekend Pop-up.

Javier, Gabriela and the team are pleased to serve you, and we thank you for your patronage!

Special thanks to Aric Sleeper, author of the Dec. 10, 2022 Santa Cruz Sentinel article, “Ownership of iconic Kelly’s French Bakery changes hands,” and Shmuel Thaler for photo credit. The article won a 2022 BetterBNC CA Journalism-print division award.