WAUKESHA — You can get a taste of Puerto Rico while walking through downtown Waukesha. But the new bakery, M&M Custom Bakery Creations, isn't just serving up sweet treats. You can get a full meal there too.
"I started off in my own kitchen. It was just something temporarily during the COVID season," Lilliam Mejias, the owner of the bakery at 310 W. St. Paul Ave. in Waukesha, said.
It turns out she was good at it. So, she started selling her cakes and other sweets. That was so successful, she decided to open her own Puerto Rican bakery in downtown Waukesha. However, things didn't take off immediately.
"Lots of banks turned us down because they thought it wasn’t going to go anywhere," she said.
So far, Mejias said business has been going better than expected. In fact, she is already looking ahead to her future shops.
Along with a gluten-free bakery, she also has plans for "opening up a sugar-free bakery."
Mejias, who is from Puerto Rico, wanted to open a shop that she felt she could relate to. It gives her and the local Puerto Rican community a reminder of traditional dishes like pastalillos.
“Here they can get that little piece of, you know, feeling that they’re home.”
Plus, it allows her culture to be shared with people who might be familiar with it.
Mejias' big sellers are her custom cakes and cupcakes. She said she prides herself on being accommodating to each customer's needs. It's more than baking, though. You can get lunch there too.
"We offer frituras, mofongo, Puerto Rican rice, roasted pork, shishkabobs," she said.
Those meals aren't advertised as prominently as the baked goods, but if you go inside during lunchtime, all you have to do is ask about their delicious meals.
While running a two-month-old bakery, Mejias is also caring for her own 11-month-old. But that's not all. She has six kids in total: 8, 7, 5, 4, 2, and 11 months old. As you can imagine, juggling that size of a family and being a new business owner is not easy.
"Sometimes it gets to the point that it's stressful," she said. "But it's nothing that you know, moms always there for them."
Fortunately, this is a family business.
"I have my auntie and my family that actually supports me, so they actually help me in here while I’m actually with my kids.”
All this is on top of the multiple sclerosis (MS) she battles every day. Although Mejias said her medication makes it easier to handle her MS.
"I do get small relapses, but they’re not relapses that are really, really bad."
All around, Lilliam Mejias is a feat of nature to have so much on her plate, but being able to handle it all so well.
M&M Custom Bakery Creations is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.