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18 January 2022

Adolfo Villafines: "In a village, the most important thing is to get a good team of workers together"

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4 min.
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The baker believes that the key to being popular is to do things well, to train to keep up to date and to have a well-informed shop staff.

Adolfo Villafines, Miga de Oro Galicia 2021, is the owner of La Pintora, a century-old family bakery and pastry shop located in Nigrán (Pontevedra), a coastal town of about 4,000 inhabitants. 

He grew up in the house where the bakery is located, and for years he combined his work in the bakery with physiotherapy and physical education. He is now fully dedicated to La Pintora. 

1.- What are the advantages and disadvantages for a baker working in a rural environment?

After almost 140 years in this same enclave, on the main road that connects Vigo-Nigrán with Baiona, La Pintora is in a strategic location for the 32,000 inhabitants that live between the two municipalities. All are advantages when it comes to having a business in a town so close to a big city like Vigo. The only disadvantage I can think of is that if we want to launch new challenges aimed at trends such as veganism, salt-free, gluten-free, vegetarianism... we are limited, as there is not as many interested customers as if we were in a capital city.

2.- What are the keys to being popular and attracting people from other nearby towns?

Doing things as well as possible, continuing our training to keep up to date and a shop staff with the necessary information to present the product well.  The fact that we have a great team makes us grow and be a lively company, transmitting to the customer that we are looking forward to Christmas, Easter, Carnival, etc. And we also have the enthusiasm to offer the most traditional products, but also the most daring and innovative ones during the festive season. Social networks help us as a means of transmission; they are a tool that should not be ignored nowadays.

3.- Does having an establishment in a coastal town force you to adjust costs and adapt to the tastes of a very specific clientele? Or, on the contrary, does it allow you to be creative and experiment? 

The municipalities of Nigrán and Baiona, in their high season of July and August, increase their population threefold. La Pintora, as a neighbourhood bakery, owes its customers all year round, its neighbours and the inhabitants of the surrounding area.  For all these reasons, the focus in production is always designed for the year-round population, adjusting to their tastes and with reasonable prices. It is true that tourists are eager to try our breads and desserts, but they demand our traditional products much more than our innovative ones. Santiago cakes, empanadas and Galician bread rolls are some of the most popular items with tourists.

4.- Does the fact that you are not in a big city cause you any problems when it comes to getting all the products you need? Do you have to place more orders or order more in advance? 

Not at all, nowadays it is not a problem at all, the suppliers we work with are totally trustworthy and they are the ones who make sure we don't miss anything.

5.- Do factors such as the weather affect the normal running of the bakery?

Right now, if the power goes out due to lightning, which is the most serious thing, it is restored in a couple of hours. They are moments of some haste, but it happens very occasionally.

6.- What message would you give to all those colleagues who want to set up in a village, but have not yet taken the plunge?

Without a doubt, the most important thing is to get a good team of workers together, as they are the fundamental links in any business in order to do things really well. When the human staff is ready to embark on a new project, we can think about setting up a bakery, wherever it is, the rest is monetary investment.

The human side of sales is what we need to focus on. The shop assistants play a very important role and in a village even more so; respect, humility and openness is one of our premises behind the counter. Customers, when they feel at ease, will travel many kilometres to come and get their favourite bread and desserts.