Husband and wife team Melvin Oliva and Jessica Esquivel bring delicacies from their Guatemalan culture to their bakery in Exeter
EXETER – Those with a sweet tooth are in for a treat at Jireh Bakery in Exeter’s downtown, where locals and visitors alike have found a delicious place to get in their pastry fix.
Named after the Biblical name for God meaning “God will provide,” the bakery was opened by husband and wife Melvin Oliva and Jessica Esquivel in June 2021. The couple moved with their children to the Central Valley and set up shop in Exeter that summer after closing a bakery Oliva had been running in Inglewood.
“The experience over here has been way better than in L.A. We have been getting a lot of support from this town,” Esquivel said.
Esquivel runs the bakery’s day-to-day operations while Oliva bakes all their products. The menu started with mostly Guatemalan pastries, a tribute to Esquivel and Oliva’s home country. The blue color accented around the shop is inspired by the Guatemalan flag.
They still serve Guatemalan treats like sweet empanadas and milhoja, a butter cream pastry, but since opening have expanded their menu to include desserts like blueberry cheese danishes, cannolis and bear claws. They also serve coffee, sandwiches, omelets and crepes.
“The menu and pastries are way different since we started,” Esquivel said. “But I think since more people are getting to know about this place and about our business, then we can start selling more things that are Guatemalan.”
Oliva has been baking since he was a teenager, and always dreamt of opening a bakery.
“This is my husband’s dream, and I adopted his dream,” Esquivel said. Having learned how to bake in culinary school, she often helps Oliva with the baking. Currently, the couple is running the bakery entirely on their own.
Esquivel said she’s excited to see where the future takes her and her husband’s business.
“We are improving, one thing at a time,” she said. “I hope everybody gets to know us so we can serve the community and give them the best we have.”