HOLYOKE — The Ortiz Family Café will be hosting a bingo fundraiser on March 2 at the Unicorn as part of efforts to purchase a new dessert food truck and grow the business.

The bingo fundraiser will have doors open at the Unicorn at 3:30 p.m., with games starting at 5 p.m. Included with a ticket is an appetizer table during the event, beverages (soda, juice or water) and one entry into a door prize raffle. Raffle donations have yet to be shared but will be in the coming weeks through the Ortiz Family Café Facebook page. A cash bar will also be available.

Tickets are $40 per person, but group discounts are available. To purchase a ticket or get more information, visit Ortiz Family Café, or message them on their Facebook page. Limited space will be available.

Owner Ivette Ortiz told Reminder Publishing that after a successful first year for the shop located at 206 Maple St. in downtown Holyoke, she felt expanding with a desserts only food truck was not only a great decision in growing the business, but also it is an opportunity for her to go back to her roots in food services.

“I am more of a hands on, here and there worker, and I felt sometimes being stuck in one place all day was not part of my idea of what I originally wanted my business to be, so I thought why not add a food truck,” Ortiz said.

The café serves breakfast and lunch sandwiches as well as other quick breakfast options, something Ortiz has gotten more used to as her specialty runs in desserts.

Before opening her store, Ortiz used the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to start selling chocolate covered strawberries and other treats from her home. It quickly grew through word of mouth and soon enough Ortiz was making large orders for events as well. While the café still offers options such as these, Ortiz felt a food truck would essentially create another part of the business more in line with her interest and passion.

“I am more specialized in dessert. The food side runs in my family and we thought it was a good idea having food in here, but I specialize in desserts,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz clarified she would be keeping the storefront, and this was an effort to grow the business. She added she would use the truck for public events that invite vendors to the location and would not limit it to just the city of Holyoke and will be open to visiting other states and cities for events as a vendor.

When reflecting on the growth of Ortiz Family Café and this new goal of purchasing a dessert food truck, Ortiz said the community has welcomed her with open arms.

“It was hard for a little to get people in here because nobody really knew who I was. Once I got people in here, I got to meet more people, and things started rolling,” Ortiz said. “I think my motivation for the food truck is them, the people of Holyoke that were coming in here. There were a lot of nice messages towards us on Facebook. The parties started to pick up more, and now I have more of a motivation.”

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