This page uses JavaScript. Your browser either does not support JavaScript or you have it turned off. To see this page properly please use a JavaScript enabled browser.
Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union Go to main content
Routing #307083911|
Online Banking
Manage a Home Loan
Manage a Student or Consolidation Loan

Celina's Biscochitos: Baking Up Sweet Success


Photo of Celina Grife, owner of Celina's Biscochitos, grinning and holding gift-wrapped box of biscochitosImagine preparing and baking 500 dozen cookies at one time – a daunting task for most of us. For Celina Grife, owner of Celina’s Biscochitos, baking that many cookies (or more) is just an average day at the office.

November 10, 2021 marked Celina’s Biscochitos’ 11th anniversary – and business is really cooking. “My business began as a happy accident,” notes Celina. “I was a real estate agent for 15 years. I often baked cookies for my clients as a thank you. When the housing crisis hit in 2008, I needed an additional way to make money, and so I began selling my biscochitos.”

For the next four years, Celina would essentially wear two hats: real estate agent by day, and cookie baker by night. “It was really hard, not quite being able to fully commit to either occupation,” she says. And, as the saying goes, half measures lead to half results. By 2012 she had made the leap to full-time business owner and was all in as a professional baker. “Early on, I had the opportunity to work with Albuquerque’s South Valley Economic Development Center. I rented their commercial kitchen by the hour, which allowed me to produce my product and save money while getting my new business going.”

In 2014 she moved into her current bakery/retail shop at 404 Osuna Rd. NW, Ste A in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. She quickly outgrew her first 700-square-foot space less than a year later and started renting the space next door for a total of 2,200 square feet. “We’ve just about outgrown this space, too,” Celina says with a laugh.

One reason for the company’s continued growth could be Celina’s self-described pattern of getting bored easily. While traditional biscochitos have remained the company’s bestseller, Celina has kept things exciting by creating new flavors and products along the way. “It was a little scary at first,” she admits. “I really wasn’t sure how red chile, green chile pecan, lemon, or chocolate chip biscochitos would be embraced by my customers. Happily, people are willing to try new flavors – it just needs to still taste like a biscochito!”

There are a few cookies Celina just won’t make, such as gluten-free or lard-free biscochitos. “I just don’t have the right kitchen setup to do gluten-free correctly, so we don’t take that chance,” she notes. She insists on sticking with traditional ingredients, such as Snow Cap lard, real brandy, and anise. While she admits this approach is much more expensive, she says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

To what does she attribute her success? Her Grandma Maggie’s biscochito recipe for sure, as well as the ability to pivot quickly, when needed. A long relationship with SLFCU has been a big help too. “I became an SLFCU member when I was 15-years-old. It was natural to go to the Credit Union when I needed a business account. The thought of working with a mainstream bank just didn’t appeal to me.”

Visit Celina’s Biscochitos online:

« Return to "View All Articles"