Richmond bakery forced to close after owner denied re-entry into US

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond bakery is shutting down all because the owner can’t come back to the United States.

Nettie’s Naturally in Jackson Ward is known for their gluten free and organic dishes, but when customers visit, they’re going to see the closed sign on the front door.

“Everything you know was going to be fine, and then it wasn’t,” assistant baker Shoala Walker said.

Shoala Walker said her boss had told them months ago she was working with lawyers to make sure all her paperwork was in order for her vacation to Switzerland.

“She wanted everything to be done by the book,” Walker said. “She was getting all of her information straight.”

The owner, Lynette Potgieter, has a valid work visa and dual citizenship in Australia and South Africa, where she is from. In order to return to the U.S., she needed a stamp on her visa from the U.S. Embassy, but the consulate in Switzerland denied her request.

The news came as a shock to Walker.

“Not only because she’s my supervisor but she’s actually my friend,” Walker said. “To see her dreams just shatter.”

Walker has been at the bakery fulfilling orders from their wholesale clients, such as Lamplighter Coffee in Scott’s Edition.

“We’re experiencing a loss in our restaurant community,” said Jennifer Rawlings with Lamplighter Coffee. “There are some other gluten free option in town but hers are really refined and had a special niche.”

While the owner waits for her green card, It could be a couple of weeks or even a couple of months. But Walker said she hopes this won’t be the end for Nettie’s Naturally.

“Hopefully hopefully we will be open again that is the hope,” Walker said.

Since they don’t know when or if they’ll ever get to reopen, if you are wanting a final treat to find them at their wholesalers.

Their baked goods can be found at Elwood Thompson, Whole Foods, The Daily, Lamplighter Coffee and other local cafes.

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