Thursday, December 12, 2013
A personal note of encouragement from Sen. Susan Collins served as the proverbial frosting on the cake doughnut for the new owners of the Brunswick landmark Frosty's Donuts & Coffee Shop. Husband and wife team Nels Omdal and Shelby St. Andre hoped for a successful grand reopening this past February. They weren't disappointed. Waiting in line on opening day were about 150 faithful Frosty fans. The doughnuts sold out in 90 minutes. The couple has since opened a second doughnut shop in Freeport's busy downtown business district. A third location will open in South Portland this October.
Nels Omdal and his daughter Lucy
THE MAN BEHIND THE DOUGHNUTS
NAME: Nels Omdal
WHO: Frosty's Donut & Coffee Shop
ADDRESS: 54 Maine St., Brunswick; 45 Main St., Freeport; 740 Broadway, Suite 500, South Portland
Shoptalk allows people to describe in their own words the rewards and challenges of their jobs. In doing so, they reflect the energy, imagination and hard work that characterize the workplace in Maine. The questions for this week's Shoptalk were compiled by Staff Writer Deborah Sayer.
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Q: Tell me the history of Frosty's Donuts.
A: Bob and June Frost owned and ran Frosty's Donuts for 46 years, starting in 1965. Bob closed the shop last July -- on the day that June died. He put a handwritten note on the front door, announcing her death, and never reopened.
Q: How did you come to own Frosty's?
A: I was a regular customer who loved their doughnuts. When I saw the for-sale sign, I met with the Realtor to express interest in buying the business, and Bob happened to drop by. I got to have a one-on-one with him for about an hour and we made a connection as we talked about life and doughnuts.
Q: Did you get the original recipes for the doughnuts?
A: Yes. The purchase price for Frosty's included the original storefront, the equipment, the recipes -- and a pledge to draw on Bob's doughnut-making expertise for the rest of his life. This business was his passion and he really wanted to see it succeed.
Q: Did he personally train you?
A: His son John worked with us for about one month. That was important because we wanted to keep making the same quality of doughnuts that kept Frosty fans coming back. There is a fine art to mass-producing doughnuts, from mixing and proofing to cutting and frying. You have to get the timing down for each step in the process. I have been training my own staff for about four months now.
Q: How many types of doughnuts do you make each day?
A: We make two main bases for cake-style and raised doughnuts, from which we create up to 37 different variations. including jelly, filled, frosted and sprinkled, Boston cream, Bismarcks and seasonal favorites. We also make a few chocolate varieties.
Q: What's the most popular?
A: The twist is our signature doughnut. It's a raised, glazed doughnut that's soft and fluffy. I could easily sell 100 dozen of those each day and still turn away 30 to 40 people who want one. The twists are usually gone by 8 a.m. So customers need to be here early or put in an order for them.
Q: How many doughnuts do you make each day?
A: Last Tuesday, we made about 140 dozen and sold out around noon. On the weekends, I make 225 dozen. There is usually a line out the door and everything's gone by 9:45 a.m. On Labor Day weekend, when we opened the Freeport shop, we made 400 dozen.
Q: Any plans to add to the doughnut varieties?
A: We've had some fun getting creative. We now make buttermilk, maple with bacon, apple crisp and wild Maine blueberry varieties.
At our Freeport shop we offer a toppings bar, where customers can buy our plain doughnuts and create their own custom flavor combinations using an array of toppings.
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