Donut hole filled in Bridgton
By Dawn De Busk
Last summer the historical building on Main Street that once housed Adam’s Bakery was torn down.
At the same time, customers at Village Donut Shop & Bakery in Raymond kept mentioning to the owner that they wished there was a bakery that provided homemade donuts and pastries in Bridgton.
For Bridgton residents, the baked goods were well worth the drive to Raymond, especially if they had errands or business that required them to pass through Raymond. But, having one in Bridgton would be so much more convenient — that’s what people kept telling owner Bruce Wiley.
Two weeks ago, Village Donuts expanded by opening a second store.
Finally, a donut hole in Bridgton was filled.
“For the first four days, we were sold out every day,” Wiley said. “This is keeping me busy. We are doing twice as many donuts.”
Wiley opened the Raymond shop about 3½ years ago. He has established a loyal customer base there. During the school year, he supplies donuts and pastries to the campus eateries at Saint Joseph’s College. In the summer, five camps in the Lake Region purchase his pastries and donuts on a regular basis. This summer, his new client is Point Sebago Resort, which means the Raymond Village Donut Shop will be making twice as many donuts as it did last summer. Plus, the Raymond location is a prime spot for grabbing the attention of tourists, which makes summertime super busy and profitable at the donut shop.
Last year, Wiley decided to expand into Bridgton. He just needed to find the perfect vacant building.
“A year ago, I started looking for a space to set up a second store here in Bridgton,” Wiley said. “Because of my work in the construction field, I knew there was a lot of development going on. And, there was a market for a donut shop.”
“It was crucial I had a good location: close to the road and not on Main street, where there isn’t much parking,” he said. “The crowds we want to draw, we want to make sure they can park. The winter workers — I want to make sure the plow trucks, the tree-removal trucks can park.”
“In Raymond, the head of public works is a pretty good customer of ours. Now, the guys from the town garage (Bridgton Public Works) crew stop in. A lot of times, we take stuff down to them,” he said.
“When this place was available, I jumped on it and signed the lease in February,” Wiley said.
Unlike the store in Raymond, there was “not anywhere as much remodel. It was a month getting the space ready, mostly cleaning and painting. I made the cabinets myself,” he said.
“We have actually tried to keep the same theme and atmosphere. It has the same colors and the same drapes. It is a little warmer and cozier,” he said.
“Our donuts are the same,” he said. “But, there is some uniqueness to the baked goods. We have a different baker than at Raymond. She is baking the things she enjoys baking. I let her have her personality in it.”
The new hire is Heather Anderson.
“She started making the strawberry cream cheese turnovers. So, there is some variety of pastries, but a lot of the same favorites,” Wiley said.
“I am seeing a huge difference in what people buy here and what they buy there,” he said. “In Bridgton, people love the jelly donuts. They like the cake donuts better than the raised. In Raymond, they like the raised donuts and the chocolate ones.”
“In Bridgton, they really eat up our filled donuts and cake donuts,” he said.
The two different locations provide a different customer base.
“In Raymond, it is mostly transient, traffic passing through. Although, there are the regulars who work in town stop in for coffee,” Wiley said. “Here, people are in town. They aren’t traveling. This is the hub of activity. People from other areas are coming to town to spend some time, shopping or doing other errands, and we happen to be a stop they like to make.”
At both stores, the franchise Dunkin’ Donuts is nearby — within walking distance.
“We’ve had a lot of people say, ‘I can get out of my car, come in and get my coffee faster than driving through a line at Dunkin’ Donuts,’ ” he said. “There is enough business for both of us. Plenty of room for both of us.”
Potential competition aside, the real heart and backbone of the business are the employees he can rely on.
“It’s important to give thanks to the crew at the Raymond shop. Without them and the work they have done, the hard work, I wouldn’t have been able to open the second store. So I wanted to give my thanks to them so they don’t feel left out.”
Also, Wiley wanted to make sure to thank his dad Dean and his mom Carolyn for helping him to get the new store up and running.
In the past few years, Facebook has proven a valuable tool for the business. Wiley started posting daily specials. Then, a guy would show up at the counter, saying his wife saw the Facebook post and he was sent on an errand to pick up some pastries. When the new store opened and Wiley posted it on Facebook, there were thousands of replies and likes.
Lately, Wiley has been too busy to post anything but he plans to write something by Friday.
“We are going to be up-to-speed by the weekend. We hope people come in and give us a shot. We welcome their feedback whether positive or negative so we can get better,” he said.