OLD TOWN, Maine — Longtime cook and baker Dennis Stoup and wife Kathy made a longtime daydream reality Saturday with the grand opening of the Daybreak Bakery at 241 Main St.
Well, his longtime dream anyway.
“He kind of surprised me with it when he first mentioned it,” said Cathy Stoup. “I wasn’t shocked because he had talked about it before. It was better than see him sit around and get frustrated.”
Frustrated is what Dennis Stoup has been for the majority of the last year.
“After being unemployed for the last year, I couldn’t just keep sitting around anymore, so I got a [Small Business Administration] loan to start this up,” Stoup said of his new business venture. “This is something I’ve always kind of thought about since I was younger. This was kind of my excuse to do it.”
Stoup has plenty of experience to draw upon. Before driving a truck for six years, he was a cook and baker with University of Maine’s dining services.
The Daybreak Bakery specializes in doughnuts, homemade bread, sandwiches and other baked — and some non-baked — goods.
“My biggest thing is whoopie pies. Even when I was working at the University, I used to make them for local stores as a part-time business out of my house,” said Stoup. “Everybody loved them because I made a homemade filling and that was the big difference.
“We’re going to be adding ice cream too. It’s a good location and there’s plenty of room for us to be able to offer a bunch of different things,” Stoup said of the site where Old Town Canoe had a retail space that’s now divided between Daybreak and a pizza shop.
“The doughnuts are our most popular thing right now. I think it’s because we haven’t had a bakery in Old Town really since Reed’s closed,” said Stoup, a Milford resident and Lee native. “Especially the glazed.”
While people tell the Stoups the raised glazed are close to Reed’s, they’re not exact. Not that Dennis Stoup hasn’t tried to make them that way.
“We tried to get the raised glazed doughnut recipe from Reed’s, but they’re not giving it up,” he said.
The bakery is a true family operation as Dennis bakes, Cathy runs the register and works out front, son Michael helps Dennis in the kitchen, and daughter-in-law Jessica handles the books as well as some baking.
“As long as I don’t have to do it with him, I’m good,” Cathy Stoup said with a laugh. “I told him as long as he stays out back, I can work with him.”
Cathy also works as an elementary teacher.
“No summer vacation for me now,” she said with mock disgust.
The days are long, as the bakery is open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday.
“Most days I get in here around 3 a.m. and leave around 7 o’clock at night, but I knew what I was getting into, owning this kind of business,” said Dennis Stoup.