BRUNSWICK, Maine — In a couple dozen days, the aroma of fresh doughnuts emanating from the Frosty’s Donuts storefront at 54 Maine St. will again sweeten downtown Brunswick’s early morning hours.
Last week, husband and wife Nels Omdal and Shelby St. Andre completed paperwork to purchase the business and trademark that has been on the market for nearly three years and which shut its doors in June 2011.
St. Andre said the couple plans to open the shop early seven days a week, starting before the end of February. The move to open weekend mornings will be an expansion for the Maine Street mainstay, which another husband and-wife team, Bob and June Frost, first opened in 1965.
In that year, Bob and June were the same age — 33 — as Nels and Shelby, who said they hope to carry on the Frost legacy.
“This business has been here for 50 years and it will be here for another 50 years,” St. Andre said.
To help them along the way, Omdal said, Bob Frost will be in the kitchen for the weeks leading to the reopening to help with sticking to the store’s classic recipes, such as Frosty’s signature twist.
“Having Bob’s help is key,” Omdal said. “He said he will stay on with us until we feel comfortable.”
The couple’s focus at first, St. Andre said, will be to offer the same doughnuts that gained Frosty’s a fiercely loyal following, to keep regular hours and to expand the coffee selection to a self-service bar.
Beyond that, the couple said they see bigger potential for Frosty’s.
St. Andre said they have eyes on expanding to Bath and Freeport and are looking into distributing doughnuts from the Maine Street location.
Omdal, a former golf pro and native Oregonian, said that since he moved to Brunswick six years ago he had visions of owning and operating the Maine Street doughnut shop.
“I always told my parents and friends that I thought I would one day run and operate this place,” Omdal said. “I’m pretty excited.”
And committed: Omdal, who quit his previous job to take on the doughnut business, keeps a sleeping bag at the store, just in case renovation work goes late.
St. Andre said she plans to “brighten up” the 45-year-old shop and “respectfully change” some of the wall decor to “make the shop our own.”
Now, the couple is working full time to complete repairs — such as installing a new ventilation hood and replacing flooring in the back of the store.
But weeks ago, a number of challenges made the sale of the business less certain. A torn meniscus at the end of December left Omdal facing surgery, and a bad lending environment made financing for the purchase difficult, St. Andre said.
“We had to get creative with financing,” St. Andre said. “We had to do a lot to make this happen, but I don’t doubt that it will continue to work — it’s worth the risk.”
The couple, with two young boys and a girl on the way, said their 5-year-old, Nick, has been giving daily updates on the store to his class at Coffin School.
During the weeks leading up to the opening, St. Andre said local classes and businesses will likely receive the benefits of trial doughnut runs as the couple works to learn the craft that Bob Frost perfected through 45 years and, Omdal said, 1.6 million dozens of doughnuts.
Through the process, St. Andre said that the community and town staff have been supportive.
“They all want some doughnuts,” Omdal said.
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