For the last 73 years, Rolling Pin Pastry Shop has had a loyal following of donut fans. So when shop owners Roger and Kathy Farmer announced on Facebook that they had sold their business, customers questioned if the new owners planned to keep the shop and the recipes the same.
West Crabtree and Thomas Gordon, who bought the 18th Street donut business, actually took over on Aug. 1.
“We wanted to prove it’s going to stay the same,” Crabtree said. “From ingredients to employees, nothing is changing.”
Crabtree and Gordon have worked together in some capacity for the last 10 years. For the last four years, the two have run Evolved Engineering just down from Rolling Pin at 1517 E. 18th Street. And although they admit donut-making is a significant shift from engineering, they said they are ready for the challenge.
“There has been a learning curve,” Crabtree said. “We have been learning Kathy and Roger’s methods of keeping the donut tastes the same.”
The Farmers have agreed to stay on to mentor the new owners.
“They are in the shop daily and will continue for a while,” Crabtree said.
When the Farmers began discussing their own retirement, Kathy said, she never imagined they would be running the shop for so long. They bought the business from Kathy’s parents, J T and Mary Edith Whitaker, in 1984.
“It’s time for us to slow down our pace,” Kathy said in a Facebook post Monday announcing the change in ownership. “We knew we wanted the Rolling Pin to continue being family-owned and operated, and hands on. Choosing a successor hasn’t been easy. It’s been an emotional journey, but things fell into place.”
In the same post, the Farmers introduced Crabtree and Gordon as “two entrepreneurs who fell in love with the bakery and demonstrated a desire and ability to continue the traditions of the Rolling Pin.”
Crabtree, who has known Roger for decades, said he and Gordon want to maintain what the Farmers have built.
“We will keep the values Kathy learned from her father and what she and Roger are teaching us now,” he said.
For the two owners new to the donut business, there have been a few surprises in the first month of operation. Crabtree said the amount of donuts per day is never the same. Finding the balance of not running out of donuts, but not making too many, has been somewhat of a guessing game.
The two also said they understood Rolling Pin’s popularity, including the frequent lines out the front door, “but we are still surprised that people show up at 4 a.m. to buy donuts.”
The Rolling Pin is open seven days a week. Visit them at RollingPinPastryShop.com and Facebook.