BRUNSWICK — Ever since he first stepped inside the small red building at 54 Maine St. and bit into a glazed twist, Nels Omdal has wanted a piece of Frosty’s Donuts.
“I said multiple times to my family, ‘I’m going to buy this place someday,'” Omdal said Monday while sitting at a booth inside the shop. “This place is a gem.”
Nearly six years after that first bite, Omdal and his wife, Shelby St. Andre, are the proud owners of the town’s iconic doughnut shop, and they’re getting ready for a grand reopening Saturday, Feb. 11, at 8 a.m.
Even though Omdal had his eye on Frosty’s years ago, the couple waited for the price to come down. At first, June and Bob Frost, who founded the business in 1965, wanted $795,000. Then $750,000. Still too much.
“Over the years we just kind of watched it,” St. Andre said.
They ate as they watched the price, buying boxes of donuts to ship to relatives around the country and waking up at 4 a.m. to make sure they got one of the coveted glazed twists, which often sold out before 9 a.m.
Over the summer, Frosty’s closed for good after the death of June Frost. Soon after, the price came down to around $300,000, and the couple made Bob Frost an offer.
In December, he accepted.
Since then the small store has had a flurry of activity. The kitchen has been upgraded, including new floors, equipment and heavy-duty scrubbing to remove layers of dried glaze. Family members flew in from around the country to help, and Omdal and St. Andre quit their jobs and threw themselves into the business.
As word spread that Frosty’s would reopen, people started stopping by the store to see what was going on or to drop off a resume. Passers-by waved and gave thumbs up. And on Facebook, fans are already planning opening-day road trips from places as far away as Connecticut, or joking about staging an “Occupy Frosty’s” to determine who gets to be first in line.
“We never ever dreamed that us buying this little donut shop … that people would respond in the way they have,” St. Andre said.
In many ways, the new Frosty’s will be nearly identical to the old one: same donuts, same recipe, even the same baker. The couple has hired John Frost, June and Bob’s son, who has hand-shaped and baked the donuts for decades.
Faded pictures of the shop from years past will hang from the walls, but Omdal and St. Andre said they intend to “respectfully change” other parts of the decor, include the religious paintings, pamphlets and Bible verses.
“We want to respect the history of Frosty’s, but we also want everyone to feel comfortable coming here,” St. Andre said.
The store will also be open every day from 4 a.m. to noon, a departure from the old Frosty’s, which was closed on weekends and randomly during the week. The couple also intend to make more doughnuts – especially glazed twists – to avoid running out, and hope to add a few funky flavors, like maple frosted with bacon.
Although they don’t want to get ahead of themselves, St. Andre and Omdal are already thinking big about the future of Frosty’s.
“We want to open up some other locations,” St. Andre said, perhaps little storefronts in Bath or Freeport that would sell doughnuts baked that morning in Brunswick.
“The thing about Frosty’s is there’s no competition around here,” she said. “I feel sad saying that for other people that make doughnuts, but if you’ve had a Frosty’s … it’s hard to beat that.”
Shelby St. Andre, left, and Nels Omdal, who recently bought Frosty’s Donuts in Brunswick, look through old pictures of former owners June and Bob Frost. They hope to re-enact this image of June feeding a doughnut to Bob.
New owners Shelby St. Andre, left, and Nels Omdal stand outside Frosty’s Donuts, 54 Maine St., Brunswick. The business reopens on Saturday, Feb. 11.