Daylight Donuts return with opening of Me & Ma’s Bakery
The prodigal doughnut has returned to Concordia: Me & Ma's Bakery, on Sixth Street, is now featuring Daylight Donuts; hot, fresh and available Monday through Sunday, at 5:30 a.m. Until 5 p.m., or later, if the occasion calls for it.
Marc Swihart, born and raised in Concordia, and his fiancée, Megan Eakins, opened their bakery this morning to a crowd of hungry patrons, craving all things sticky, gooey and oh-so delicious.
Swihart was at the bakery by 2 a.m. this morning, making fresh, homemade doughnuts to serve this morning. Eakins, along with the couple's mothers, were also at the bakery, helping to serve the long line of customers.
Swihart said they will be using the Daylight Donut flour, and will be recreating their recipes.
As the couple start their business, they will offer all of the classically loved doughnuts, including glazed, donut holes, long johns, cake donuts, etc., as well as hot chocolate, different brews of coffee, cappuccino and, in a few weeks, tea, Swihart said.
Many people in Concordia and surrounding areas also know that Eakins is an extremely talented cake maker and decorator. Her business, Be Creative Cakes, has now merged with Me & Ma's Bakery, but her famous cakes will still be sold at the bakery.
Because of her mad pastry-making skills, Eakins said they will also be selling cupcakes, an assortment of cookies, mini cheesecakes, fudge, lemon bars, pies and other delectable goodies, with even more variety coming later.
Eakins said that everything will be freshly baked by her or her mother.
Swihart and Eakins lead an extremely busy life, as they have six children, Swihart is one of the coaches for the Concordia Kids wrestling program, which travels most weekends, and Eakins has a photography business and is a Registered Nurse (RN) at the hospital, working part-time, three days a week, as well as weekends, when her rotation demands it. She has recently taken over the wound care position at the hospital as well.
With their business primed for success, Swihart and Eakins said that they are dedicated to making quality, homemade items, and already have plans for early morning and late-night baking to keep up with the demands of the bakery and their personal lives.
Swihart and Eakins said they have been wanting to open their own business for a while, but didn't quite know what they wanted to do.
Eakins said that she was talking to her mother one day about opening a business, when her mom suggested she and Swihart open a Daylight Donuts. Eakins' grandparents were the original owners of the first Daylight Donuts in Concordia.
“When I talked to Marc about it, he said, 'I think I could be a doughnut man,'” Eakins said.
Swihart said he and Eakins came up with a couple hundred different names for their bakery.
“We would pitch each other names,” Eakins said, “and the other would say, ‘no’ and then I said, ‘Well, what about Me & Ma’s Bakery? It didn’t take him very long until he said, ‘Okay, sounds good.’ Then, I said, ‘I don’t know, maybe not.’ But then he said, 'No, we’re done, we’re going with it,'”
The “Me” is for Megan and the “Ma” is for Marc, Eakins said. Plus, she said, both of their mothers will be working at the bakery, so for Eakins, the name was perfect.
Before the couple even bought the location for their bakery, they purchased all of the doughnut-making equipment form the most recent owners of Daylight Donuts, Rod and Cindy Hake.
Because there have been several doughnut shop owners in Concordia over the years, the equipment has been passed to each owner. One of the most exciting discoveries for Eakins, is when she found out that some of the equipment, such as the proofer fryer and mixer had actually been her grandparents'.
Eakins said that her grandmother passed away about a year-and-a-half ago, and wished she and her grandfather were still here to see her carrying on the family-doughnut tradition.
With the equipment bought, the couple began to look for the building they wanted. Eakins said that they would look at every shop on Sixth Street as they drove by to see if any of the buildings had come up for sale. On one scouting expedition, Eakins said she commented on how perfect the Lasalle Jewelry building would be for a donut shop.
Eakins said it wasn't even two weeks later that she received a phone call from her aunt, who is a real estate agent.
“We jumped on it right away, because it was the location we wanted, and I liked the look of the building, especially the front; it fits the old-candy shop look,” Eakins said.
Swihart said “We looked at the building and we put an offer on it that day.
“Actually,” Eakins said, “He looked at it; he signed the papers and then they brought the papers to me at work to sign one night, even though I hadn’t even seen the building. So I signed the papers trusting him, and then I came down here and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, so much work!’”
The couple have been working non-stop on the revitalization of the old Lasalle Jewelry Shop since the second week of June.
Eakins took on the design of the shop, incorporating original artwork within the bakery. Eakins said even the bathroom showcases some some of her artwork.
Her mother and father got in on the artistic action as well, Eakins said, as her mother painted the stairs banister columns that look like candy wrappers and her father, who is a machinist for Northern Natural Gas, welded the metal trim for the stairs, as well as the hood vent in the kitchen.
Eakins said she really wanted to have a vintage bakery/candy shop feel. So, while perusing Pinterest, Eakins said she found her color palette inspiration: kelly green with pops of pink.
Eakins painted the Candy Land motif after looking at pictures of a 1960's version of the game.
As Me & Ma's Bakery is one of several businesses to have found a home in the Sixth Street building, Eakins said it was really important to them to retain as much of the building's original character as possible.
The bakery building is actually three stories, including the basement, main level and top floor. The couple said they went through every floor, salvaging as many items as they could, which had been left over from business after business.
The trim around the doors and the counter was found upstairs. Eakins kept it the original color and finish. When tearing down walls, Swihart said he found shelving, which customers will see behind the bakery's long bar-styled counter, once held rows and rows of shoes, left over from Caldwell's Shoe Company in the 1950's and Brown's Shoe Fit Company from the 1970s.
The long counter was purchased from the old doughnut shop, the main cashier counter was actually Lasalle's front desk and the table that holds the coffee, was Brown's Shoe Fit's front desk.
While Eakins focused on the design, Swihart tackled the demo and rebuild of the bakery. He said that just the demolition of the interior of the building took from the beginning of June until August, with him working full time on the project.
According to Swihart, the old jewelry store had thin, green carpet that had enough glue on the back of it to keep it intact for a century. As green carpet was not in the design plan, Swihart said it took him 72 hours of cutting the carpet and using a power chisel to just get the carpet up.
The couple said they have had to repair the roof, replace two hot water heaters, install all new plumbing and put in a new furnace.
Swihart has remodeled the entire inside of the bakery himself, including building a bathroom, laying the flooring and installing the duct work. The only work he contracted out for was electrical and plumbing, Swihart said.
“I’ve done construction since I was in sixth grade,” Swihart said. “I started with my uncle, who had his own construction business; and thank goodness, because he taught me a trade set that I can use today, one that has saved me a ton of money.”
Swihart, had worked for Pepsi for 15 years before he left to chase his lifelong dream of owning his own business. Swihart and Eakins own their business and equipment outright, as no loans were procured for the endeavor. Swihart said he cashed his 401K to fund Me & Ma's Bakery and Eakins said her parents and Swihart's parents have also contributed to the cause.
Eakins said they have definitely been “pinchin’ pennies at home.”
But, for the couple, the sacrifice is worth it.
Swihart and Eakins said they are starting small, although their offering already seems large. They have big plans for their bakery, including offering breads and bulk candies.
Swihart said he would like for Me & Ma's Bakery to be a favorite for locals, a place where people can feel comfortable to sit back, sip their coffee, eat their doughnuts and pastries, and just stay for a while, soaking in the atmosphere he and Eakins have worked so hard to create.
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