Though the door of Brunswick's Frosty's Donuts has displayed a "Closed" sign since last June, new owners Nels Omdal and his wife Shelby St. Andre are working hard to flip the sign to "Open" in just a few weeks.
"We were just figuring out where to put in a coffee bar," explained Omdal as he surveyed the space at 54 Maine St., still filled with unpacked boxes.
In spite of the chaos, both Omdal and St. Andre wore smiles on their faces. The new owners plan to reopen Frosty's by the end of February.
"Just the fact that whoever we tell [about the reopening] is so excited makes us excited," said St. Andre. "It's incredible the response we've received."
Omdal and St. Andre have lived in Brunswick for seven years. Before deciding to buy Frosty's, St. Andre worked in business management, and Omdal worked in an Italian restaurant for many years.
"He's a genius in the kitchen," St. Andre said of her husband.
Although they have experience in the industry, Omdal and St. Andre acknowledge that they have an impressive legacy to live up to.
Bob and June Frost opened Frosty's in 1965 and maintained their popular business until January 2010. Bob Frost finally closed its doors in June 2011, shortly after June passed away.
"It means a lot to us," said Omdal. "We are very honored to be able to carry this on for the Frost family."
St. Andre explained that Frosty's has been a mainstay for the Brunswick community and the College over the years.
"Bowdoin students were a big customer base because there weren't any other places open for donuts and coffee at 4 a.m.," she said.
"It's definitely a landmark," added Omdal. "It feels like hundreds of people walk by the storefront everyday with their camera phones taking pictures of the 'Opening Soon' sign. Everyone is really anticipating the opening."
"I think everyone who's lived here a while at least knows of Frosty's even if they haven't been there," said Bowdoin Grounds Specialist Tim Carr, attesting to Frosty's landmark status.
Carr has lived in Brunswick for 15 years and is a longtime fan of the donuts.
"My favorite's probably the plain frosted donut," he said. "I guess I'm old fashioned." Omdal and St. Andre favor "The Twist."
"It's a raised glazed donut," explained Omdal. "It's a signature that everyone knows."
Omdal and St. Andre will, for the most part, stay faithful to the Frosts' recipes and business model. They will also have Bob Frost in the kitchen, until the reopening, to help them along the way.
"We're keeping the basic donut recipe exactly the same, and we plan to be open seven days a week," said St. Andre.
But the couple does have a few new ideas and ambitions.
"We're expanding our coffee selection with a self-service coffee car, instead of having just a few options available behind the counter," said St. Andre. "We're also doing some renovations to the building."
Excited customers have already suggested possible additions to the menu.
"We've gotten requests for a bacon-maple donut, for lobster-mascarpone cheese-filled donuts; we'll try to spice things up a bit," said Omdal.
"The biggest challenge will be making enough donuts. They used to run out of donuts by 8 a.m. when they were open, so we'll have to work hard to supply the demand," he added.
"Everytime I've gone by it's been closed," said Jessie Turner '13, of her visits to the sold-out Frosty's last year. "I'm excited to hear it's opening again."
Despite the challenges, St. Andre and Omdal are eager to get the business running again.
"We are 150 percent committed," said Omdal. "At this point, there's no turning back. We're excited to eat a donut as much as anyone else."