Every night at 10pm, a small team at Quality Bake Shoppe in Moundsville gets to work rolling flour, butter and sugar into the 1,200 donuts the West Virginia town needs to eat every day, for sustenance and sweetness.
One exception to the obliteration of main street businesses in America by Wal-Mart&co is the bakeries. They’re everywhere in this country, flinging sweets that aren’t expensive, and taste much better than anything a chain like Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme can deliver. Surely, it’s a lesson in how local businesses can still thrive.
Maybe this unique status is why it’s such a fun moment in Moundsville (now on PBS) when former mayor Eugene Saunders drives by Quality Bake’s green and pink building with corrugated aluminum siding. He says:
I’m gonna tell you gentlemen where you can get the best donuts, the best donuts in the country. Best donuts in the country. Quality bakery right here. Right there. That’s Quality Bakery. You get their donuts when they come out of the oven. There ain’t nothing better in this world than a donut that come out of the oven. That is the awesome donut. Glazed donut. Gotta go glazed.
For National Donut Day, I caught up with owner. Bill Henthorn, 59, is a former PPG chemical factory worker, baptist preacher from New Martinsville, and father of four. He and his wife Angel bought the business in 2013.
The shop, or shoppe, makes 1,200 donuts a day, he said. Recently, it’s been expanding its repertoire of cheesecakes, cookies and fruit pies. It also bakes French bread for restaurants. “With us, nothing is frozen,” said Henthorn. “We make ours fresh every day. The main baker comes in at 10pm and three people work all night.”
Angel is a baker who sometimes works 20 hours a day in the bakery, and all four of their kids help out, said Henthorn.
Business has been good this year. “People are supporting local businesses during Covid,” said Henthorn. “And we’ve been donating a lot of donuts to hospitals and other people.” They’ve prepared a “quarantine cookie kit”. The bakery is a pillar of the community. “When people come back to town to visit, we’re one of the places they always come.”
John W. Miller