August 26, 2020
Dear Friends of Bon Ton,
We can’t thank you enough for your continued support during this interruption of normalcy. I would like to give you some updates of the “New Normal” around the Bon Ton in these first few months of 2020. You may have noticed if you’ve been in the store that we are missing some of the regular clerks We have had some decide they needed to distance themselves for health reasons, and we also had to cut back to keep things in control. You may also noticed that our tables and chairs are missing, and we have signs informing customers to keep safe distances, use the hand sanitizer provided, and be patient. We appreciate your awareness and proactive attempts of being respectful of others around you in the store. Many of you have been thoughtful enough to have made us mask in many fun patterns and colors for our protection, and have offered to donate gloves if we need them. Again, Thank You!
Our new endeavor of the E.D.S (emergency donut service) has been met with GREAT Enthusiasm! After the first weekend of delivering in Jefferson, we branched out. We now not only deliver in Jefferson, but Johnson Creek on Tuesdays, Lake Mills and Cambridge on Wednesdays, Fort Atkinson on Thursdays, and Helenville, Sullivan, and Rome on Fridays. We are not only delivering sweet goods, but buns, bread, cakes, cookies, and deli salads. Jessica and I love it! We are quite frequently met with smiling faces, excited thank you, and waves from the windows! Many days we’ve been on the road from 8am till 11:30! It’s hard to believe that in the face of this pandemic we’ve explored a new business direction with great returns, and opened a new door into the lives of you, our customers. Our noon lunches have been selling out almost daily, and our grilled ribs and brats on Saturdays have been very popular.
Our first contest (Donut madness bracket) is coming to a close. Daily updates on voting is a common conversation when Jessica and I are delivering. It’s been fun listening to many of you as the bracket proceeds, just like the NCAA basketball tourney I’ll hear “My bracket’s wrecked already and it’s just the 2nd day!” Look for more contest to come after the close of Donut madness. We’ve had fun, I hope you have too! We’ve talked about “Theme Weeks”…. Strawberry fields, Yellow Submarine, Van on The Run… get the hint?
Now, my new normal…… I used to start my day walking through the door at 4- 5am. Josh had started frying the Pershings and Long Johns, and I would start getting the storefront ready for Anne, or Jen depending on who was opening. The last few weeks, I’ve been waking at 1am and through the door by 1:30. Big change, but somehow I love it. Excuse me for feeling this way, but I’m seeing a resurgence to small retail. To many, the big box store has become unsafe, or uncomfortable. Too many people, too many chances of increased exposure for some of you. I’m currently making more bread in one week than I have made in one month. I’m having many tell me how much better “fresh made this morning” bread is. To my astonishment, Rye bread…YES, RYE BREAD is selling out and have had people tell me they didn’t know we made it and how good it is. Anyway, Cindy, Jen and Jessica are all starting now at 5:30. Josh and I have the sweet rolls and donuts iced, and the breads and buns are ready to be sliced and packaged to be delivered by 8am. We are all still refining, and discovering new ways of job completion for our service, but it’s coming together. One of the things we need to improve on is our ”Crystal Ball”. We just can’t seem to get a clear picture on how many Long johns, Pershings, Filled donuts, PBJ’s, and others to make. We know what we have for orders, just can’t get a grasp of the through the front door customer. Today, (Friday) we ran out early, I mean Long Johns were gone literally before we opened the door! What contributes to this is two fold. We end our production day with Danish and sweet rolls after 1pm. The dough is mixed and made up and placed in a cooler to hold for the next day when it’s baked or fried. We go through our orders, add up what we need, and figure a percentage more for walk in customers. The percentage is figured on past history of sales for the particular day. Good formula right? Well…. Maybe, not really, and sometimes, 'Nuts! Should have made more!' Cookies…… and more cookies, and even more cookies! Even pies! Dani, our intern has been thrown into the fire helping Cindy and Jessica by making apple, cherry, mixed berry, peach, and pecan personal pies! She is also responsible for the inspiration heart cookies (Her idea). Jessica has been making desserts at a higher rate, and Cindy has been baking chocolate chip, almond, M&M, Peanut Butter, and monster….. monster amounts of monster cookies! Yesterday, chocolate cakes were sold as fast as she could get them in the store. Grandma Elsie always said “You know you’ve worked a good day when your tired”. Yeah, we’ve been tired!
I guess to end this I must insist that I’m not trying to “brag” how busy we’ve been. I’m trying to say THANK YOU for keeping us busy, and keeping my crew working. Your generosity, love and support has not gone unnoticed, or unappreciated. You’re all very special to us!
Keep The Peace And Wash Your Hands!
John Radtke Owner Bon Ton Bakery And E.D.S.
(emergency donut service...BEE do BEE do BEE do BEE do BEE do BEE do BEE do BEE do…….. do bee do bee do.. )