Roy and Katrina Bacon, the new owners of Roswell’s Mama Tuckers Donut & Cake Shop in Roswell, watch as shop employee Kelly Blankenship ices cookies Friday. The shop along Main Street re-opened April 15 under new ownership after being closed since early January. (Jeff Tucker Photo)
It’s a good thing Roy Bacon is a morning person.
The “retired” new co-owner of Mama Tuckers Donut & Cake Shop says he comes to work at 3:30 a.m. to make sure everything is ready for the shop’s opening at 6 a.m.
“I’ve always been a morning person,” Roy said. “We have people come through the drive-thru and try and get something at 5 o’clock in the morning. It starts really picking up at about 6:30.”
Roy and his wife, Katrina, purchased the mom-and-pop shop in March from Ted and Pat Tivis, who acquired the shop from Bob and Cathy Tucker, who opened the Main Street shop in 1987.
“For quite a few years, my wife and I were trying to decide what type of business to get into,” said Roy, 60, who retired from the telecommunications industry two years ago as an engineer, contractor and consultant. “Mainly, I had spent so many years traveling and being on the road. I really did like what I was doing, but it was just time for a change. We talked for several years about some type of business opportunity to get into. It’s something we can still do together when she decides to retire. It’s an opportunity that came up that we felt would fit for us.”
After learning the shop was up for sale, Roy said he utilized the small business development center at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell and a loan from Pioneer Bank to re-open the shop’s doors on April 15.
The shop had been closed since early January.
“A lot of people grew up with Mama Tuckers,” Roy said. “They were loyal customers to the Tuckers for years. It’s more of a benefit rather than inheritance. A lot of times when you buy a business, no matter what it is, you’re paying for the ‘blue sky,’ an intangible that has a value that is difficult to put a number to.”
The website Newscastic recently ranked Mama Tuckers the fifth-best donut shop in New Mexico.
Roy says the award really belongs to Ted and Pat Tivis, since they owned the store when the website performed its donut evaluation.
Roy said the goal is to revive the shop’s reputation for having tasty delights.
“That’s the idea, to revive the Tucker brand,” Roy said. “It’s going to stay a mom-and-pop shop. We’d like to expand it maybe a little bit. One of the things we’re looking at is expanding into small lunch offerings. That’s just going to have to wait until we get this thing going.”
Several of the shop’s former employees are again working there under its new management, including the shop’s two bakers and two decorators.
“I’m not a baker, I’m not a donut maker,” Roy said. “I’m probably more of a business manager with 35 to 40 years in some level in management. We rely on the quality of people that we have and knowing there are trends that come and go, especially in foods. Everyone has their tastes. You try and introduce something there that is a little bit unique.”
“We’ve been lucky to get them,” Katrina added of the shop’s 10 employees. “They do a great job. They’ve been teaching us a lot.”
“One of the things that stood out to us is the counter help,” Roy said. “We did luck out and get some really good people. They’re friendly, anxious to help, and show up for work.”
Roy said Katrina takes care of the payroll and handles the money.
“She’s taking care of the important stuff,” he said. “She’s the inspiration behind me.”
Roy said older customers are usually set in their ways when it comes to their sweet tooth delights, while younger customers are attracted to anything with pink icing.
“In the month that we’ve been open, there have been 12 to 18 things that we put out,” Roy said. “Some things went well, some did not. You just kind of put it to rest and try again another day. We’re introducing some new products. We’re trying to introduce some new things, some new flavors, like some s’mores donuts covered with graham crackers, maple donuts with bacon, chocolate donuts with bacon, watermelon icing and piña colada.”
Roy said the Memorial Day weekend should be an extremely busy time for the shop, with graduation parties, the Hike It & Spike It football tournament, and the commencement today at the New Mexico Military Institute.
“I’m expecting (today) is going to be extremely busy,” he said. “It’s kind of a guessing game on what you’re going to do day to day. Half the time it’s a guessing game. We’ll easily start with 100 dozen donuts for (today).”
Katrina took some photos of some of the shop’s treats Friday to post on Facebook. She said a woman recently showed up at the shop’s drive-thru 10 minutes after Katrina posted a photo of an Easter egg-shaped cake on Facebook.
“Facebook has been helping quite a bit,” Katrina said.
Taking the goodies to the people is another idea in the hopper, Roy said.
“We’ve toyed with the idea of getting a food truck to set up at parks and events,” he said. “A lot of people go to these events and they start early. People can’t get here, we can take it to them.”