‘Doughnut central’ at Windmill Village offers pies, other goodies for holidays
People regularly stop in at the Windmill Village Bakery for a warm glazed doughnut. Each one looks slightly different and is made from an old family recipe the owners keep secret, but are willing to say mashed potatoes are in the dough.
“They are so soft and chewy,” said Staci Beaver from Missoula. “We stop in here every time we come through.”
The doughnuts aren’t the only things that draw people into the little shop where the sound of the train can be heard clacking down the track. Folks can order pies and candy for the holidays, or rest a while with a latte.
“We have just as many cookie monsters come in for the cookies,” owner Dave Martin said. “Today, we have muffins, brownies, doughnuts and cookies, all kinds of stuff. You have to order the pies.”
Dave built the train station-themed shop near the railroad tracks with his brother ten years ago for his wife and co-owner Nancy Martin. An outside working clock imported from Brittan was built into the exterior of the shop. Dave said he didn’t know the shop would turn into a bakery or he would have designed a bigger kitchen. Nancy originally wanted to use the space to sell vegetables, but people kept asking for stuff like bread.
“So I started baking,” Nancy said. “We had produce and a gift shop but the bakery took over. People really seem to like the doughnuts. I was making doughnuts one day a week, and then, people asked for them every day, so I was making them first thing in the morning. Now, I make them all day long.”
Nancy hasn’t gotten tired of making doughnuts.
“It’s like brushing your teeth: you get used to it and you just do it,” she said. “Some days, I stand right there and make one after the other all day, but I enjoy seeing happy customers so it doesn’t get monotonous.”
The couple runs the business together. Nancy prefers to focus on baking while Dave takes care of customers and pours the coffee.
“He is sales and I’m production,” Nancy said.
Nancy recently went on a baking marathon to fill the Thanksgiving pie orders. She said her family took one look at how busy she was before Thanksgiving and decided to step in and cook the holiday meal in her home without her help so she could just sit down and eat, although she did supply the pies.
“I stayed up for two days making pies non-stop,” she said.
Joe Naglich from Kalispell ordered one of the pies for Thanksgiving. He was back in the shop on his way to the Griz football game later in the week.
“It was the thickest strawberry rhubarb pie I’d ever seen,” he said. “It was as good as mom used to make.”
The couple worked in various manufacturing jobs in California before moving to the area to find a different lifestyle after they raised their kids.
“This is what corporate burnout turned into,” Dave said. “We never imagined this is what we would end up doing. We didn’t see this coming, but it’s the lifestyle we wanted. If we need to, we can put the ‘gone fishing’ sign on the door.”
Opening a small business was a way for them to find a connection to the community and make a living. Dave said it’s important to support small business.
“When you support small business, you are supporting your neighbors,” he said. “It’s tough to make a living in small towns. It’s important to support each other.”
Summer is the busiest season of the year at the shop, but during the holidays, business picks up.
“We are insanely busy before Thanksgiving,” Nancy said. “We work like crazy to fill the orders and then we close for a month in January and take a vacation. We go see the grandkids and we try to go to different places each year.”
They are now taking pie orders for the holidays. The shop is open Wednesday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the winter before they close for the month of January.