Six Months of Hard Labor About to Begin at Dot’s and Other O.C. Businesses

first_imgJane, Sarah, Emma and Greg Rodriguez are preparing for the March 28 opening of Dot’s Pastry Shop on weekends at 31st Street and Asbury Avenue in Ocean City. By Missy RittiFor OCNJ DailyThroughout the winter months, Greg and Jane Rodriguez are familiar faces about town.  Soon enough, however, they will bid even close friends goodbye.This weekend, the couple will kick off their 14th year together behind the counter at Dot’s Pastry Shop (3148 Asbury Ave.), and in so doing embark on a schedule so grueling, only a seasonal business owner could possibly understand. Across Ocean City this month, other owners are preparing to bid similar farewells.A typical day at Dot’s, family-owned and operated since 1947, begins just as it is ending for some vacationers — at 2 a.m.“The first thing we turn on in the bakery is the coffee maker,” Greg says.  “It’s coffee, before anything else.”_____Sign up for free daily news updates from Ocean City._____The couple then get down to the business at hand — doughnut dough for him, sticky buns for her — before a doughnut fryer and an assistant arrive at 4 a.m., and remaining staff trickle in just in time for Dot’s 7 a.m. opening.  As the morning unfolds, and as a bounty of made-from-scratch breads, pies, cakes and cookies emerge hot from Dot’s ovens, Jane says that it’s important to take time for catching up with loyal patrons, like Jessica Chappell of Downingtown, Pa.“Dot’s is a highlight of every vacation, and it’s the last place my kids and I will stop on our way out of town,” Chappell says. “Some of my earliest memories of Ocean City are of splitting a cream doughnut with my grandfather. I’ve been enjoying Dot’s all my life.”It’s a common refrain.“We have customers who first came here as children, and now they’re coming in with their own kids” Jane says. “It’s a tradition for so many families and it lives on, year after year.  We’re just so appreciative because we really wouldn’t be here without these people.”Once the bulk of the baking is complete the couple will often attempt a brief nap in the afternoon, then prep for the following day before turning in for the evening, only to rise again at 2 a.m. — seven days a week during the summer, and weekends in the spring and fall.“We go hard,” Greg says “but we love it.”Because their schedule leaves little time for beach fun with daughters Emma, 12, and Sarah, 10, the couple relies on summer camps and Jane’s parents — Leo and Patricia Scheuermann, from whom they purchased Dot’s in 2000 — to make it all work.  Patricia “really becomes a second mother to my kids in the summer, so I can be here,” Jane says, while Leo — despite his retirement — still lends a hand in Dot’s kitchen.“He shows up sometimes at 4 a.m., just to help with the doughnuts,” Jane adds.Son of Valentine Scheuermann — the baker credited with crafting Dot’s famed cream doughnut recipe in Germany — and one of nine baker brothers, Leo, 83, “can still scale the dough faster than a machine” according to Jane.  “He is a master baker. The best there is.  I marvel at him, and what he can do.”Greg, Sarah, Emma and Jane RodriguezAnd while Jane is the only grandchild in her extended family to make her living as a baker today, the future of Dot’s looks bright: Emma helps wait on customers and decorate cakes in the afternoon, while Sarah “can crack a 5-gallon bucket of eggs as fast as the help,” according to Greg.Both girls “have been powdering cream donuts since they were two,” Jane adds.“I grew up in a bakery, and I love that our girls are growing up in a bakery, too,” she says. “Emma and Sarah are on our business cards for a reason.  They are a huge part of the shop.  This is a family business. It really and truly is.”Dot’s Pastry Shop opens for the season 7 a.m. Saturday, March 28.last_img read more

Read More »