It seems like it was only yesterday. My Dad taking me to Mister Donut on the Golden Strip for a Bavarian filled and a chocolate milk. I was knee-high to a grasshopper but can still envision the old store and the coffee mug my Father would sip from. It was different years ago, a donut and milk was a special thing, not an everyday occurrence like today. It was a reward or a special trip with my Dad. I felt grown up sitting across from him at the donut shop, often he would meet someone about business or about the fire services of Southside, he was Borough Chief at the time.
Then a couple years later maybe I was nine or ten, I met Mr. Jim Bower Sr. See my Grandfather, Pappy Maietta, owned the Newberry Plaza and he had a new tenant, Mister Donut. I loved palling around with Pappy; it was a short walk from his house to the plaza. I did not know Mister Donut moved in to the end spot toward Arch Street. Boy, was I surprised and overjoyed. Pappy, I’m sure knew this would occur. As I enjoyed a donut and milk, a man walked over to our booth, Pappy introduced me to Mr. Bower owner of Mister Donut. I remember thinking how neat was that! I know the guy that owns Mister Donut.
The days were much simpler then. My Pappy, like my Dad, seemed to know everyone. No cell phones so you often met folks in person. I always looked forward to traveling around with either one; it was like an adventure. Whether it be fire trucks or playing in the old Diamond Rio trucks my Pappy had at his Race Street lot, it was flat out cool.
Fast forward, my Pappy got sick with cancer and was settling up his affairs. I was older, maybe 18 or 19. I went up to visit him and he told me Mr. Bower had purchased the Newberry Plaza from him. Several folks were interested but he wanted someone to own it that would take care of it and respect the property. My Grandfather built it; him and my Nanny Maietta had the diner on the corner for years. He was a proud man who took care of everything he owned. Him giving Mr. Bower his blessing and selling to him meant a lot. I knew by this time of my life Mr. Bower was a good businessman and was happy my Pappy was at peace with the decision.
I would not see Mr. Bower for years, until one day his son Jim and I were talking business at Dunkin’ Donuts, the name had changed but that was it. It was still that special place with great service that would bring a smile to my face.
We had started the Webb Weekly and Jim and I were doing business together, just like my Pappy and his father had done decades before. Mr. Bower just happened to stop to see his son, I told him I was Phil Maietta’s grandson and Mr. Webb’s son, that brought a smile to his face and we exchanged a couple of stories.
As time went by I was appreciative when Jim entrusted to me Mister Donut/Dunkin’ Donuts 40th anniversary. We put together an advertising plan and celebrated the milestone. We had become good friends and I was glad to help. The relationship made special by the ties to my Grandfather who had by this time left us.
As my sons Jimmy and Hunter grew up many a day began with a glazed and a milk as I took them to school. As they have gotten older it became an early-morning stop before the ball game or now when we’re off in the early mornings to go hunting or fishing.
I have been a regular through the Loyalsock Dunkin’ drive-through since I began driving. Jimmy and Hunter have gone from spilling their milk and eating their favorite donut while riding in a child safety seat to now driving through on their own.
When I coached middle school football for Loyalsock, Dunkin’ Donuts powered our team. See the middle school games are shortly after school; there is no time to go home and eat. I’d swing through and pick up four dozen to make sure the boys had something to fuel them. They were always happy to see me enter the locker room with that bag of Dunkin’. Assistant Coach Joe Mileto jokingly questioned my choice of a pregame meal. Joe is a physician’s assistant and thought maybe a healthier snack would serve the boys better. Once he saw the power of a dozen donuts he was a believer.
Sue Weaver and her staff at Loyalsock have watched my boys grow, as they have so many children. They have provided for my teams and community. They have kept that same family atmosphere I remember sharing with my Dad and Pappy Maietta many moons ago. You just can’t help to smile about a trip to Dunkin’.
I am honored to tip my cap to the Bower family and new owner Jerry Forger; he purchased their stores a few years back. They are celebrating Mister Donut/Dunkin’ Donuts 50th Anniversary on the Golden Strip!
To Mr. Forger and Monica Enright who oversee operations, thank you for the continued trust and business relationship our families have enjoyed for decades. I hope the next generation has the pleasure to do the same.
God Bless America.