National Donut Day keeps bakers busy at 104-year-old Sunrise Bakery

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BEATRICE, NE — When they have a craving for a pastry, generations of Beatrice residents have gone to Sunrise Bakery. The business opened in 1917 and has been in the same downtown location for nearly 100 years. The Replogle family has owned it since 1951 and the process for making donuts hasn’t changed much since then.

“I do them by hand, that’s the way I was taught,” owner Clayton Replogle said.

On National Donut Day, that means Replogle cuts lots of dough.

“It’s one of those days that everybody knows about but they kind of forget when it is," Replogle said. "It’s always the first Friday in June.”

It’s not a special holiday that keeps Sunrise Bakery going. The 104-year-old business is a fixture of everyday life in Beatrice.

“Their first day of school they come here with their parents," Replogle said. "(They come here) with grandparents on Saturday mornings in the summertime.”

It’s tradition for the Weichel family, who has breakfast at the bakery one Friday each month.

“We just really love the food we get here," Weichel said. "They love the donuts. Me and my son Cole, we really enjoy the white long johns. The girls enjoy either a donut or a cookie.”

Replogle didn’t buy into his family tradition right away.

“As soon as I graduated high school, I wanted to be as far away from here as possible," Replogle said. "But the older you get, the more you hear about these stories and, you know what, maybe it’s not so bad. And it’s not so bad.”

He officially took over as operator four years ago. Now, hearing stories about the bakery improving people’s day, is what drives his donut devotion. 

“I get goosebumps just thinking about it," Replogle said. "It means a lot.”

Replogle starts his work day at 10 pm and makes the donuts overnight to be ready for the morning crowd. On National Donut Day, that means making about 2600 in total.