Walking through the Oval on weekday mornings, students and faculty might get mysterious cravings for baked goods after catching a whiff of the aroma of freshly baked doughnuts and pastries.
While many people donâ€™t even know it exists, tucked between Johnson and Centennial halls, CSUâ€™s bakeshop has been providing fresh, baked goods to every dining hall on campus since its move to the Oval in 1968.
With a staff of nearly 20, most bakeshop employees start working at about 3 a.m. and stay until the early afternoon to produce hundreds of dozens of cookies, pastries and various desserts.
A normal day in the life of lead bread baker Jason Gonzales includes opening the shopat 1 a.m., mixing dough and preparing bread until about 9 a.m.
Although most of the bakeshop employees can say their day is over before some college students roll out of bed, it doesnâ€™t seem to bother them.
â€œI actually love my hours,â€ Gonzales said. â€œIâ€™m a big golfer, so in spring and summer I get off around nine and am on the course right after.â€
Bakeshop Director Joan Smith has worked at the shop for more than 25 years and oversees the day-to-day processes of the year-round operation, which also provides baked goods for catering around campus, conferences, summer school and Pingree Park, CSUâ€™s mountain campus.
â€œI grew up in the business; my father owned a bakery,â€ Smith said. â€œItâ€™s my life, itâ€™s in my blood and itâ€™s fun.â€
Smithâ€™s passion is contagious and can be seen throughout the bakeshopâ€™s small setup, from the student workers preparing granola, to baker and employee of the year Kendy Doty, putting finishing touches on a cake.
â€œThis is what I like to do,â€ Doty said. â€œI donâ€™t care if I have to wake up at 3 a.m. to do what I like. Iâ€™d rather be doing this than sitting at a desk any day.â€
Doty started working in the bakery business when she was a teenager. She first learned how to work the cash register at Vernâ€™s Place, a restaurant in Laporte, once owned by her aunt and uncle.
She learned how to bake and eventually started working at CSU, joining a staff of seven bakers who have more than 157 years of combined experience, Smith said.
The bakeshop staff eventually hopes to take its expertise to a new, revamped kitchen in Edwards Hall later this year, but until then theyâ€™ll continue to enjoy their home on the Oval and one of the
best perks of being a baker: free treats.
â€œItâ€™s kind of nice, but after a while itâ€™s like, â€˜Eh, I donâ€™t think I need another donut today,â€™â€ Gonzales said.
Senior Reporter Erin Udell Can be reached at email@example.com.
- CSU Bakeshop that bakes all the pastries and desserts for the dorms and catering
- It was originally part of the Student Union Kitchen before moving to the building on the Oval in 1968
- Opens at 1 a.m. and closes in the early afternoon
- There are nearly 20 employees who work at the bakery