Willi Carstens walks into his bakery at around 6 a.m. every morning. By 7:30, the donuts have been formed and are in the fryer. The doors open for the day, and they will stay that way until grandson Ben Borsik closes up for the day at 5 p.m.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Carstens, owner of Carstens’ Bakery, said. “I’m 80 years old and have been doing this for 60 – I don’t mind coming to work.”
Although Carstens didn’t start his baking career at his current Cliff Street location, he has been baking there since 1968.
“My favorite saying is – I have several – people ask me all the time how I’m doing and I tell them that I’m rolling in the dough,” Carstens said. “And another one is, ‘When you come to Cliff Street, please drop over.’”
Carstsens has a lot of favorite sayings. He said that one in particular is part of the reason his bakery is still going after all of these years: “Don’t get spread too thin.”
The bakery used to be bigger – they had four girls at the front counter and more people baking in the back, and they catered and made wedding cakes on a regular basis. Now mainly Carstens and Borsik, who plans to one day take over the family bakery, bake the goods and help the customers. (Although, it’s good to note that they still do make their delicious cakes with real butter cream frosting – you just have to be sure to call ahead first to special order it.)
One thing that hasn’t changed much is the reasonable prices.
“My favorite saying: ‘Anybody who can make it better than us and cheaper, they’re welcome to it,’” Carstens said.