Coffee and community
story by Heather Cassano
At Amon’s Sugar Shack, between bites of doughnuts and bacon and oatmeal, discussions about politics and sports can get as heated as the coffee. Larry Botzman and O.J. Stein are among the regulars who meet there to catch up and see other members of the Somerset community.
“I come here for the home cooked breakfast and a bunch of our buddies,” Larry says. He’s known O.J. for 20 years. O.J.’s five sons were all members of Larry’s Boy Scout troop.
“Things get settled here over coffee and doughnuts,” bakery owner Doug Stephens says. Amon’s has become a center of the Somerset community, a place where people meet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even the mayor of Somerset often starts his day with a famous Amon’s glazed doughnut.
“The bakery has been one place that I always try to come to,” Mayor Eddie Girdler says. “Men and women can talk to me freely, and it’s a great place to get a good cup of coffee.”
Amon’s Sugar Shack has been in the Stephens family for 60 years. Started by Amon Stephens, the bakery began as a birthday present to his wife, Rosemary. The family business has passed to their son Doug. The family-centered character of the bakery is mirrored in its loyal customers, many of whom have followed the bakery to several different locations.
Francis Price has enjoyed the bagels and cranberry-orange muffins at the three most recent addresses. “Those are my staples,” he reports.
As a young boy, O.J. Stein headed for the bakery, “pretty much whenever I got a quarter,” he says. Back then, a dozen doughnuts cost just 35 cents. Today the price for a dozen is $5.95.
Joe Wiese has been coming to the Sugar Shack since he was a young boy living next door to the bakery. “I would walk over and bring food home for the family to eat,” Joe recalls. These days he usually arrives for breakfast around 5:30.
The bakery’s early opening hour makes it a perfect place to fuel up before heading to a long day on the job. A group of Kentucky Utilities workers and their friends have made the bakery part of their daily routine. “The people who work here take good care of us,” Anthony Musgrove says. “Good doughnuts, good atmosphere.”
Many customers started eating at Amon’s Sugar Shack because of friendships with the Stephens family. But those family bonds have grown to embrace an extended clan. Cake decorator Patty Dinsmore has been working at the bakery for more than 40 years. She raves about how nice it is to work at Amon’s. “They’ve always treated me like family.”