Sweet success: Rolling Pin changes hands

Photo by Alan Warren, Messenger-Inquirer | awarren@messenger-inquirer.com West Crabtree, left and Thomas Gordon are the new co-owners at the Rolling Pin Pastry Shop at 1129 East 18th St.

Don't mess with success.

West Crabtree and Thomas Gordon say that often these days.

They are the new owners of the Rolling Pin Pastry Shop at 1129 E. 18th St.

Crabtree and Gordon bought the shop Aug. 1.

Their plan for the future: They aren't changing a thing.

"It's the same ingredients, same supplies and same smiling employees, who've all stayed on," Crabtree said.

"There's no need to change the tradition that this is," Gordon added.

Former owners Kathy and Roger Farmer have been tutoring Crabtree and Gordon, and the Farmers come in daily to make sure everything is running smoothly. The Farmers could not be reached for comment.

They bought the Rolling Pin in 1984 from Kathy Farmer's parents, J.T. and Mary Edith Whitaker.

The Rolling Pin, with its lip-smackin' maple bacon long johns and dreamy peanut butter-filled donuts, has been a fixture in Owensboro since 1947.

What Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn is to mutton, the Rolling Pin is to doughnuts.

The Rolling Pin has won the Messenger-Inquirer's Readers Choice Award for favorite bakery 11 consecutive years.

The comment Crabtree and Gordon hear most often from customers: Don't change the chocolate long johns.

Don't worry. The owners promise: They aren't changing a thing.

Crabtree and Roger Farmer have been friends for about 30 years. The Farmers wanted to slow down and enjoy their grandchildren, Crabtree said. No one in their family wanted to take over the business.

Crabtree is an Owensboro native who has eaten Rolling Pin goodies all his life. He and Roger Farmer talked for months about the possibility Crabtree might buy the business.

Then, Crabtree approached Gordon with the idea.

About four years ago, the two partners opened the structural engineering firm Evolved Engineering & Design, which, by chance, sits only a hop, skip and jump down East 18th Street from the Rolling Pin.

Since Crabtree and Gordon bought the Rolling Pin, it is now their main focus.

Gordon, who was raised on a farm in Jackson, Tennessee, works the late shift in the kitchen. He focuses on the production end while Crabtree takes care of the retail side.

The Rolling Pin sells 30 products, including cookies, turnovers, muffins and brownies. The shop's recipes have been passed down from owner to owner to owner, Crabtree said.

He and Gordon will be happy to swear on a stack of red velvet cake doughnuts: They aren't changing a thing.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

(1) comment

Robert Pai

The beginning of the end for the Rolling Pin. New owners always screw it up. They always cut corners looking for ways to save money. But maybe not time will tell.

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