WATERLOO — Rockets Bakery has launched a new store in downtown Waterloo.
If lines stretching out the door are any indication, the business is filling a major hole in the local doughnut market.
“This is just incredible; we’re overwhelmed,” said Sam Ludwig, who co-owns the business on the corner of East Fourth and Mulberry streets with her daughter Jaden.
The bakery opened for business Jan. 23 and sold out of doughnuts by early afternoon. The same thing happened the following days as crowds grew through word of mouth and social media.
Current advertised business hours are Tuesday through Sunday “from 6 a.m. until out.”
“Everybody is so happy that we’re here and we’re happy to be here,” Jaden Ludwig said. “We have not heard a negative thing yet.”
Rockets had 66 Facebook reviews through its first week in business. All were five stars.
Sam Ludwig has worked nearly two decades next door at Morg’s diner, where she is now a part owner, and purchased the longtime La Porte City Bakery in late 2015 mainly to ensure it stayed open when the previous owners put it up for sale.
Ludwig kept the bakery’s doughnut recipe with a few tweaks, but renamed it Rockets La Porte City Bakery on the advice of her 2-year-old grandson who wants to be an astronaut. The idea to expand into Waterloo has been in the works ever since.
“We thought maybe this would be triple the business,” Jaden Ludwig said. “But we’re looking at 10 or 11 times more.”
The store also makes and sells artisan breads, which have taken a back seat as the Ludwigs and their staff try to keep up with the early rush of doughnut lovers.
“Hopefully we’ll have more time to get to that,” Sam Ludwig said. “Right now it’s just doughnuts, doughnuts, doughnuts.”
Those doughnuts are all baked on site.
“We do it start to finish from scratch,” Jaden Ludwig said. “Every single doughnut is topped individually.
“That’s the fun part,” she said. “We give our toppers the frostings and 15 different kinds of candies and tell them to go to town and have fun with it.”
Konnie Brustkern-Haywood was among those customers who couldn’t resist checking out the store on opening day.
The Washburn area resident grew up with the La Porte City Bakery at major events but has grown to become a self-described Rockets “super fan.”
“When they bought the place in La Porte City it was just awesome,” Brustkern-Haywood said. “We were about ready to cry because they were the only authentic bakery around.”
Brustkern-Haywood has even made up her own doughnut, the “Konnie with a K Diabetic Coma,” which is a twist with a side of the homemade Holland Cream.
“You can just taste the love and hard work in it,” she said. “They are the most amazing family. They’ve mastered everything above and beyond.”