The Other McCain

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Employees Shocked as Lesbian Vegan Doughnut Shop Goes Out of Business

Posted on | September 9, 2022 | 1 Comment

When I first saw this story, the bland headline (“Frederick Doughnut Shop Workers Say Business Shut Down Without Paying Them”) did not prepare me for the wonderfulness I would ultimately find:

A doughnut shop in Frederick, Maryland, abruptly shut down last week, and workers said they’re owed weeks in pay.
Glory Doughnuts & Diner on W. Patrick Street felt like home, its employees said. That all changed early Friday; the landlord shut the shop down over months of unpaid rent.
Without warning, 10 people were out of a job
. They said they knew the business had been struggling, and some hadn’t been paid for several pay periods.
“They had us working when they didn’t know if they were ever going to be able to pay us,” former general manager Kiska Greenberg said Monday.
Ex-employee Shelby Turner said she was disappointed.
“I really cared for them. I felt like they were part of the family,” Turner said.
Her paychecks began to bounce in recent months, she said.

(Permit me to interrupt briefly, as I point out the contrast between being “part of the family” and having your paychecks bounce.)

“I was told it was a problem with my credit union, that’s why my checks were bouncing, and it wasn’t until I called my credit union that they told me every single one was for non-sufficient funds,” she said.
Another former employee said she was facing eviction and a move that could put her child into another school district.
In a post to social media, Glory Doughnuts & Diner’s owners pointed the finger at the landlord for the abrupt closure. News4 contacted the owners several times with no response.
Greenberg asked the owners to get in touch.
“I trusted you. Please come forward. Please stop pretending to be the victim in these social media posts. You have hurt a lot of people. I believe in change. Please do what is right,” she said.

My curiosity was aroused. “What’s going on here?” I asked myself, with employees speaking of this doughnut shop as “family”? And who keeps working after the first paycheck bounces? The story didn’t actually name the owners of this small-town business, so that was my next Google search — “glory+doughnuts+owner” — and oh, boy!

Glory Doughnuts owners Alissa and Keirsten Straiter

This may shock some readers, but it wasn’t until my brother pointed it out that I realized “Glory Doughnuts” is a double entendre. Meanwhile, I found this 2015 feature profile in the local newspaper:

By 7 a.m., dozens of doughnuts line the counter at Glory Doughnuts in downtown Frederick.
Salted Earl Grey. Blackberry frosted. Double cinnamon toast. Chai tea glazed. Chocolate peanut butter. Not one ingredient from animals, 100 percent vegan.
Shop owners Alissa and Keirsten Straiter have always been the bakers at Glory Doughnuts, waking up to get donuts going by midnight or 1 a.m six days a week.
Morning help arrives around 5 a.m. so they can open two hours later. Around that time, Alissa, 25, and Keirsten, 26, become the shop’s cooks.
Their brick-and-mortar store opened at the corner of East Church Street and North East Street in May.
Both women have been in and out of the food service business since they were old enough to work. As a couple, they found themselves hosting friends and dreaming up new foods to serve, a way of life that led them to the obvious question:
“We love doing this so much — wouldn’t it be cool if we could do it everyday?”
They started out baking doughnuts in a home-based business – selling through farmer’s markets and other shops, including Cafe Nola and Cakes to Die For in Frederick and Red Emma’s in Baltimore.
Their goal was always to open up a restaurant with a full range of food.

Observe the nothing-to-see-here manner in which readers were introduced to the fact that a lesbian couple owns this small-town business. The word “lesbian” never appears in the article, by the way, as if there is some sort of agreement among newspaper editors that the dreaded “L-word” must be omitted, lest readers in bucolic Frederick (population 71,843) be incited to a hate crime. We continue:

The Glory Doughnuts menu is a tribute to times gone by and the rustic industrial design inside the store complements their outlook of hand-forged food made in small batches.
The Straiters cook up old-school comfort foods, focusing on breakfast because of their “borderline obsession with traditional American diner foods,” Alissa said.
Their menu features dishes like fried tofu “eggs,” Pabst Blue Ribbon pancakes and apple pie-stuffed French toast.
The doughnuts come in all shapes and sizes – and almost always sell out.
About seven or eight flavors are offered each day. Some of the flavors are seasonal. As summer gives way to fall, the floral flavors will melt away in favor of pumpkin, apples and caramel.
So what are their favorite flavors?
Alissa says the salted Earl Grey and raspberry tiramisu doughnuts are “last-meal worthy,” while Keirsten loves a more traditional frosted flavor. “Whenever we make the strawberry-frosted, I have to have it,” she said.
Alissa’s favorite moment is when people are surprised the meal they’re eating is vegan.
“It happens every day,” she said. “We want everyone to give it a try. Everyone is always pleasantly surprised and enjoys their meal.”
Alissa and Keirsten decided to become vegan together, when they started dating. “When we met, we actually decided to go vegan together,” Keirsten said.
With new love, they decided to focus on a new way of life. They were motivated by ideas now wrapped into the Glory Doughnuts mission statement, eating a plant-based diet to conserve natural resources, promote health and animal welfare.

(You’ve heard of “Get Woke, Go Broke”? You might say that the ultimate fate of Glory Doughnuts was foretold from the start.)

The appeal of Glory Doughnuts is expanding, drawing customers from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
Next week, they will play host to Baltimore Vegan Drinks, a group that hosts regular happy hours and social event for vegans, vegetarians, and the veg-curious.
Alissa and Keirsten just hired their fifth employee and are hoping to expand their weekend hours soon.
The couple lives downtown and has received a lot of support from other city businesses.
“I think this business was built by the community of Frederick,” said Alissa. Friends, family and new friends helped with the store’s construction, people supported the opening by buying fundraising T-shirts, a lucky few serve as tasters in their “test kitchen.”
“Glory Doughnuts is a group of longtime friends who have all been born and raised here in Frederick, who love Frederick to death,” Alissa said. “I want people to know when they walk through the door, we want them to feel like a friend. If you come here and eat and hang out, you are part of the Glory Doughnuts family.”

Being “part of the family” means your paycheck’s gonna bounce.

Glory Doughnuts ‘family’ members in happier days

By the way, don’t let my habitual sarcasm lead you to mistakenly assume I am against lesbian vegan doughnuts. I mean, if you’re looking for vegan doughnuts, why not get them from authentic local lesbians who seek to “conserve natural resources, promote health and animal welfare”? And get yourself some delicious inclusive diversity while you’re at it:

The Straiters have made it their mission to foster an inclusive environment. “Diversity and representation in the industry are vital. Historically, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community haven’t had the same access to opportunities as others have,” says Alissa. “Representation is important because it normalizes diversity, celebrates culture and lifts communities who may need it.”

Maybe it also “normalizes” your bouncing paycheck?

Please excuse my habitual sarcasm, but these jokes just write themselves. The whole saga of Glory Doughnuts is like an extended set-up just waiting for me to arrive with the punch lines. And please don’t get the impression that I would ever wish business failure on anyone, not even lesbian vegans who went all-in on the anti-Trump “resistance” in 2017. However, now that the business has indeed failed, hindsight offers too many tempting sarcasm opportunities for me to resist.

For example, Glory Doughnuts was featured in a 2018 Frederick Magazine article on local vegetarian restaurants that began with this sentence: “Eating out should be a joyful experience.” Ba-dum-BOOM!

How Glory Doughnuts celebrated Pride Month

In case you’re not familiar with Maryland geography, Frederick is 50 miles northwest of Washington and used to be a bumpkin town that some folks called “Fredneck,” but it’s grown a lot in the past 30 years as more and more people who work in the D.C. metro area discover that they get a much better quality of life there, if they can stand the longer commute. And so the town has become more liberal, as the upscale newcomers bring their college-educated values with them, which helps explain why a lesbian vegan doughnut shop stayed in business more than seven years in downtown Frederick. There is some irony in the fact that the Trump years were actually the heyday for Glory Doughnuts, whose anti-Trump owners apparently made their first crucial mistake by changing locations right at the start of the 2020 pandemic. Then Biden got elected, and rampant inflation sort of eroded the disposable income that folks used to have, back when gas was just $2.25 a gallon. Now the lesbian vegans are trying to explain those bouncing paychecks:

Former employees at the recently shuttered Glory Doughnuts and Diner on West Patrick Street are pursuing legal options after they say they weren’t fairly compensated for tips they received or overtime they worked.
Workers are searching for a lawyer to represent them, and at least one is planning to file a complaint with the Maryland Department of Labor for unpaid wages.

(Because they’re “part of the family,” remember?)

Alissa Straiter, who owns the business with her wife, Keirsten Straiter, told The Frederick News-Post in an interview on Wednesday that they are speaking with their former crew members and are working to pay them what they’re due.
They are looking into complaints from workers about the way tips were distributed, Alissa Straiter said. She said she and her wife will do “everything in our power” to make sure former Glory employees are adequately compensated for overtime hours.

(Amazing what the threat of a lawsuit can accomplish.)

“We obviously [harbor] no ill or negative feelings towards the former crew,” Straiter said. “We think they are due their wages, and we’re working as quickly as possible to procure those.”
But former employees at Glory say they’re worried the problems with their paychecks won’t be resolved soon.
Five former employees spoke with The Frederick News-Post on Monday about their experiences working at the diner and bakery, which closed Thursday after nearly 10 years in downtown Frederick.
It was common for paychecks to bounce when workers tried to cash them, the employees said. Some workers say they are still waiting for paychecks they should have received weeks ago.
Employees say they found out on Aug. 31 that they would be out of a job within the week. Now, as they search for work and file for unemployment, many say they face financial difficulties. They’ve raised more than $10,000 through an online fundraiser to help them through their hardship.

(“We got ripped off by lesbian vegans. Please help.”)

Many of the workers say they feel disappointed by how their time at Glory came to an end and betrayed by the shop’s owners. Some said Glory was more than a workplace. It was their home.
“I think the owners really relied on the fact that we, as employees, felt an obligation to each other, because we felt like a family,” said Jaime Allen, who started working at the diner in April. “No one wanted to quit abruptly or cause problems that would shut the whole place down, because we really, honestly loved working with each other.”

(“We were betrayed! We felt like family!”)

Straiter encouraged former Glory employees who are missing paychecks to reach out to her. She also apologized for the bounced paychecks. That should not have happened, she said.

(Your paycheck bounced? Oops! “Should not have happened.”)

On Monday, the business posted a message to its Facebook page. Glory has been struggling, the message read. The owners thought they might close at the beginning of the year, the message read, but then they made a plan with their landlord to get back on track.
Once they realized they couldn’t keep up under the terms of the agreement, they decided to close Glory. On Wednesday, Alissa Straiter declined to talk further about the circumstances around the business’s closure beyond what the Facebook post described.
Mariana Ehardt, whose company, Ehardt Investments, owns the 162 W. Patrick St. property that housed Glory, said Alissa and Keirsten Straiter were behind on rent by more than four months. She also said she has paid their utility bill for them since they moved to the property two years ago.
Glory Doughnuts previously was at 244 E. Church St. before it moved to West Patrick Street.
Alissa Straiter said she and her wife owe Ehardt less money than Ehardt says they do. Their utility payments are up-to-date, she said. They plan to hire a lawyer to represent them in their dispute with Ehardt, she said.

(Hey, if you can afford to hire a lawyer, maybe you could afford to give your “family” member the back pay you still owe them?)

She and Keirsten Straiter have a message for their former employees, she said.
“We believe all of you and the unintended hurt we’ve caused,” she read from a prepared statement. “You are all valid in your feelings and your concerns, and we’re sorry that we let you down in the end. We apologize for the lack of heads-up and lack of transition out. Everyone who’s able should support your GoFundMe to cover your additional expenses, beyond your pay.”
Former Glory employees are mourning the loss of a space that felt safe and welcoming to queer people, a community many of them are part of.

(Look, it’s not like “queer people” asked for my advice, but if they did, I’d tell them that if they are looking for a “safe and welcoming” space, maybe they should try San Francisco or Portland, instead of a bumpkin town that locals used to call “Fredneck.”)

Working at Glory was the first job former head baker Charlotte Cook had after coming out as a trans woman. She never felt worried that her coworkers would judge her, she said. She knew she was around good people.
For Kiska Greenberg, the former general manager, Glory was the first place she ever worked where nobody asked an inappropriate question about her being gay.

(What constitutes an “inappropriate question”? And in the grand scheme of things, which is worse, having to put up with “inappropriate questions” or having your paycheck bounce?)

Greenberg saw customers walk in the door and start crying because they felt so safe, she said. She was the first person one of her customers ever told they were trans.
“It’s like, we also felt this obligation to all of these people coming in,” Greenberg said. “We felt like we were doing something so important.”
“At least for me,” she later added, “it’s almost impossible to describe the heartbreak I’m feeling about the entire situation.”

This quest for emotional comfort in one’s employment situation — like a commitment to values like “animal welfare” and “inclusion” — is all well and good, until the paychecks start bouncing. If you took a job driving a forklift in a gigantic industrial warehouse owned by a soulless corporate conglomerate, maybe it wouldn’t “feel like family,” and perhaps it wouldn’t be such an “inclusive environment” that “normalizes diversity,” but guess what? Those paychecks don’t bounce.

Learn to code, kids. Welcome to grown-up world.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!




 

Comments

One Response to “Employees Shocked as Lesbian Vegan Doughnut Shop Goes Out of Business”

  1. OH GREAT! Another MEGA WOKE AS [email protected]#* business is gone - The DaleyGator
    September 9th, 2022 @ 9:14 am

    […] The Other McCain breaks the news. Which was, sadly, very predictable! But now, where can the wokers get their Lesbian Vegan Doughnut fix? […]