Kevin and Melinda Albright take a break Thursday at Morning Glory Baking Company Cafe. Photo by firstname.lastname@example.org
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Saturday, July 29 is a bittersweet day for Kevin and Melinda Albright as they close down Morning Glory Baking Company Café on Diamond Drive across from Los Alamos High School. The café opened early Saturday morning and will close at noon. Most of the supplies have been sold off and the remainder will be sold Saturday.
The Albrights received a text message in October from Russ Ross saying he had bought the building – everything except Comcast. Kevin said Ross didn’t have plans at that time and was asking what the town needed and would support. By that time, the Albrights had been at that location for 16 years and were trying to sell the business. At the end of June, the Albrights were notified that both their building and the former Metzger’s Gas Station, Auto Shop and Convenience Store next door were to be demolished and that they would have to be out by Dec. 1. They began to look for an alternative location and looked at a couple of alternatives. It became clear that their overhead would have doubled. They were already operating with building maintenance issues including a leaking roof.
“Everything pointed to it being time. We had seen lower cash flow this summer. We decided it was time to move on to our next adventure,” Kevin said.
The Albrights had hoped to sell the business which includes the Daylight Donuts franchise that has been in Los Alamos for 44 years. The original Daylight Donuts started in 1979 and was located behind the former Brownell’ Hallmark store in the Mari Mac Shopping center. During the 1991-1992 school year, Melinda became the manager. Then the original owners’ home was lost in a fire and they sold the business to the Albrights.
“In 2001 we bought the business. I had been working at the business when it was located at 112 Central Park Square. Initially most of the staff were kids with a few adults. It was a great place for kids who wanted to work,” Melinda said. “We often both kids and their parents working there and the joke was, ‘Everyone and their mother works at Daylight Donuts’”.
The Albrights came to Los Alamos in 1983 when Kevin, a biomedical engineer, came to work at the National Flow Cytometry Resource. The flow cytometer was originally developed at Los Alamos in the late 1960s to measure the DNA content of cells. https://sgp.fas.org/othergov/doe/lanl/pubs/00326960.pdf Kevin said it was a wonderful project to work on because he knew the tremendous impact it would have on the 21st century.
He went on to earn an electrical engineering degree at UNM and work in various staff positions at LANL.
“When we bought the business, I worked at both LANL and the café. Then in 2004, I stopped working at LANL because I wanted to work with my wife. I was happy with where the gene lab was when I left,” Kevin said.
Although Morning Glory has given them lots of hard work, the couple noted their appreciation for the loyalty of their customers throughout the years. They reminisced about the names and faces of their regular customers, many of whom have faithfully followed them since they first bought the business. They also spoke about all the great people who have worked for them all the way to the end.
The Albrights have two grown children, a son Ian and a daughter Darci. Melanie recalled the great times their children had working at the business and Kevin noted that neither Ian nor Darci wanted to inherit it. The Albrights have a large task ahead of them; they want to sell all the commercial kitchen equipment as well as other items such as the chairs and tables. (Watch out for more information in the Reporter)
While many are happy that the Albrights can head on to new adventures and spend more time with each other and other family members, many are sad to see the business close. It was a great place to stop for some good coffee and a great burrito in the morning as well as handmade Daylight Donut and other baked goods.
The first wave of customers usually came through right at the 6:30 a.m. opening time and was mostly workforce members, while the second wave was dozens of Los Alamos High School students, school staff and others. During the school year, lunchtime brought a mob of students and lots of noise, but the Albrights welcomed them daily. Late mornings brought folks who wanted a quiet coffee and something tasty to eat with it.
Morning Glory’s closure is the end of an era. No plans have been announced by the owner for the property. Thank you to the Albrights and all their staff throughout the years for a job well done.