Circle of Life: Montclair’s famous donuts last and bread is back!

There’s been a change in Montclair’s donut culture. The creator and CEO of Rabble Rise Doughnuts, formerly Montclair Bread Company, Rachel Wyman, has passed the torch to a new CEO—or as Wyman likes to call it, Executive Doughnut.

Wyman will join the faculty of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York as a full-time teacher of baking and pastry. For Wyman, a CIA graduate and cookbook author, it’s a full-circle moment for Wyman after years of teaching young children baking lessons and serving delicious meals to Montclair residents.

After accepting her new position at the CIA, Wyman began searching for a new director general to take over her business. Wyman found Wes Berghahn, a real estate agent and entrepreneur looking for a custom business. Originally from Gilford, New Hampshire, Berghahn grew up in the small business world surrounded by family and friends who owned bagel shops. He studied supply chain management and marketing and literature at Rutgers and worked in the pharmaceutical packaging machinery industry.

Wes Berghahn (LinkedIn)

While Wyman was looking for a replacement, Berghahn was looking for a business that would be recession-proof.

“I have been looking at various places that I have seen for sale through this broker. I’ve just tried food in a lot of bakeries – obviously it was a very fun thing to do.’

Berghahn visited Rabble Rise and sampled a Boston Cream donut, then offered it to Wyman because, Berghahn says, the donut was “the best I’ve ever had.”

Berghahn closed the deal on June 1. In an effort to learn more about the Rabble Rise brand image, he began working in Montclair. He found that after changing the name from Montclair Bread Company to Rabble Rise Doughnuts, some members of the community didn’t know what Rabble Rise was (but they did know about Montclair Bread Company). Others stopped being customers after bread and other non-doughnut products were discontinued. Berghahn, who has already returned bread(!), plans to change Rabble Rise back to Montclair Bread Company, but intends to maintain the original integrity of Wyman’s bakery that the community has come to know and love.

“Same process, same ingredients, same everything. I’m not going to mess with something that works,” Berghahn said. “The business was called Montclair Bread Company for 15 years, and Montclair is a town that supported the business for 15 years. I think it’s fair to keep Montclair in the brand name because the community helped build the business.”

In addition to the bread and donuts that Montclair residents know and love, Berghahn is looking to bring in new products such as breakfast donut and croissant sandwiches, ice cream and monthly specialty donut flavors.

Community involvement remains a priority, said Berghahn, who will work to maintain local events and participate in citywide events. Most recently, Rabble Rise hosted a Donuts and Drag event during Montclair’s Pride Week on June 6.

As for Rabble Rise’s second location in New Paltz, New York, Wyman told followers in a May 31 email that it will continue to operate Friday through Sunday, independent of the Montclair location.

“It grew a great company and created a great brand and product,” said Wyman’s Berghahn. “That’s what attracted me to the business. It’s been good to see her involvement in the community – it’s a great way to strengthen the business.”

“I’ve eaten enough donuts in my life to know when a donut is good and when it’s not. They are very, very good donuts.”

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