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Community Spotlight: Kneading a Change

Jul 20, 2018 01:44PM ● By Staff Writer

Louise Lambert was successful. She was happy, and very good as a 23-year media & digital sales executive for some of Acadiana’s most popular radio stations. “Sales is always in my blood, only now, I’m selling Meche’s Donuts.”

Wait a second. I did just say ‘…she was happy and very good… media sales executive’, didn’t I?

That I did; but Louise Lambert decided—as content as she was—that she was ready for a pretty big change. “I am the general manager of Pinhook location of Rickey Meche’s Donuts in Lafayette.” Seems that one of her radio clients—the Lim Family which owned a pair of Meche’s locations—was looking to add a third store, “…And I said, ‘That sounds like so much fun’” recalls Lambert. “Willy (Lim) looked at me and asked, ‘O.K., you sure?’, and I said, ‘Yes, that’s what I want to do.’”

So in December of 2017, Louise Lambert left one job and began another, one decidedly different from the first. “I don’t know; something just clicked. I love to bake, and this was meant to be.” Lambert’s family was on board with the decision (“They just want me to be happy”) but some friends were a bit perplexed. “They’d look at me and say, ‘You’re giving up what? You’re doing what? You’re working weekends? Why are you doing this?’” she laughs. “They have no idea how much I’m loving this! No regrets at all!”

What happens now, among other things, is a decidedly different schedule. “I wake up at 2:30 a.m., in my car at 3:30 on my way to work and I’m singing to the radio. I’m excited, and love coming to work.” Lambert admits, however, that her knowledge in the donut arena was a blank slate of sorts. “Oh, I didn’t know how to do any of this; it’s all a new world. They do it a certain way, and a lot of customers love the way it’s done here.”

Eight months into it, Lambert is still learning the tools of her new trade; kolaches are her favorite to make, and she creates the fried boudin kolaches and roll-ups. “It’s a very big learning experience with the dough,” she says. “It takes about 45-to-50 minutes to be ready, and it has to be perfect from start-to-finish.” She doesn’t actually fry the donuts yet, but she does understand that it is an art form. “You don’t want the donuts to be too little, you don’t want them to rise too much. There’s a science to all of this.”

Lambert says her donut life is less stressful than her work in radio; the Pinhook location of Meche’s is still relatively new so there are fewer expectations as of yet. But that’s not to say there aren’t pressured-filled moments. “At the three locations owned by the Lim Family, we have hot, fresh glazed until 10 a.m.,” she explains, “so we have to have dough in the bowl, dough on the table, dough in the proofer and dough in the fryer.” And if there’s a large, unexpected order? “Well, if someone comes in and wants 12 dozen, you accommodate them; but at the same time we want to be ready for the folks who come in right after that, too.”

As Louise said, sales will always be in her blood; only now, it’s sales with a thin, delicious glaze of sugar on top. “Somedays I go out, bring samples to businesses, show up with donuts and kolaches,” she smiles. “I go, ‘Hi, I’m Louise with Meche’s, and I’m here with free food’, and they go, ‘Ahhh, Meche’s!’”

Owning her own Meche’s is on her wish list, but, in the meantime, Louise Lambert is happy simply rolling in the dough. “I think this is so much fun; everyone who comes into a donut store seems happy. They’re traveling, they’re splurging with their kids, it’s family time, and everyone’s usually in a good mood.”

Ask her what the best part about her job is, and you get a very fitting answer: “Ummm?... Donut holes?”