Monkey Bread owner: business savvy and sticky fingers

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

Laura Idell with a tray of freshly baked monkey bread, a “pull-apart” treat and Boardwalk favorite.   Laura Idell with a tray of freshly baked monkey bread, a “pull-apart” treat and Boardwalk favorite.

22-year-old Laura Idell goes from intern to entrepreneur

Most new college graduates are creating resumes and pounding the pavement in search of employment, or working a summer job while they ponder their career path.

Laura Idell is a step ahead of all of them. The new owner of T&M Monkey Bread at 972 Boardwalk, Idell took a brief respite from entrepreneurship to graduate from Rowan University on May 13. Then she went right back to work.

“I’m very excited,” said Idell, who managed the business the last two summers after working there since 2007.

She may be only 22 years old, but with a dual major in human resource management and business management and four summers of working behind her, Idell says she feels well-prepared for the challenges ahead.

“I learned a lot managing the place,” she said. “I knew what I was in for.”

Monkey bread is a gooey mix of a sticky bun and a cinnamon bun. It’s popular for breakfast, as a dessert, and as a snack. So Idell has to be ready for the sweet-toothed early birds at 7 a.m. and those with midnight munchies. It’s a very labor-intensive business, and everything is done in-house.

“I’m working seven days a week, that’s what it’s going to take,” she said. “I’m doing most of the work myself. As the season gets busier, I’ll bring more employees in. Basically I’ll have no life, but that’s what owning your own business is all about.”

Former owner Mary Bromhead approached Idell about buying the business last November.

“It was crazy,” Idell said. “I did an internship last year. I always wanted to own a Boardwalk business but I never thought it would be ‘next year.’ I was surprised but really excited by the opportunity.”

Idell offers traditional monkey bread and is experimenting with a few variations: banana, chocolate chip, coconut, and banana chocolate chip.

“It’s like a pull-apart bun,” she said.

Raised in Winslow Township, Idell played varsity sports in high school and college. While her athletic career has ended, the competitive drive remains.

“I love running a business,” she said. “I loved working here when it was busy, I love it even more now that it’s my own business. I enjoy the people, seeing the regular customers come back and tell me they don’t come to Ocean City without getting monkey bread.

“I’m never sitting, I’m always moving, so this is an ideal business for me. I like to be busy. I like the excitement of a line forming and knowing we have to keep getting the product ready, keep getting it hot, hot and fresh to the customers. It’s stressful, but that’s what I thrive on.”

Idell plans to keep the business open on weekends as weather permits and is very excited about the prospect of opening for First Night, when over 10,000 people converge on the summer resort for the non-alcoholic celebration of the New Year.

“That’s going to be awesome,” she said.

Idell says she plans to build on the success of the Boardwalk treat that Mary Bromhead and her ex-husband Tim created 10 years ago. She has no worries about opening a business in the midst of an economic downturn; she’s chosen not to participate in the recession. Despite tightened budgets, she says people still find the money for a well-deserved treat.

“I don’t worry; they still want to splurge,” she said. “I am a driven person; I am ready for the challenges that lie ahead. Nothing in life is easy. Ocean City is a beautiful place to live, visit, and vacation, and I so happy to have my own business on the Boardwalk in such a beautiful town.”

The familiar orange awning makes Monkey Bread easy to spot. The familiar orange awning makes Monkey Bread easy to spot.

Vanessa, Ryan and Landon Baer of York, Pa., line up for Monkey Bread. Vanessa, Ryan and Landon Baer of York, Pa., line up for Monkey Bread.


blog comments powered by Disqus