Johns Bakery & Cafe closes after nearly 50 years of business in Monticello

Dave and Sandy Johns opened the business a few years after they got married. The pair has been baking donuts together since the early 1970s.

Posted: Jan 29, 2020 10:59 AM
Updated: Jan 29, 2020 11:14 AM

MONTICELLO, Ind. (WLFI)—A Monticello staple is closing its doors for good after nearly 50 years in business. News 18 sat down with the owners of Johns Bakery & Cafe to learn why. 

"We're tired," Sandy Johns said with a laugh. "We're getting worn out too," Her husband Dave added. 

Dave and Sandy Johns opened the business a few years after they got married. The pair has been baking donuts together since the early 1970s. 

"We raised our kids in the bakery," said Sandy. "It's about all they've ever known," Dave added.

Dave and Sandy's children went on to have kids of their own. If you stop in Johns, you'll meet several generations all working together at the cafe. 

"We have mostly family working here," Sandy said. "And the ones that aren't family have been with us so long that they feel like family."

The family environment doesn't stop there.

The restaurant has become a place where many Monticello natives grab a bite regularly. Some people even stop by every day

News 18 spoke with customers who explained, with tears in their eyes, how much they are going to miss seeing Dave and Sandy. 

That's why the Johns say making the decision to close was so hard, because the people are what kept them going for this long.

"It was a hard decision. I'm gonna cry," Sandy said, holding back tears. "We're gonna miss the people, because they've been great. We have had some very, very loyal customers." 

Dave and Sandy are saying goodbye to customers that have been there since the beginning.

The bakery has been operating for 49 years, but it wasn't always called 'Johns.' Dave and Sandy started out in downtown Monticello with what was originally called "The Monticello Donut Shop." 

The Johns moved their donut shop to Main Street for three years before settling in on NW Shafer Drive for 28 years. The bakery's NW Shafer Dr. location brought in many out-of-towners, and Indiana Beach visitors. The bakery has operated on North Sixth Street for the last 11 years. 

"We're going to miss the vacationers," Sandy said.  

One customer told News 18 she didn't know where she was going to go out to eat once Johns closes. She said there's no other atmosphere like it. 

"Next year I don't think, we just can't do it," Sandy said. "Sometimes we start at eight o'clock at night and work all night, because we still made everything from scratch and hand cut and all that. It's a lot of work. It's hard work, it's fun."

Dave and Sandy explained it's been difficult to find someone wanting to make homemade donuts every night.

"Neither Dave and I are able to make [the donuts] right now. So it's really hard to get somebody to come in and work that many hours." 

For its last week, the bakery is only serving donuts on Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday, Feb 1. Johns will officially close up shop on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. 

As for the couple's future plans, they say they're not quite sure what they'll be doing next. However, their family-first mentality will always remain.

"We have a lot of family," Dave said. "Lots of grandkids and great grandkids, so maybe we'll get to enjoy them more."

The Johns say selling the business is an option. Interested parties can contact (574) 583-3325.

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