Home News and Features Manghis’ Bread Still Selling Rolls to Kids for a Nickel

Manghis’ Bread Still Selling Rolls to Kids for a Nickel

From left, Teis Wheeler, Nola and Evangeline Kantlehner, and Louis McConville after picking up 5-cent rolls at Manghis’ Bread on School Street in Montpelier. Photo by John Lazenby.
If the appealing smell of baking bread is not enough to draw children or their parents into The Manghis’ Bread, the affordable price of a roll might do it. Five cents is all kids need to buy a soft Italian guastelle roll before or after school, thanks to a policy the long-established family bakery began years ago, which is still in place despite inflation. 

Manghis’ Bread was started by husband-and-wife team Paul and Elaine Manghi. Elaine, a native of Northfield, began selling bread out of her home in 1974, and eventually started a bread-baking business with Paul in 1981. In 1982, they moved the business to 28 School Street in Montpelier, where they have been ever since.

“The roll tradition probably started when we first moved to this location,” said Maria Manghi Stoufer, Elaine and Paul’s daughter, who with her husband, Steve Stoufer, took over the business in 2014 when Elaine retired. Steve left the New England Culinary Institute and joined the baking crew in 2011 after Paul passed away unexpectedly in 2010. Today, nine people in all — several part-time — work at the bakery.

The roll deal for kids — 5 cents for one or two for 50 cents —  attracts three dozen customers a day from Union Elementary School, as well as the occasional middle or high school student, according to Maria.

Most of the young roll buyers arrive right after school, but some stop by in the morning on their way to school. 

“Some children might skip breakfast or don’t get breakfast at home, so this is a nice way for them to fill their bellies before they go to school,” Maria said. “My mother loved to take photos of kids coming in to get their rolls, and we still have about four scrapbooks with photos of children sitting and munching their rolls.”

Manghis’ Bread sells a wide variety of breads, rolls, granola, and sweet treats to nearly 45 wholesale accounts, as well as at the bakery. This time of year they are particularly busy baking hot cross buns, which are only offered during Lent. “Some people call them ‘spring buns’ because they are available when people are hoping spring will come,” Stoufer said. “We make 10,000 or more hot cross buns leading up to Easter.”

Jake Leahey munches on a roll and watches the bread slicer in action.
For young central Vermonters, though, Manghis’ is still best known as the place where you can get a fresh roll for a nickel. The history of the 5-cent roll was recounted as follows in an article by Michael Sherman published in The Bridge on June 5, 2014, at the time of Elaine’s retirement.

“The tradition began when Elaine’s own children started bringing their classmates to the bakery. It expanded to selling rolls for a nickel to kids waiting near the Kellogg-Hubbard Library (next door to the bakery) for the Lotus Lake bus during the summer. Those kids then started coming into the bakery on their way to or from Union Elementary School (down the street from the bakery), and then parents began showing up at the door with their toddlers on the way to or from the library’s story hour programs. 

“Now there are generations of kids, some grown to adulthood and with children of their own, who come to purchase or receive as a little gift a guastelle fresh out of the oven. Kids learn to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you;’ some get their first lessons in applied arithmetic as they learn to count change. Combined with the adults of all ages who come in to purchase a loaf of bread or some other product, these small transactions make the Manghis’ bakery a community crossroads and meeting place.”

The Manghis’ Bread is open Monday through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Kids on a mission to get an after-school roll or two. The bakery’s location on School Street puts it on the route to and from Union Elementary School, a block away.