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A face behind twisted and glazed


Sophomore Niya Williams learns to balance life with family business

As you walk into the little shop on the corner of 15th and Spring, you can’t help but breathe in and absorb the aroma of freshly made donuts. The comforting atmosphere that surrounds you as you step foot through the door is carefully crafted by every little piece of decor that adds to the warmth to the place. Twisted and Glazed is unlike any other donut shop in Paso Robles.

This fall, Sondra and Keith Williams opened a donut shop called Twisted and Glazed that looks out onto the bustling life of Spring Street.Sondra Williams has always had the dream of opening her own bakery, having grown up in Templeton and then later moving to Paso Robles.

“There was always this little shack in the area where [the] shop is, and she always used to say, ‘That’s going to be my cupcake shop,’ or, ‘That’s going to be my bakery one day,’ and so she turned the space that’s there now into Twisted and Glazed with help from my uncle and family, friends, and numerous people,” said Niya Williams, the oldest Williams child.

Twisted and Glazed on a platter: A platter of sugared donuts sits in the display ready to be purchased. A dozen donuts costs $11.

Although Sondra Williams had always dreamed of opening some sort of bakery or pastry shop, it was her brother who really inspired her to start her own business.

“[My Uncle Neil] recently moved down to Texas and opened a donut shop, and my mom was over the moon with that–she thought it was the coolest thing. She started brainstorming on her own and thinking of different ideas,” said Williams, who spends approximately 20 hours every week working in the shop.

Like a typical job, Williams gets paid $10.50 an hour, the minimum wage in California.

“Sometimes, people have family businesses, and it’s like, ‘Oh, we don’t have to pay you; you’re my kids.’ Well, my mom likes to instill the fact that working is very important, and [that] you need to learn how to have those social skills and have those work ethics. She pays us as a reward. In my mind, it’s ‘I have a job, and I have a responsibility and I’m getting paid for that responsibility,” and with her it’s very much like, ‘I’m teaching my kids these things and teaching them how to earn money and how to survive on their own with that,’” Williams said.

Not only does Williams feel that working in her parents’ shop has taught her more about responsibility, but she has also developed very essential people skills.

“I have always been super socially awkward, so I can never openly talk to people, but working there, I am able to talk to people and see people that I know and feel comfortable in my job. Also, just meeting new people and seeing people come back like regular customers is super fun,” Williams said.

Although some aspects of working for the family business are the same to any other job, Williams describes some perks of working closely with your family.

“It’s hard to get your point across [when you’re not working for people you are familiar with], and it’s hard to be able to speak your mind and to be able to just do what you would normally do. Working in a family business, it’s people who know you, and you get to be associated with that as a whole, and not just like ‘Oh, I work there,’” said Williams, who works alongside a regular staff of about eight people.

Although the weeks leading up to the opening of the shop were stressful, Williams assures us that the family hasn’t let the business get in the way of their time together, and that despite the challenges, it is an experience that has been rewarding for all.

“My favorite thing about opening the shop is seeing my mom being happy and seeing her meet all these different people and be super happy about being able to give back to some of those people,” Williams said.

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