Western New York Heritage

Freddie's Doughnuts

Freddie's Doughnuts, Main Street Buffalo, near Michigan, 1950s. Photo Source: private collection postcard.

"Freddie" was Frederick Maier, an immigrant from the Ukraine via Canada in 1913. He found his way to Michigan where he began working in a bakery at age 11. It was there that he learned the doughnut-frying job, considered the worst job in the bakery. He quit school before finishing 9th grade and tried setting up doughnut shops in various towns, including Niagara Falls. All were unsuccessful. But then, in 1924, he moved to Buffalo and made a success of the doughnut-making business, first on West Ferry and then on Main Street near Michigan.

The same view in 2007.

Freddie started his work day at 2 or 3 a.m. and worked until sundown. Three of his four children joined him in the business.  In the 1960s, Freddie sold 25 million doughnuts a year, many of them to young people who sold them through fund-raisers for their church or youth groups. The Buffalo City Mission gave Freddie a plaque in 1979 for having donated over half a million doughnut to the organization over the years.

Despite his lack of formal education, Freddie Maier designed much of his bakery's machinery and held a number of patents. He closed the business in 1989 after 65 years and died in 1999 at the age of 93. The property remains in the family in 2007.

In 2007, many Western New Yorkers can recall, with gustatory joy, the taste of a Freddie's doughnut.