Bizzy Buzzy: a besieged bakery
Appeal Staff Writer
The little yellow building at the Carson City Airport survived a war against the elements.
Rain water had rushed in from the tarmac, filling one room in the kitchen.
The building had settled, causing a crack in two walls. So, if you stood in the flooded kitchen room you could look through the crack and watch a plane landing on the runway and feel the wind against your face.
The kitchen and bathroom floors had to be torn up to locate the plumbing. Once everything was found the floors had to be replaced.
The roof leaked.
The grease traps clogged.
After nine months of work and a $45,000 investment, Elroy “Buz” Devoll’s Bizzy Buzzy Airport Café and Bakery is “fit for humans.” And for what he had intended it to be, a place to bake doughnuts, cakes and breads.
But there’s more trouble brewing over the bakery. Devoll obtained a rent waiver from the airport authority in August 2004 in exchange for bringing it to code and occupying the restaurant. At that time the board thought any business was better than a derelict building.
The renovations proved to be more difficult than earlier predications, so the opening day was pushed back further.
In January, Devoll faced Carson City Airport Authority board members who were mystified that he even wanted to continue the work. Devoll said then that the building would probably be done in late March.
The airport authority sent a letter to Devoll on March 21, giving him notice that the land will soon be leased to another developer, and the building will be demolished.
Devoll began rolling out the raised donuts and cake donuts at 2 a.m. Tuesday and opened on Friday.
“I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I knew I’d get the building done. I just didn’t know if I’d get it done before the airport authority wanted to move me out of here.”
Buz the baker
Devoll got his “Buz” nickname because of his energetic personality and his tendency to get involved with several projects at once.
“When you see me work I’m just fast,” he said. “In 1976 the Red Bluff Chamber of Commerce said that because I had a bakery, an ice creamery and an Arabic horse ranch, they would call me Bizzy Buzzy.”
The 51-year-old building contractor, who also owns Buznaumie construction, sat at one of the café’s wobbly tables wearing a flour-dusted apron and a bright yellow “Bizzy Buzzy” T-shirt. The scent of sugary donuts and grease filled the 2,000-square-foot oval building.
A cart of baked goods are left over after the morning delivery of 20 dozen to a country store. They are priced less than Krispy Kreme doughnuts and made from scratch using recipes passed down from a baker Devoll met in 1969 as a high school freshman in Red Bluff, Calif.
“I was mopping the floors there when I accidentally put the mop handle through a wedding cake,” Devoll said. “He made me fix the wedding cake and that was the beginning of my career.”
That baker was Ed Hartung. He passed four recipe books on to his protégé. The recipes – for things like fruited bran bread, English cookies and devil’s food – are written in slanted cursive on brown pages that crumble at the touch. Some of the recipes are dated from the late 1800s. Others are cut out of magazines. Many of the recipes are like jigsaw puzzles, in need of someone to put the pieces together again.
Devoll wants to teach these recipes to his son. And he’s already started here.
The fate of 2600 E. Graves Lane
“It’s just a horrible little building,” said Yvon Weaver, Carson City airport manager.
The airport board agreed with her and has planned for a year to tear it down. At its March 16 meeting the board decided to lease out about seven acres at the airport’s entrance, which includes the yellow building.
“I could not understand, under the circumstances, why he would continue to put money into it when he knew the airport wanted the building gone eventually,” Weaver said. “It really kind of puzzles me.”
Steve Tackes, legal counsel for the airport authority, said the August 2004 license agreement with Devoll can be terminated with 30 days notice by either party. The letter he sent to Devoll isn’t a 30-day notice, but it was to alert him that in the future he would have to vacate.
“There was no guarantee of a timeframe that he could use the building,” Tackes said. “The term of the license is five years, but that doesn’t mean he has a right to it for five years.”
Tackes said developers are interested in the property, bids are due May 10, but it could take months before anything happens to the land. The minimum rate for the land is 30 cents per square foot per year. In the place of the Bizzy Buzzy will be a nice new building, or a parking lot.
Devoll said he thinks he’ll be able to save about $25,000 of his investment, and that’ll come from selling back his equipment.
“I’ve got no place else to go,” he said.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.
Bizzy Buzzy Airport Café and Bakery
2600 E. Graves Lane at the Carson City Airport
Bizzy Buzzy is open Monday to Saturday from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.