Hole In One Under New Ownership
By: Ryan Bray
Topics: Business , Orleans news , restaurants , Hole In One
EASTHAM – Ken Taber had a good career in the software industry when he and his wife, Erica, decided to pack up and move with their son to Eastham.
They moved to the Cape to work at Hole In One, the Eastham and Orleans locations which were at the time owned by Erica's father. But they stopped short of fully committing to the relocation, opting to keep their house in South Windsor, Conn.
"We thought 'Let's just hold onto it and see if this actually works,'" said Ken, seated at his desk in back of the Eastham eatery, Fairway Restaurant and Pizzeria. "So we rented up here."
It didn't take long before the couple learned just how all consuming the restaurant business was. For Taber, his wife, three sisters-in-law and two brothers-in-law, Hole In One hasn't been a job, it's been their lives.
"The thing about the business, it was the vehicle to provide for our families and raise our children together," he said. "We all live here in Eastham about a mile apart from each other. We didn't have to take our kids to daycare. We didn't have to take our kids and get babysitters. Everybody had their kids together, and we just shared the responsibility."
Now after 33 years, the family behind the Lower Cape institutions is ready to move on and hand the business over.
The seven family members and shareholders who make up Hole In One, Inc. settled agreements Dec. 30 to sell the Hole In One Breakfast and Lunch in Orleans, the Hole In One Bakery and Donut Shop in Eastham and that location's adjoining Fairway restaurant to John and Brenda Kesaris of Pembroke.
Records on file with the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds show that the Orleans property at 98 Route 6A sold for $1.1 million. The Eastham property at 4295 State Highway, which includes the donut shop and the Fairway, sold for $1.7 million.
The Kesarises are seasoned restaurant owners, according to Ken, who will continue to work for Hole In One as a consultant into 2024.
"Some people ask me 'Ken, are you ready to give up the reins?' I say 'Yeah, I'm ready.'"
Taber's father-in-law, Tom Bazzano, bought the original Hole In One donut shop in 1989. He expanded the business to Route 6A in Orleans in 1992.
Over time, Bazzano's four daughters each got involved with Hole In One in different capacities. Kris Bazzano has been hand cutting donuts at the Eastham location since 1988, and she later started running the location along with her sister, Jamie Wacht, and Jamie's husband, Dan.
Later, Lori Field and her husband, Bob, joined the business to run the Orleans Hole In One. Erica joined the business with Ken in 1995 after time spent as a schoolteacher.
"It's an everyday thing," Ken said of the close family dynamic. "Jamie's over there working right now up front doing retail. Erica's in the back in product development, the bakery, production. Dan is receiving orders. I'm in here. That's an everyday event."
Ken started working for the business as treasurer, and his background in sales, human resources and payroll made him an ideal fit to be the business' president upon Hole In One's incorporation in 1997. The following year, he helped negotiate the purchase of the Fairway.
The family has navigated the locations through a number of changes over the years, from major events such as the 2008 financial crisis and multiple recessions to expansions and renovations. The Orleans location was renovated in 2013, followed by a 2,500-square-foot expansion in the back of the Fairway the following year. The Eastham location was renovated in 2019.
Through it all, success followed Hole In One and the Fairway, even during the leanest of times. Ken credits the business' success with his family's overarching commitment to fostering a sense of community and integrating itself in the Lower Cape.
"That's what drove us," he said. "That's what's kept us going."
Around the time of the Fairway renovation, the family started formulating a 10-year plan for phasing out of the business. But the COVID-19 pandemic played a hand in expediting that process, Ken said.
During COVID, employees were given more flexibility to work as much or as little as they could. That process got some family members thinking more about life after Hole In One. For some, it was a shift toward prioritizing other opportunities. Ken said there was also a sense that the family wasn't ready to commit to expanding the business further.
"We've always talked about an exit strategy," he said. "We're building this thing up so large, how do we get out of it? Because none of our kids wanted to take it over."
Fortunately, the Kesarises agreed to buy all three locations, and Ken said the new owners are committed to carrying on Hole In One legacy. John Kesaris, in fact, may soon be seen on site in Eastham learning how to hand cut donuts.
"I'm excited that I've got someone who loves the brand, who wants to maintain the brand, and who wants to be involved in the community," Ken said.
But the sale doesn't represent a clean break from the business for Ken and the rest of his family. He said many of the now former shareholders still plan to stay involved with Hole In One and the Fairway in some capacity. The family also has its line of granola, Four Sisters, which it will continue to oversee.
That continuity will be key to the success of Hole In One and the Fairway going forward, Ken said, just as it has been for the past three decades.
"People feel comfortable when it's consistent," he said. "You know what you're going to get. You pay for this, that's what you get."
Looking back, Ken said one of his favorite parts of the job he's had for going on 28 years has been the surprises. No one day has ever been the same; each one bringing its share of challenges and things to address. Now as he looks ahead to life after Hole In One, he's hopeful that more surprises lie ahead. His immediate plans include spending time with his family, perhaps some traveling. Beyond that, he's ready for whatever might come next.
"It's a journey," he said. "It's kind of like getting in your car and saying 'You know what, I want to go to Maine.' You have no idea what road you're going to take or what hotel you're going to stay in. Are you going to sleep in your car? Where are we going to eat? 'I don't know, we'll figure it out.'
"You don't plan your journey," he said. "You just get in the car and head to your destination. And that's the fun of it."
Email Ryan Bray at firstname.lastname@example.org