The Donut Shop

When the donut shop on South Main Street opened, I gave it a year at most. In the nearly thirty years we’ve lived here, I’ve seen two donut shops and three bakeries open… and close. After close to ten years, the donut shop is going stronger than ever. It’s open from six in the morning until two in the afternoon.

How did it manage when so many others failed? I’m guessing, but it has several factors going for it. First, its donuts are by far the best in town. Second, it’s open every day of the week. Third, it has a drive-up window that’s relatively easy to access. Fourth, it serves a range of coffee, tea, and smoothie beverages, and fifth, it has a range of baked pastry-type sandwiches [I don’t know how else to describe them] for lunch.

The donuts are slightly more expensive than any others in town, roughly ten percent more.

There is one thing that bothers me, though. Given my schedule, or my wife’s, we’re almost never free to visit the donut shop until it’s close to closing time, and by then, the shop is almost always out of glazed donuts – my wife’s favorite. There are old-fashioned plain and old-fashioned glazed donuts, and chocolate iced donuts, and plenty of glazed donut holes, but no glazed donuts.

Now, the owner has been successful, when so many have failed. So who am I to suggest change?

At the same time, if he’s always out of glazed donuts by one o’clock, and he has left-over donut holes, wouldn’t it make more sense – and dollars – to bake a few more glazed donuts?

Then, maybe he does, and I have the misfortune only to show up when there aren’t any left. And that’s the danger of relying too heavily on personal and anecdotal information.

5 thoughts on “The Donut Shop”

  1. R. Hamilton says:

    You’re fortunate to have them. For some of us, excellent donuts are a mixed blessing. 🙂 I miss the old days when Dunkin stores actually baked their own (“every four hours, time to make the donuts”); now, at least in my area, they get them all once or twice a day from a regional factory; not nearly as good. But they decided that most of their $$ came from coffee etc, not donuts; and apparently skilled labor is expensive and/or scarce.

    My three other choices are: (best, but very brief hours) an Amish market that’s open 3 days a week (Thursday-Saturday, not late; they live in probably Lancaster County, PA, and hire drivers to get to central MD; a number of their businesses operate out of what must have been an old grocery store); I think they make them on site, and they’re incredible, at least the ones I’ve tried, includinig some exotics (maple cream filled with bacon on top!), the cherry cheese danish, and the blueberry fritters. Then there’s a locally owned but not close more or less 24 hour donut shop that’s more like what Dunkin used to be like, but even more variety. And finally, there’s one that’s close but only open mornings (esp. for best selection); theirs are not pretty, but their potato donuts (better than it sounds!) are very good.

    Oh, and a Krispy Kreme on the way to the nearest Wegman’s (a northeastern mega grocery store chain that puts Whole Foods to shame); not close, but I go by there anyway.

    With all those opportunities, it’s an effort to remember that I mostly don’t need the calories. 🙂

  2. Tom says:

    Perhaps the range of baked pastry-type sandwiches are Pirozhki? A Russian and Ukrainian baked or fried yeast-leavened boat-shaped buns with a variety of fillings. Estonians (and Finns) too have this tradition. The pirukad or saiakesed are fairly small in size and have regional variations in respect to fillings. They are usually made with puff pastry. Sweet fillings are as popular as savory pirukad with fillings like apple, various berries, marzipan, various spices and jam. Apart from the many presentations of the lowly herring these are something to look forward to in north Europe.

    1. R. Hamilton says:

      If it’s the place I think it is given the info, the sandwiches are croissant sandwiches (they just might bake their own, from the looks) and kolache (Czech origin) (sweet fillings) and/or klobasnek (savory fillings).

      Just Googling from a distance, so that’s not 100%, but likely.

    2. Grey says:

      You may be guessing for a while without input from LEM. I think every food culture in the world has a dish like this: a lil’ sack of pastry dough filled with yummies. Empanadas, samosas, spanakopita, or more if you include the more dumpling -types like gyoza, and on and on (or even modern abominations like RH noted, the croissandwich).

  3. Grey says:

    From spending way too much time in small café/bakeries – croissants, tea and coffee likely warrant their own line item in my annual budget – the owner is probably betting that most people that come in looking for a specific type of doughnut will have what’s there, rather than leaving in disappointment. You would need to ask a bakery what the economics are of producing potentially more than you can sell, but based on my observation alone, the preference seems to be it’s better to run out of things to sell than to have stuff left over.

    As for your specific situation, have you tried calling earlier in the morning and asking them to set one aside for you including prepaying over the phone? It works pretty well for me during in our neighborhoods seemingly annual ‘gingerbread person crisis’ that occurs every holiday with a similar supply and demand problem.

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