Time To Make The Donuts – Part 1: Destination Donuts
Posted by cmh gourmand on April 9, 2013
With all of my hubris about the death of the cupcake and my pontificating about the merits of the classic donut, one might think I was building up to something. That is correct. Readers of CMH Gourmand are bright, astute go-getters who can see a preamble from long across a long counter. Time for the ballyhoo!
It is high time for the donut to go gourmet. The right gal for the job is Heather Morris. She is not some fly by night money grabber, this donut dame had her sights set on donut dominance for quite some time. She loved donuts as a kid. She saw a hole in the local donut market: independent shops making the treat by hand. And she knew she needed to find a niche, grocery stores and large chains sell donuts cheap. There are incalculable costs we pay for a lower price tag on a donut: less flavor, more preservatives and a loss of creativity among them. Heather wondered if people would “get it”. Would they pay more for a mere donut? She knew she needed to make her products different and memorable, so she named them Destination Donuts.
But if you fry them, will they come? Heather had faith that the common man in Columbus would pay a little more for a much better product. But she need she needed to get her donuts in row first. Heather did her homework. She dusted off some lesser used culinary skills and training before she got started. Spent a lot of time perfecting her recipes and craft at home – testing, retesting, tweaking, tasting, etc. She even shadowed a place called Dynamo Donuts in the city by the bay to get a sense of how to make a good donut better. And, like me, she read about, studied and stalked donuts shops and trends around the country.
Instead of going out of the frying pan and into the fryer, she decided to start slow. She secured commercial kitchen space she could rent by the hour. She set her sights on the North Market and arranged to be a guest vendor there on alternating weekends. She launched in November of 2012. She kept her day job while staying up late and getting up early to make the donuts then transporting them to sell at the market. In spite of sleep deprivation and little word of mouth other than social media, she kept a smile on her face, asked customers and others for feedback and kept tweaking the art of donutery. She sold out. And then she almost sold out again. Then she started leaving no donut behind consistently. After that she added more slots at the North Market while forging a relationship with the Hills Market (prime or uptown) and Hills Market Downtown. She recently added Luck Brothers Coffee…because coffee goes well with donuts and everyone can use a little luck in a new business. She is now crafting her treats over 100 hours a month and looking for more places to sell her doughy love bombs.
What gets people interested and keeps them coming back? Her flavors combinations are inventive, some combine complimentary tastes while others compare and contrast ingredients. Examples include: Blood Orange and Dark Chocolate, Butterscotch Sea Salt, Pink Grapefruit, Lemon Blueberry, Strawberry & Rose Water……. You get the idea. The flavors vary from occasionally bold to mostly subtle but never unbalanced.
So with the concept proven and the sell outs persisting what is next? More flavors…of course. More locations to sell at… yes? But what am I waiting for the most? More cake donuts. So far most of the cake donuts have been holes. I waiting for the full size, deluxe cake donuts. And maybe some type of apple, bacon, sausage and something fritter. If things go well, maybe Heather will get her own donut bakery some day soon. If she does, what part of town do you think would be the best fit?