Through these tough and wildly unpredictable times, many local businesses have faced, and still face, the daunting task of trying to just keep operations rolling along. In Pleasant Beach Village, a new donut shop has made the seemingly roguish decision to open amid the pandemic.
According to Pleasant Beach Donuts Manager Joe Raymond, the decision to open up shop in late May has paid off, with droves of customers flocking to the new pastry purveyor in The Marketplace at Pleasant Beach. The shop, Raymond says, is the answer to Bainbridge’s absence of a dedicated donut shop, a niche market he hopes to capitalize upon.
“We decided to do a sourdough donut which is a little bit different,” Raymond said. “It’s not the type of donut that’s going to give you a toothache or melt in your mouth, but more of a substantial treat. So far the feedback’s been incredibly positive.”
The donuts are hand-cut and made fresh onsite daily using their own sourdough starter along with zero commercial yeast. Weekly varieties of donuts include cinnamon sugar, Homer special, honey glazed, maple glazed, plain glazed, plain sourdough, powdered sugar, sugar-coated, donut holes, and of course a rotating weekly special. The tasty treats can be purchased individually ($1.50 – $2.75 each or by the dozen for $20) and preordering will be soon made available, according to Raymond.
The idea of bringing a donut shop to Pleasant Beach Village came about rather quickly, as the proposal wasn’t brought up until the pandemic had already shut down many businesses in the area. Raymond credited a team discussion as the genesis of Pleasant Beach Donuts.
“The virus had hit and we were all kind of hunkered down,” he said. “It was a difficult period and there was a lot of stress. We didn’t know how long this was going to go. We had a million ideas and they were all pretty terrible except for that one. Who doesn’t like donuts?”
Upon the shop’s first few weekends of business, lines were regularly spewing out the doorway and past the end of the block, due in large part to the six-foot social distancing guidelines that remain in effect.
“There’s enough word of mouth about how good these donuts are that they’re willing to come back,” said Andrea Mackin, Pleasant Beach Village director of marketing and operations. “I think people were really eager to get out and just be around people again. This was a very contained and qualifiable opportunity.”
All of Pleasant Beach Village has incorporated COVID-19 guidelines which consist of all employees and customers wearing a mask, adhering to social distancing guidelines, contactless payment, and continual sanitation of surfaces. Folks are even able to sit down and eat while maintaining the appropriate distance. Additionally, all employees go through a health screening for symptoms and temperature monitoring before clocking into work.
Looking back on the initial success of the donut shop so far, Raymond credits his team for keeping operations moving ahead during a time when many businesses are stalled.
“Once we started taking proactive steps instead of reacting or postponing, we decided to keep developing the business. Once we started to go on offense instead of defense it really has changed everything. We’re just so grateful that the community’s been so good for us.”
Pleasant Beach Donuts is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4738 Lynwood Center Road NE.