Donuts were on the upswing in the mid-Willamette Valley before the pandemic, with several new shops opening in recent years, and COVID-19 hasn’t slowed things down.
BakerzDozen, a new donut shop at Queen Avenue and Hill Street, opened in November in Albany, and Dough Hook Bake Shop, which has a Salem location, is looking to start operating in downtown Albany this spring.
Donut sales are going strong despite COVID-19 — or perhaps due to the illness — because residents are seeking things that make them happy and comfortable during the pandemic, said local business owners.
“Any food that makes them feel good when things are so difficult and challenging, they turn to that,” said Beckie Eatmon, who owns BakerzDozen.
“Everybody loves sweets, and sweets aren’t going out of style,” added Jay Eatmon, her husband and co-owner.
Plus, maple bars, fritters and other donuts have always been seen as a grab-and-go food, so restrictions on dining haven’t impacted that part of the industry as much.
Lupe Alvarez, owner of Dough Hook Bake Shop, said she actually increased production at her Lancaster Drive location in Salem during the pandemic.
Alvarez used to work at Frankie’s Restaurant in North Albany and for Bodhi as a baker, but she said it was time for her to open up her own business in 2019.
The Albany resident said that she makes donuts out of brioche style dough that is rich and buttery. One of her top flavors is Marionberry with lemon drizzle.
Benny Augeri, owner of Benny’s Donuts in downtown Corvallis, said his sales are down, but he’s been far more fortunate than many of his peers in the restaurant business.
“I also have no student population here right now, and that has to be impacting me and all of Corvallis,” he added.
People haven’t stopped spending money on food, but they are spending it differently, Augeri said. “You want something that makes you happy, but you don’t want to spend a lot,” he added.
He’s looking at opening a satellite location for Benny’s Donuts in Salem in February. The Commercial Boulevard shop will have drive through and walk-in service, Augeri said.
The Eatmons described their donuts at BakerzDozen as old school, hand-cut with new flavors. “We take our time and put them in the fryers and do things right,” Jay Eatmon said.
Maple bars, apple fritters and chocolate Bismarcks are their top three sellers, but they also make numerous variations, including Marionberry cheesecake donuts, raspberry fritters and more. The shop also offers breakfast sandwiches, bagels, croissants, pastries and even vegan selections.
BakerzDozen is in a former Dari-Mart building, and the site has ample room for sit-down dining one day. The Eatmons also are thinking about adding outside seating.
Beckie Eatmon is a 2003 graduate of Sweet Home High School, and her maiden name is Claunch. Jay Eatmon is from Arkansas.
The duo met online and things snowballed. They started off as friends but the more they talked the more they knew, just knew, they were perfect for each other. And so he hopped on a bus to Oregon in 2005, having never set foot in the state before.
Beckie Eatmon’s parents owned a donut shop in Eugene, Donut Supreme, and Jay Eatmon got a job there and learned the business.
When Beckie Eatmon’s mother died about three years ago, the couple stepped in, took over the Eugene business and rebranded. Today, the Eugene business is called BakerzDozen, as well, and it is a wholesale shop only, making about 1,000 donuts a day for grocers, convenience stores and restaurants.
BakerzDozen in Albany also does wholesale donuts for local customers, such as U.S. Market and Towne Pump locations, as well as Spirit Espresso in Albany.
BakerzDozen, 1670 Hill St. S.E., is open from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. In February, Saturday hours will expand, the Eatmons said. They also hope to open up the shop on Sundays soon.
For more information, call 541-666-2731 or go to https://www.bakerzdozendonuts.com/.
Kyle Odegard can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter via @KyleOdegard.