After launching a delivery only service in December 2017, we were left facing a difficult decision. To continue doing just deliveries and have this as a part time job after our day jobs, a side gig as such and stay in our garage or jump in feet first and open a shop.
The garage setup and small fryer was safe, although Sam wasn’t a fan of the house smelling like doughnuts 24/7 but it limited us to making only a small batch of doughnuts or two per day. We wanted a business our son could inherit one day and not just a side hustle. And it was that very reason that spurred us on to go and locate a site to sell doughnuts in Shrewsbury. With no experience of running a cafe or even making a coffee it was daunting but after negotiating and struggling to find a site one popped up out of nowhere as the tenant was consolidating her 2 retails sites into her hometown.
24 Claremont Hill was the site of our new shop, and although a small and off the beaten track there was potential. It had a huge kitchen after after being used for years as an Italian Bakery. We set to work planning out the layout and wanted to purely focus on takeaway doughnuts, coffee and shakes.
We were at a crossroads with Planet Doughnut, deliveries were going well and we seemed popular. But it was stick to it as a side hustle, give it all up and go back to our day jobs or jump in feet first into an industry we barely knew anything about. We jumped!
The build itself took around a month, and we built it with locally sourced timber donated by a friend. The doughnut counter was made by a friends Dad to some rough specifications and we didn’t even know what it would be like until we got it. The benches in the window again were made by a friend and local Mr Fixit. We mapped out the floor so many times until we came up with a layout we thought would work, and some of the masking tape we used is still there today as it wont come off!
With takeaway only we wanted people to be able to queue up and look at the doughnuts whilst the next person was being served. It was only in the winter of 2019 that we changed that, and in hindsight it needs another change to make it more takeaway friendly. All the internal painting we did ourselves with another local painter and decorator matching our colours perfectly to do the outside.
The doughnut decorating was all arranged in the back kitchen, and we would get up at 4am each morning and decorate them for the shop opening that day. It was a struggle in the beginning as I remember it literally took all day and night just to do a few small batches for cafes and deliveries and now we were making them to a set time each day.
On opening day, the queues was halfway down the street, we had barely done any marketing bar a flyer that didnt have our address on, some social media and word of mouth with friends and family.
That day we had sold out by 4pm and were completely blown away by the support. We made probably a hundred mistakes that day, but it was the best day of our lives. Planet Doughnut had launched and we were here to stay. (Hopefully)