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College Fund Donuts operates in a shipping container at Branson Landing.
Photo provided by College Fund Donuts
College Fund Donuts operates in a shipping container at Branson Landing.

19-year-old brings doughnut venture to Branson Landing

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Last edited 1:31 p.m. April 19, 2019

A new addition at Branson Landing is set to bring doughnuts to the outdoor retail center as early as tomorrow.

College Fund Donuts owner Liam Story, a 19-year-old entrepreneur, said his first business venture is set to open at 213 Promenade Way, located next to the fountain area. He said this morning final inspections were scheduled for today, and, if all goes according to plan, the shop will open Tuesday. 

The doughnut shop is inside a 10-by-8-foot shipping container, Story said, noting he was able to do about 95 percent of the welding work himself over the past six weeks. The operation, which specializes in miniature-sized doughnuts, can run with two people inside the structure, he said.

“Time is certainly precious when you’re talking about 80 square feet,” he said, noting the doughnut machine is capable of producing 200 dozen per hour. “It’s going to be a great grab-and-go snack. What we don’t have in quantity, we’ll have in quality.”

The mini doughnuts come in plain, powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar options, and chocolate, vanilla and maple dips also will be available, Story said. Coffee and bottled water will be offered, along with doughnut delivery within a 10-mile radius.

Much of Story’s $30,000 in startup costs were connected to equipment, adding he was able to save money in construction and website design work by tackling it himself. Story entered a welding program at Ozarks Technical Community College when he was 16, eventually earning his certificate two years later.

Story said he signed a 10-month lease with HCW Development Co. LLC.

The name of the business is inspired by part of its goal, which Story said is to help provide money for his sister’s college fund. He said his sister Lily Story, currently a senior at Branson High School, intends to become a nurse. Funds from the shop will help her reach that goal by assisting her through nursing school.

“She’s going to have to get student loans,” he said. “I wanted to help her out. So what if I could come up with a business model that could help her out but also allows me to pursue my dream of entrepreneurship?”

After deciding to sell doughnuts, Story said the next question was how to find a place where people would buy them. 

“The logical solution for me was Branson Landing,” he said, adding he was pleased with the lease terms with HCW. “I didn’t want a place that was drive-by traffic. I wanted walk-in traffic and a lot of it.”

College Fund Donuts joins other establishments, including Andy B’s Bowl Social and LandShark Bar & Grill, that have come to the shopping center in the past several months. Occupancy at Branson Landing had dipped below 90 percent in 2017, before rebounding last summer to 97 percent, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting

Nikki Sivils, marketing director for Branson Landing, did not respond this morning to an email seeking current occupancy rates.

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