YOUR BUSINESS AUTHORITY
A sour year led to some sweet results for Hurts Donut Co.
When coronavirus pandemic restrictions led to temporary store closures and reduced hours for the normally 24/7 craft doughnut shop, founder and CEO Tim Clegg says his team took the treats on the road.
“We had to get creative and find ways to get product to (customers),” he says. “That’s when we started utilizing our ambulance to do more ice cream truck-style deliveries.”
Fans of Hurts Donut know those ambulances as Emergency Donut Vehicles, with vinyl coverings complete with dripping glaze and sprinkles. Ambulances visited Springfield neighborhoods and outlying communities, and franchisees also implemented the concept.
“Our vehicles were always designed to make people smile,” Clegg says.
That was a needed reprieve amid the pandemic.
And it brought relief to Hurts Donut’s corporate and franchise ownership. Overall, the multistate company was down only 6% in 2020 revenue, with no permanent store closures.
“For us to be single digit was a huge win for us,” he says. “We’re taking a really scary time and turning it into a positive for the business moving forward.”
That wasn’t the only positive. Although Clegg says he didn’t furlough or lay off employees, some chose to leave the company due to fear surrounding COVID-19. So, Tim and his wife and business partner, Kas, spent some days baking and decorating doughnuts.
“It felt like going back in time,” he says. “Having those moments where you’re forced back into the day-to-day operations of a store, that really allowed us to grow closer and to identify ways to improve our processes.”
Clegg says his love of the store sustained him during the pressures 2020 brought personally and professionally. “The story of Hurts Donut and how we started is my life story. We started it because of my diagnosis with (multiple sclerosis) and it became our sole source of income and was our lifeblood,” he says. “It’s Hurts Donut, but it’s really an extension of us.”
That extension keeps growing. Clegg says he’s in talks at various stages with 11 potential franchisees to add to the 24 current stores.
“Looks like we’re gearing up for a busy fourth quarter and next year quarter one,” he says.
All that work is happening in the team’s new Galactic Headquarters. Clegg says the company bought a 10,500-square-foot space in southwest Springfield in October 2020, which consolidated operations and reduced company lease payments by 60%.
As customers have started to return to stores this year, they saw some changes in packaging. The 8-year-old company is shifting from hand-stamped brown doughnut boxes to brightly colored, preprinted boxes. That change has perks.
“As our boxes evolved, our donuts continue to get bigger,” Clegg says with a laugh.
The first downtown Springfield branch for Arvest Bank opened; a longtime licensed massage therapist became a first-time business owner; and 7 Brew Coffee opened its fourth shop in Springfield.