According to Tim Clegg, a good leader is always learning.
That’s why last summer the founder and CEO of Hurts Donut Co. completed a master’s degree in administrative and organizational leadership at the University of Oklahoma.
But that wasn’t enough for Clegg. He just completed his first year in the doctoral program in education and organizational change and leadership at the University of Southern California.
Clegg says he loves that much of what he is learning in his coursework can be immediately applied to his business.
“I believe that Hurts Donut Co. will continue to grow and flourish by reinforcing the foundation of learning within our family of business owners,” he says.
But he is quick to note that despite his matriculation, the thing he knows best is that he doesn’t have all the answers – something that hit home during the early days of COVID-19, when franchisees came to Hurts’ leadership for guidance in a pandemic. This was uncharted territory for everyone, he says.
“We were able, through open dialogue with our owners, to innovate product delivery methods that thrust many of our owners into a position of sales growth when compared to 2019,” he says. “There is a leader in all of us.”
Clegg and his wife, Kas, began Hurts Donut with a single store in November 2013. Hurts’ website explains they bought equipment on Craigslist, learned to make doughnuts by watching YouTube and made their very first doughnut the day before they opened. They had just $7 left in the bank when they opened their doors.
Today, Hurts is a $22 million company with 24 current stores, and, according to recent Springfield Business Journal reporting, talks in the works to add 11 more.
This year, Hurts entered into a national agreement with Pepsi. It will allow for partnerships with the NFL, MLB, NASCAR, Xbox and other national brands.
“This partnership will increase success opportunities for our franchisees to increase their overall beverage sales,” Clegg says.
The company also added the Hurts Area Representative program, which allows franchisees to purchase an entire market area and develop stores throughout the territory for a share of royalties. Already, an area representative has signed on for the Dallas-Fort Worth market to provide 15 locations to serve 6.1 million residents. A second agreement is in the works.
Another important innovation this year: the establishment of the Clegg Family Foundation, which will serve three local charities through interactive vending machines.
Clegg serves on the leadership board of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, an organization that is important to him because he is living with MS. He captains a national cycling team, the Dirty Dozen, in Bike MS events throughout the country.
It’s all part of Hurts’ mission: “to serve our community with an irrational generosity.”
Says Clegg, “My vision for Hurts is to grow wisely and engage with likeminded values-driven individuals that can be successful business owners in our doughnut family.”
Ariake Sushi and Robata opened; Great Southern Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: GSBC) opened its newest branch in Springfield; and a longtime employee with City Utilities of Springfield went into business for himself with the launch of Van Every Drafting & Design LLC.