Comeback of the Doughnut: Are they the new cupcake?

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The dough is rising in Richmond. More and more doughnut shops are popping up. Are doughnuts the new cupcake?

When the Sugar Shack doughnut shop opened this month on Lombardy Street in Richmond, it was overwhelmed with customers and had to close for a few days to re-stock and hire more staff.

Explained Sugar Shack owner Ian Kelley, "The first hour we sold out of doughnuts. Then we re-stocked and sold out again. Then we had to close five hours early. Everyday last week, we sold out early, just could not keep up with the demand."

Sugar Shack is only the latest new local doughnut shop. Daylight Donuts opened 3 years ago in Innsbrook.

Observed Daylight Donuts owner Joanne Ellis, "Since we started, I think there have been at least two to three other doughnut shops that have popped up. So the competition is heating up. Certainly, the interest in doughnuts is heating up."

Dixie Donuts opened on Cary Street last year. Nationwide, Dunkin' Donuts is remodeling many of its shops to encourage you to linger longer, like customers do in Starbucks.

And Krispy Kreme, which nearly went bankrupt in 2009, is making a comeback. Locally, it just remodeled its one shop on West Broad Street. Now it plans to open a second shop in the new Stonebridge Shopping Center on Midlothian Turnpike at Chippenham.

So what's the deal with all these doughnut shops?

Answered Kelley, "I think the attention to desserts like that has come back because of cupcakes."

Added Ellis, "They're happy food, they are those treats that don't cost a lot."

And doughnut customer Dalton Fonville told us, "They're just so good. Nothing like a good doughnut!"

Doughnuts have stood the test of time, since first rising in ovens in the 1920's. Country Style Donuts on Williamsburg Road in Eastern Henrico has been here since 1968.

"If the economy's bad, people still buy doughnuts and coffee. If the economy's good, people still buy doughnuts and coffee," offered Kelley.

The average American eats 9 doughnuts a year, according to But on the East Coast, we average 12 doughnuts a year. And the biggest consumers are men, age 25 to 49, sometimes even when they shouldn't.

Confessed customer Dalton Fonville, "I'm sitting here eating doughnuts. I'm a diabetic, by the way. So I have no reason to have 12 doughnuts in my box. But I'm eating them anyway. If I die, I die happy."

Nationwide, Starbucks has a 36% share of U.S. coffee and snack market. Dunkin' Donuts has 25%, and Krispy Kreme has 2%, according to market research by IBISWorld.

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