The Donut Shop
What do our customers love about Freedom Farms Donut Shop? Read the feature to learn more.
I was given a tough assignment here at Freedom Farms magazine. I was told that I would have to go to the Donut Shop, buy breakfast and talk to the customers. Sometimes, you have just got to take one for the team. So on a sunny Friday morning at 7:45 AM, off I go up Route 8. Unfortunately, I realize that I hadn’t recently looked at a map. But no worries, because finding the shop was a no-brainer as it was very well marked. Just beyond Dinnerbell Road on the right, I found a full lot of cars in front the white clapboard building with a bright OPEN sign.
One thing I always notice whenever I enter an eatery is cleanliness. I was delighted to see the bright white walls, bright chrome cases with streak-free glass, and trendy chalk boards and tidy coffee table with Freedom Farms syrup and lots of niceties from the farm.
My goal was to interview folks and to take pictures which was easy enough to do since there was never a moment without customers coming through the door. And apparently, I hadn’t even been there at the busiest times. “I wondered where the bus was parked,” quipped Barb referring to the earlier onslaught who decimated their usual stock. The cases looked pretty full to me and on every available space, there were clear, tall cups of donut holes.
It’s a little awkward interviewing people in a donut shop. “Do you come here often?” elicits some awkward smiles. And immediately, I feel like I’ve asked them to make some grand confession. So I quickly change topics. “What do you love about Freedom Farms donuts?” I ask. A customer, still wary of me, answers only anonymously, “Every danish, donut, pie. I’m here about once a week not only for myself but my clients love them.”
A woman too kind to refuse sharing her first name tells me, “I always get the raised donuts. They are so light and fluffy.” Barb chimes in, “And you love the love the scones.” Belinda smiles shyly at me, “They are really good.” And she has her coffee, and she is on her way to work as so many of the customers seem to be.
There is one group that comes in and lingers though. It is an elderly man with two well-dressed elementary school-aged kids. They spend a generous amount of time assessing their options.
I don’t dare ask to take their picture assuming the CEO of the family is absent [read: Mom is not here to make that executive decision]. But I some learn that if you linger long enough at the Freedom Farms Donut Shop, you will see someone you know. “Hey!” I hear and see a very friendly face. After the regular catching up, my friend shares her connection to this place. “We always stop here on our way to camp. I have been doing that for years!”
And the same is true for so many. This place is simply tradition. “I’m not usually here today,” a customer with a half dozen donuts and a cup of donut holes shares with me. “My wife and I always come on Sunday. But we’ll be out of town for Mother’s Day.” Sundays are a tradition for many apparently. Barb is gesturing me to approach a very polished individual checking out with a couple dozen donuts.
Jack Seibel, a parishioner of Holy Sepulcher, says many of the congregants make this a Sunday tradition. And as the owner of Twin Willows, today he is on his way to share donuts with the girls at the auction. “They would be disappointed if I didn’t bring them donuts. They love these. They just think that they’re the best donuts in the world.” Mr. Seibel is so gracious and willing to share his thoughts. “And I just love the people here. They’re just good Christian people. That’s what the world needs more of.”
And they do seem like wonderful people. They are certainly very welcoming to me as I intrude during their busy hours. Barb says, “People often think we are the business owners. They say that to Taylor, Kim and me all of the time and I tell them, ‘Nope, we just treat it that way’.” And in the 45 minutes that I am there, they never take a break except to let me snap some photos. Each customer is greeted personally. “We’re people-people,” says Barb. “It’s happy when they are happy. I don’t like the unhappy customers.”
I never see anyone who is remotely displeased. In fact, I can tell that most of these folks are regulars. Barb often anticipates their orders. As I am wrapping up, there is another slew of people coming in the door. I can hear Barb as I head out, “How are you guys doing today?” The sun is still rising over the Donut Shop and the cars are still rolling in. It seems to me to be a beautiful success story of a local business sustained not only with the farm fresh ingredients of Freedom Farms, but by all of these loyal customers.