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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Go nuts for doughnuts: Amy’s Donuts coming to the Valley this fall

Amy's Donuts,a small but  popular doughnut chain with three locations in Arizona, Colorado and Ohio,  is planning a fourth location in the Spokane Valley at the former Abelardo’s Mexican Restaurant, photographed on May 17. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Amy’s Donuts, a mom and pop shop known for offering hundreds of flavors and unique toppings, was first established in Colorado Springs.

It then expanded to Columbus, Ohio and Tucson, Arizona.

Location No. 4?

That would be Spokane Valley, coming this November.

Husband and wife Chin and Amy Kim launched the first Amy’s Donuts in 2013. The shop offers more than 120 varieties of donuts, with toppings such as Captain Crunch cereal, Twix candy bars and rainbow sprinkles.

Quirky and colorful, Amy’s Donuts quickly gained a following in Colorado Springs through word of mouth and social media. As a result, the Kims opened the additional shops in Ohio and Arizona.

When Amy’s opened their second and third locations, there were lines of people out of the door on opening day.

“Our ultimate goal as a small mom and pop business in Colorado was to try to build a small little chain, and that goal has led us to different states,” Chin Kim said.

The Kims are now hoping for similar success with a fourth shop in Spokane Valley.

Doughnut crazes are something of a modern phenomenon, elevating the humble glazed pastry to a semi-iconic status. From Voodoo Donuts in Portland to New York cronuts, with bacon, candy and savory spices thrown into the mix, the doughnut has become as much a culinary experience as a breakfast staple.

Spokane, too, has a fondness for eclectic pastries. The locally-owned Donut Parade was one of the better-known businesses in the area before it closed its doors at the end of 2016, citing financial difficulties. The closure drew a strong response from the community, with more than 650 responses to the Facebook announcement. Amy’s will join a handful of other businesses in supplying local doughnut demand.

Building permits were filed with the city this month to renovate the more than 3,000-square-foot former Abelardo’s Mexican Restaurant at 11519 E. Sprague Ave. to transform the building into a doughnut shop.

Cheney-based Jongeward Construction and Development will begin construction next month.

Amy’s Donuts will be open 24 hours a day and include seating for more than 50 people with a drive-thru window. The building will be designed by Spokane-based Russell Page Architects.

The Kims, who are relocating to Liberty Lake, said they decided to open a business in Spokane Valley because of the city’s affordable leasing rates and quality of life.

“It’s very similar to Colorado,” Amy Kim said. “We felt like the environment, weather and scenery is very beautiful out there.”

Chin Kim said there’s also a market for a specialty doughnut shop in the Valley.

“Upon a visit there wasn’t anybody that is doing what we do,” said Chin Kim. “There’s a need out there for a family-friendly, 24-hour fresh doughnut shop.”

“We started out with traditional doughnuts with simple glaze, twists and cake doughnuts. Then our customers started requesting and giving us topping ideas,” he said.

Amy’s Donuts received the Colorado Springs “Spirit of the Springs” Entrepreneurial Award in 2014.

“We didn’t plan for (Amy’s Donuts) to be as big as it is today, but after I saw what it could be in Colorado Springs, we were very confident after that,” Chin said.

The Kims plan to hire bakers and decorators to work in the Spokane Valley shop to help prepare the specialty donuts – which cost about $2 each – from scratch.

“We are proud to say we will have the freshest donuts in the state,” said Chin Kim. “We’ll be ready for Spokane.”

The Kims offer field trips for students to visit their existing shops to see how the doughnuts are made, which they plan to continue in the Valley. They also are looking for a local artist to paint a mural on the side of the building, similar to their Tucson location.

“We’re big into creativity and having some character out there and being part of the community,” Amy Kim said.

Doughnut stores are a $16 billion industry, with more than 24,000 stores nationwide, according to market research firm IBISWorld. As consumer spending has increased, with people spending more on smaller luxuries like donuts and coffee, doughnut stores are predicted to see 3.4 percent annual growth nationwide.

While the city of Spokane has specialty doughnut shops such as Casual Fridays, Amy’s Donuts will be the Valley’s first 24-hour specialty doughnut shop.

Mike Britton, owner of Mike’s Donuts in Spokane Valley, said he has been serving traditional, old-fashioned donuts for more than 18 years and sticking with the basics works for him.

“Everybody looks for their own niche and I found mine,” he said. “This is a very personable shop, six days a week I’m here. I know 150 people’s names that come through the door. I’ve established long-term customer relationships. They are like a big extended family.”

While Britton is skeptical that keeping a doughnut shop open 24 hours will be sustainable in the Valley, he said the city can accommodate more of them.

“There’s plenty of room for another doughnut shop out here,” he said. “I always tell customers or employees this is what I do and if it doesn’t work for you then there’s other places you can go.”