Donut Parade, a legendary doughnut shop on Spokane’s North Side that closed three years ago, will reopen under new management.
And the family of the longtime owners have given their full blessing to the shop’s new beginning.
Nathan Peabody, a former customer, is fixing up the establishment at 2152 N. Hamilton St., which will serve doughnuts and coffee as well as provide job training for youths.
“Our goal is to employ not only young people but hopefully be able to use the building for mentoring, tutoring and financial training,” said Peabody, who operates a construction business in addition to serving as a youth group leader for Christian Grace Fellowship with his wife, Christa.
“My goal was to hire teens to get job skills with construction, but it wasn’t working,” he added. “So I started looking for a shop I could open and when (Donut Parade) closed down, I started doing research. It took a year and a half to get the place lined up.”
Peabody filed permits for tenant improvements with the city of Spokane in January for the former site of Donut Parade to add counters, bathrooms, new lighting fixtures, wiring and plumbing upgrades for the more than 3,100-square-foot building.
Peabody said the building’s layout will be “virtually identical” to its previous design, aside from relocating the bar and doughnut display box to “make traffic flow for customers easier and give it more of an open feel.”
“We cleaned and brightened up the place a bit,” he said. “Our goal is for some sort of opening in two weeks.”
Peabody is planning to add a breakfast and lunch menu a month after opening. Tentative operating hours will be 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
There’s been an overwhelming response from the community surrounding the reopening of Donut Parade, he said.
“It’s really cool to have support of the community with people asking how they can help,” Peabody said. “We’re really humbled and grateful for the support we’ve had.”
Donut Parade was a fixture in north Spokane for decades before it shuttered. Darrell Jones started the business in 1968, making batches of his homemade doughnuts and maple bars, while his wife, Kathy, worked the counters and tables.
The shop’s doughnuts attracted locals and students, as well as ex-NBA star John Stockton and former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley, who made Donut Parade a routine campaign stop during his congressional election years.
Donut Parade also appeared in the film “Wrong Turn to Tahoe” featuring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Harvey Keitel.
In its heyday, Donut Parade attracted more than 200 regular customers a day.
Roy and Christian Reno took over operation of Donut Parade after Jones retired in 2008 – even keeping the same recipes – but closed the business eight years later, citing financial difficulty.
They told The Spokesman-Review in 2016 they were thousands of dollars and months behind on bills such as taxes, rent and electricity.
The Renos launched a Go Fund Me campaign to save the business, seeking more than $80,000 to pay for debts, renovations and future investments in the business. The campaign fell short of its funding goal, generating only $2,100.
Jones’ daughter, Katie Youngren, said the family is absolutely thrilled about the reopening of Donut Parade.
“We are so glad the Donut Parade is marching on. We didn’t know what was going to happen to the place. There were rumors of taking the building down,” she said. “We’re totally supportive and definitely going to share our dad’s recipes with Nathan and do whatever we can to help him be a success.”
Peabody plans to showcase the history of Donut Parade in the shop and put up a memorial to Jones, who died in 2015.
“I’ll tell you what my dad’s secret ingredient was: It’s people,” said Youngren. “When we lost him in 2015, it was a pretty sad parting. Everybody loved the place and my parents just loved the people. We had the best memories growing up there.”
Youngren said the family is anticipating Donut Parade’s opening day.
“We all want to go in and help out. We think Nathan is a terrific kid and it’s such a beautiful, perfect fit,” she said. “We just encourage people to go in there and have a little blast from the past.”
Peabody said he wants Donut Parade to become a neighborhood gathering spot.
“We hope this is less about my wife and I opening a doughnut shop and more about a place for the community, where the food is good and people can connect with their neighbors,” he said. “I hope we can start giving back to the community very shortly.”
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