HUNTINGTON — Donut Connection is a co-op doughnut chain with 282 locations ranging from Hinnesville, Georgia, to Milwaukee. The company was founded in Pennsylvania in the early 1990s shortly after Dunkin' Donuts acquired Mister Donut, a rival chain. Rather than convert their shops into Dunkin' Donuts franchises, a group of owners left to form their own company.
Since then the co-op has been slowly growing. There are several locations in the Mountain State, including in Charleston, Elkview and Beckley.
The newest Donut Connection opened its doors in Huntington last week. The Huntington location is co-owned by Jim Kelly, Bill Sturgeon and Mark Saber.
"This was a medical equipment building at one time. Mark Saber and Bill Sturgeon owned that company and asked me, 'What kind of ideas do you have for that building by Cabell Huntington Hospital?' I thought a doughnut place would be great for the area," Kelly said.
"Because Donut Connection is a co-op, you can do what you want to do. If look at Dunkin' Donuts or Krispy Kreme you have to follow their franchise model and follow every guideline you have to a T. With a co-op there's more flexibility. We can serve the donuts we like and the flavors we like. You still buy off of their franchise partners, but you still get to upgrade things your way."
Work started in August 2017 to get the building renovated and ready for doughnuts.
"None of this was here before. ... We put in bathrooms, the kitchen, countertops, bars - all of that stuff. So it took a bit of time," Kelly said. "When that was all done we did a soft opening. Our first day was Wednesday, April 4. We just wanted people to walk in, try the doughnuts, and see what they think. It's just been word of mouth so far, and we've had a great reception. Sometime in May we're going to announce a grand opening and expand the menu. We're doing doughnuts and coffee now because that's what we're known for. In the coming months we are going to introduce sandwiches, salads and soups."
Donut Connection has a plethora of doughnuts to choose from including French crullers, Boston creams, devil's food and a maple bacon doughnut. Each doughnut is $1.09. You can purchase a half-dozen for $5.99 or a full dozen for $9.99. You also can buy specialty donuts such as "long johns" for $1.79. There also are scones ($1.99), cinnamon rolls ($1.79), and apple fritters ($1.79). You can also get a large coffee and a doughnut for $2.59. Coffee ranges from $1.49 for a small to $2.29 for an extra large. There's also hot chocolate, cappuccino and lattes.
Donut Connection is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. For carry-out information call 304-522-0217. For specials, visit https://www.facebook.com/DonutConnectionofHuntington/.
If you go: Donut Connection
TYPE: Doughnuts and coffee
ADDRESS: 1216 Hal Greer Blvd., Huntington
HOURS: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
PAYMENTS ACCEPTED: Cash and all major credit cards