By Cora Bennage
The heart of Holley is in the village square. Holley residents often gather for a cup of coffee, an ice cream cone, or take a Pilates class. Many Holley businesses, however, have been forced to close while businesses like Sam’s Diner, China Wok and Dustin’s Pizzeria have been around for decades.
According to the Chamber of Commerce, 20% of small businesses fail within the first year. Within five years of starting, half of small businesses failed, most commonly due to lack of funds.
A boutique, bakery, bank, two ice cream shops, an auto repair shop, and a Save-A-Lot have all left the center of Holley within the last decade. Many of those locations have remained vacant, but a new business is moving in on the corner of Thomas Street and Mechanic Street: Holley Donuts.
Owned by Dan and Monica Seeler, Holley Donuts has been in the works for several months. The bakery was expected to open around Labor Day, but reconstruction issues have pushed back the opening. This extra time has allowed head baker Debbie Patt to continue to work on her recipes, including her own fillings and glazes.
“We are not using any prepared mixes,” said Patt. “No prepared fillings, no prepared glazes. Everything is going to be made right on site from scratch. It’s going to be fresh every day,” Patt said.
Patt previously owned and managed Clarendon Cheesecakes. Aside from experimenting for fun, donut making is fresh territory for her.
“Donut making is new to me. I’m used to making cheesecakes, cakes, cookies, and pastries, but if you know the basics of baking then you can pretty much make anything,” Patt said.
For Patt, inspiration comes from people she knows. She enjoys looking around and seeing what is popular to ensure all the classic donut flavors will be included in the shop. The owners have given her free rein over the donut selection, allowing her to create her own recipes and fun ideas.
“We decided that we’re going to have our basic flavors and then specialty flavors also. There are so many specialty flavors we’re going to rotate them. There’s going to be quite a flavor variety,” said Patt.
One of the biggest setbacks for Patt has been the inability to use the donut shop kitchen. Reconstruction has kept the space unusable, but her hopes have not fallen.
“Right now, there’s still some construction being finished. We have to make sure we have all the proper equipment and equipment that works for what we want to do because it’s a small space and that’s the biggest challenge,” said Patt. “We want to open as soon as we possibly can, but everything has to be perfect. I want things to be perfect, I don’t want them to just be okay,” said Patt.
While several businesses have had trouble staying open in Holley, the Seelers are not the only business owners taking a chance on the small town. Redwood Trades opened in August, providing the village with a new gathering place. Co-owner Sharon Radillo claimed the hardest part about starting a business in Holley was the paperwork.
“It really wasn’t difficult to get going. The community has really come around us and helped us out,” said Radillo.
Unlike Holley Donuts, Radillo said she has had no trouble with supply chain issues. For her the process of starting a business has gone smoothly.
While a date has not been set for the opening of Holley Donuts, Patt is confident the business will be a success. She hopes the fresh donuts and the from-scratch recipes will keep the community coming back for more.
“It’s a challenge. Sometimes you just really love a challenge,” said Patt.
Categories: Business and Entertainment